Pairing Cigars and Alcohol

Cigar and Alcohol - Brandy
Cigar and Alcohol - Brandy

Cigars and Alcohol. How To Pair Them…

The cigar is synonymous with the luxury of high class society. Cigars conjure up visions of wealthy men sucking away on their stogies and swirling glasses of brandy while talking politics in smoking air-tight rooms. If you are intrigued by this mysterious world and would like to learn the art of relaxing with a stogie in one hand and drink in the other, you are not alone. Here are a few guidelines to follow.

Tradition dictates cigars should be paired up with hard alcohol. The popular liquors of choice have always been: rum, brandy, and whiskey. Some enthusiasts say a cigar should be mixed with a strong, but sweet drink like scotch or brandy. Cigar aficionados have been using these pairings for years. The idea of pairing cigars with a nice cold beer has long been ignored. Why ignore the comfort of a nice, cold brew? Lately, it has become quite popular to pair cigars with a variety of beer. Since cigars have slowly invaded popular culture, it is not just the high class who takes the time to enjoy a good cigar. What a better way to relax than out on the porch with a cigar and a cold beer.

It isn’t easy to find a beer that is comparable to a high quality cigar, but will pay off in the end. Finding a good match has a lot to do with your level of experience. If you are a newer smoker, it may be best to ask for some help when pairing up a cigar with beer. If your palate is more experienced, and you know what your taste is, you have a better chance of figuring out what beer goes with your cigars.

Cigars are robust and full of flavor so it can be a challenge to find a beer that compliments the power of cigars. The best pairings are single malts like scotch or a barley wine. Barley wines go best with cigars tasting wood-like or spicy. Barley wine has a hint of fruit flavor and goes well with the spicy flavor in the cigar. Likewise, your spicy cigar may go well with a fruity type of beer; this will bring out the flavors of each.  

The best way to find out what works best for you is to experiment. Of course, the first thing to do is find a cigar you like. While smoking it, concentrate on the taste and flavors. Now, you can look for a beer with similar flavors or complementary flavors. You never know what you can discover by experimenting this way.

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