Finding The Perfect Match: Pairing Cigars and Adult Beverages
You’ve seen it in film and television, the rich, upper crust multi-millionaire, sipping on a brandy and puffing a magnificent stogie. The imagery is the epitome of wealth and oppulence. The cigar and drink has long been accepted as a luxury of the rich and powerful, and somehow out of reach for the common man. True, we common-folk may not be able to afford a $650 bottle of Chivas Regal Royal Salute Scotch, but we could make do with lesser priced items if we follow some simple guidelines.
Over the years, a good brandy, cognac, or whiskey has been paired with the cigar. Many would say that a good cigar should be paired with a drink that bends to the sweet side. Traditionally, this has been a favorite of many cigars smokers. Often, you may have seen a smoker take out a flask of his favorite beverage to enjoy a puff and sip. This trend has been quite popular through the years. But recently, beer has made statement of popularity as a classy drink, due in part to the most interesting man in the world. I’m sure you recognize the Dos Equis man with the same imagery of luxury and power, but now puffing his cigar and sipping… beer.
You might find it more difficult to pair a beer and cigar, but once you have met the challenge, you will discover the great satisfaction it brings to your tastes AND your wallet. If you’re a novice at pairing beer and cigars, you will probably need help in getting your specific cigar to match with an appropriate beer. If you have a more experienced palate, and you know what you like, you can probably make connections between certain types of cigars and beers.
Since cigars are so flavoful and robust, one challenge is to find a beer that is complimentary to the intensity of most cigars. Looking at other beverages, most cigars can pair rather easily with a single malt scotch or barley wine. A woody, spicey cigar with hints of cedar will pair nicely with a barley wine. The spicey flavor of the cigar will be complimented by the fruity hints in the barley wine. That combination of flavors can create an overall creaminess that will make the flavors significantly enhanced.
Experiment! It’s fun and challenging. Even if you have absolutely no clue as to what flavor combinations will work. Find a cigar that you like. Take note of it’s characteristics. Next, select a beer whose flavors might compliment. Think of it this way: steak and potatoes. Steak doesn’t taste like potatoes, and potatoes do not taste like steak. But they sure do compliment each other. Once you get your favorite combination, share it with a friend.