Cigars and alcohol. Two luxury products that go hand in hand, and sometimes even meet on business level. Aging tobacco in whisky, rum, or cognac barrels is a practice several brands do to achieve extra flavour to the wrapper for certain lines. The famous bourbon brand Maker’s Mark has their own cigar, sold in tubes with the signature wax coating. Drew Estate works with Pappy van Winkle and used to make Kahlua cigars. Mombacho has the Diplomatico series. General Cigars works with Sazerac, which resulted in Fireball cigars, Weller by Cohiba and collaborations with Buffalo Trace. And there is the Diesel Whisky Row, a collaboration with Rabbit Hole Distilleries. Fratello Cigars also sells craft beer. Most famous are probably the Cuban collaboration between Martell Cognac and Cohiba. Dominique London, the European retailer with more than 20 shops in the UK, Belgium, Switzerland and the Canary Islands takes it one step further. They bought a distillery in Wales and produce gin, rum, vodka and liquors, and bottle whisky. They were kind enough to sponsor Cigar Inspector with samples so we can write about pairings.
Tanqueray London Dry
Tanqueray is a London dry gin, reflecting its distillation process and origin in Bloomsbury, London. London dry gin is made by double distilling grain, with select botanicals added during the second distillation. While the Tanqueray recipe is a closely guarded trade secret, it is known to contain four botanicals: juniper, coriander, angelica root and liquorice, all common botanicals in gin productions overall. Tanqueray gin was initially distilled in 1830 by Charles Tanqueray in the Bloomsbury district of London. The retail outlet of Edward & Charles Tanqueray & Co was established on Vine Street, London, in 1838 When Charles died in 1868, his son Charles Waugh Tanqueray inherited the distillery, which continued to operate until it was severely damaged during World War II. The only building to survive the Axis bombing, now known as “Old Tom”, has since been moved to Cameron Bridge, Scotland.
In accordance with a report by The Spirits Business, Tanqueray was the highest selling gin in the world for 2016, with nearly three million nine-litre cases sold, mostly in the USA.
I’m trying this very popular gin in a Glencairn glass. Upfront this is all juniper, I don’t think I ever had a gin with such a strong juniper aroma on the nose. There is a bit of citrus too. The gin packs some heat, with juniper as main flavour but warm and welcoming spices like cinnamon and coriander as well. The finish is long and warming. Pair this with a Flor de Las Antillas Torpedo, or a cigar in that range of strength and flavours and you’ll have a good time.
Gin & Tonic
When I bought this bottle of Tanqueray, they gave me two Copa glasses. So instead of drinking my Gin & Tonic from a highball, I’m going all classy now with a Copa glass. The juniper is strong on the nose, still, and this Gin & Tonic has more aroma than the average G&T. The tonic makes the mouthfeel a bit dry, and it takes a lot of the heat of the gin away. There is some citrus behind the juniper flavour. This gin stands up pretty well against the tonic, maybe even a bit too good. There is a decent pine flavour as well. I would pair this with a medium bodied cigar, nothing too complex. Something simple but flavourful. Something like an Oliva Serie O Natural, something like a Quai d’Orsay from Cuba.
And now for the gin tonic recipe:
2 ounces of 60ml of gin
4 ounces or 120ml of Tonic water
Fill a highball, Collins or a Copa glass with ice. Add the gin, then the tonic and stir gently.
We owe this classic southern cocktail to the Chatham Artillery, Georgia’s oldest military unit. The fine folks of Savannah have been mixing up this potent potable since at least the late 1700s. Legend has it that sometime around 1791, George Washington came to visit the Chatham Artillery on short notice. In keeping with their southern hospitality, the artillery members and their wives threw together what they had on hand and created this punch, which they then served at a ball in the president’s honor. The punch was a hit and became a southern tradition, often being mixed in horse buckets when served in larger quantities. Watch out for this one. Like many delicious cocktails, it’s been known to sneak up on people.
The nose has juniper with some fruity and sweet undertones of the red vermouth. The nose comes back in the flavour, the Tanqueray flavours are there, just as strong as neat, but with added red fruits and sweetness. The dash of Angostura bitters comes at the back of the fruity sweetness and delivers depth to the drink. The heat that I experienced in the neat gin is there as well. I would pair this with an Aganorsa Supreme Leaf, the nutty characteristics of that cigar will go well with this cocktail.
And now for the Artillery recipe:
1½ ounces or 45ml of Gin
5/6 ounce or 25ml of Sweet Vermouth
1 dash of Angostura bitters
Add the spirits in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. The original recipe is different, it’s 1/3 sweet vermouth, 2/3 gin without the bitters.
Gin and Juice
Yo, listen up, I got a tale to drop,
‘Bout a drink so easy, you can’t make it flop.
It’s called Gin & Juice, smooth sippin’ delight,
A two-part mix, keepin’ it chill all night.
Now, it’s as easy as it sounds, no need to stress,
Grab your citrus juice, any kind will impress.
Just remember, my friend, adjust the sweetness,
If you choose lemon or lime, keep it in completeness.
I went for that 50/50 blend, real smooth and fine,
Orange juice and grapefruit, perfect for my rhyme.
Dr. Dre, my homie, came through with Tanqueray,
Jumpin’ at the party, two in the mornin’, okay?
Sippin’ on that gin and juice, feelin’ so fly,
Rollin’ down the street, puffin’ cigars, oh my!
Laid back, with my mind on my money,
And my money on my mind, life’s so sunny.
That’s the Inspector way, keepin’ it real,
Gin and juice flowin’, good vibes you can feel.
So grab your glass, mix it up, let it loose,
Sippin’ on that gin and juice, keepin’ that groove.
Yeah, that’s how we do it in Inspector style, my friend. Stay laid back and keep sippin’ on that gin
and juice, livin’ the good life!
Yo, listen up, I got the scoop,
Talkin’ ’bout this cocktail, it’s gin and juice.
On the nose, it’s all ’bout the juice,
Orange takes the lead, grapefruit’s not loose.
Bitterness of grapefruit, sweetness of orange,
Juniper of the gin, a perfect mélange.
No alcohol vibe, just juice on the tongue,
Dangerous concoction, back from the ’90s, son.
Easy to sip, easier than its kin,
Vodka and OJ, this drink takes the win.
And with its easiness, it pairs so fine,
With many a cigar, you know it’s prime.
From Alec Bradley Black Market, it’s a delight,
To EPC Encore, keepin’ it tight.
Montecristo #4, a classic affair,
Partagas Lusitania, we got flair.
So grab that gin and juice, take a sip,
Enjoy it with your stogie, feel that friendship.
In the Inspector style, we keep it smooth,
Gin and juice flowin’, no need to prove.
Yeah, that’s how we do it, the Inspector way,
Sippin’ on that gin and juice, laid back, with my mind on my money, and my money on my mind..
Stay chill, my friend, keepin’ it real,
Enjoyin’ life’s pleasures with every meal.
And now for the mothaphukin’ Gin and Juice recipe
1 ½ ounces or 45ml of gin
Juice to top up
Fill a Collins glass with ice, pour in the gin, add juice to fill the glass and stir gently.