A Comprehensive Guide to Pairing Cigars and Alcohol
The cigar invokes images in my mind of rich and powerful men who enjoy these fine luxuries. From Winston Churchill to Hunter S. Thompson, the rich, famous, and powerful have long since enjoyed puffing on a fine stogie, often with a glass of brandy or whiskey in hand. These images have been immortalized in both films and television. Whether you are a newcomer to the wonderful world of cigars or an experienced hand, it can be a wonderful feeling to relax at the end of a long day with a drink and cigar in hand.
In the past, a cigar has often been paired with a rather strong drink. The most popular types of drinks that are associated with a fine cigar include rum, brandy, and whisky. Many individuals argue that a premium cigar is best paired with a strong drink that contains a hint of sweetness. However, the paring of premium cigars and beer is often ignored in the discussions of pairing alcohol and cigars, but this tendency is quickly changing. Why should a premium cigar not be paired with a fine beer? The task of pairing these two items is not as simple as you might assume.
When the right premium cigar is paired with the right beer, the combination can be truly magical; however, whether or not you are able to successfully pair these two items together has much to do with your own personal experience level with cigars. An experienced palate is required when it comes to pairing the complex flavors of a cigar with the more subtle flavors of a beer. The ability to successfully pair these two items is one that must be developed over time. Because cigars are quite robust and complex in flavor, it can be difficult to find a beer that complements the intensity of a cigar”s flavor.
Due to the difficulty of pairing beer and cigars together, most newcomers to the wonderful world of cigars choose to stick to pairing wine and premium cigars together. If the flavors of a cigar can be described as wooden, spicy, or containing hints of cedar, then the cigar should be paired with a barley wine. The subtle hints of fruit in a barely wine handsomely complement the spicy hints in one”s cigar. On the other hand, a spicy cigar that is paired with a beer with hints of fruitiness can create an overall creaminess that enhances each of these flavors substantially.
If you are uncertain as to which flavor combinations of alcohol and premium cigars should be paired together, do not hesitate to experiment. The first step is to find a cigar that you thoroughly enjoy. Identify the characteristics of the cigar that you most enjoy. Then, find a wine or beer whose characteristics create a combination that your taste buds enjoy. There are no right or wrong combinations of alcohol and cigars; however, many wonderful discoveries have been made through experimentation when it comes to the pairing of alcohol and cigars.
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