Whether it’s a pairing of a high-quality IPA and a cigar, your favorite scotch and a cigar, or any other liquor and cigar pairing, even seasoned spirit connoisseurs and cigar smokers will at times find themselves struggling to appropriately pair drinks and cigars.
The reality is that, much like the dressing you decide to put on your salad, your personal palate informs you of the tastes that are best for you. What’s interesting is that the more you employ your sense of taste, the more refined it becomes.
That’s exactly how whiskey distillers and cigar makers develop their niche professional tasting expertise.
When looking for the best drink to go with your chosen cigar, generally speaking you should attempt to match relative weights and flavors. In other words, choose a full-bodied drink with a full-bodied cigar.
Lighter, more delicate drinks like champagne will typically call for a cigar that is far lighter.
With that said, let’s dive into the business of pairing the best alcohol and cigar combinations.
1. A Good Cognac
Cognac is a very traditional alcoholic beverage to pair with a cigar. In fact, some might even consider it to be a bit cliche.
Part of the reason that these two became so inextricably linked is because both are typically enjoyed after a meal.
One could easily argue that cognac is the absolute best drink to enjoy with a cigar after a filling evening meal with friends, family, or alone.
When you buy cognac, it’s very important to pay close attention to the bottle’s designation. If you see a cognac designated as VS (Very Special), you should probably ignore it as a choice for cigar pairing.
This is because VS is the lowest category of aging.
Look for cognac designated as, at a minimum, VSOP (Very Special Old Pale) and also that indicates aging of at least four and one-half years.
Mild or medium-bodied cigars are perfect for this age of cognac.
2. Scotch and Bourbon
Single barrel and small batch bourbons, and single malt scotches are very premium alcoholic beverages that have all of the depth of flavor and complexities it takes to stand up to the taste of a cigar.
If you’re ever enjoyed a fine single malt scotch, you’ll know how unique its smoky flavor is. This marries perfectly with cigars.
Small batch bourbons get bottled at higher levels of proof. This gives them a solid backbone of powerful flavors.
They combine very well with medium and full-bodied cigars.
3. Port Wine
Great cigars and port wines have been happy partners for a very long time. The alcoholic power and sweetness of a vintage port blends extremely well with full-bodied cigars.
It’s interesting to note that even younger vintage ports partner well with cigars because they have strong tannins that easily stand up to a full-bodied smoke.
You should also give non-vintage ports, such as tawny ports, a try. These have a woody characteristic from long barrel aging. This complements a cigar quite nicely.
4. Coffee and Irish Cream
Coffee drinks, even non-alcoholic ones like Cappuccino, Cafe con Leche, Cafe Mocha, and Cuban Coffee, pair well with cigars. However, to recommend the best alcoholic coffee drink to pair with your next cigar, try coffee with Irish Cream.
This is a taste you’ll really enjoy, and it will definitely enhance your cigar smoking enjoyment.
Use Bailey’s Irish Cream if you don’t want to waste the extra steps of adding cream and sugar.
5. Kahlua Drinks
These types of drinks also go perfectly with cigars. As with our coffee drinks, there are several Kahlua drink variations to choose from, including:
- Nutty Irishman
- Black Russian
The best recommendation however, is probably smoking a cigar with a White Russian. This is a simple drink that contains Vodka, Kahlua and cream.
Cigars and Alcohol Are a Match Made in Heaven
These are five of the best alcohol and cigar pairings you’ll find. Give each one of them a try and find your ultimate personal taste.