“Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker”—Willy Wonka
One of the most frequent questions asked about cigars is which type of liquor goes best with a good smoke. Alcohol and cigars go hand-in-hand for many as two of their favorite vices, so naturally the question is a valid one. Unfortunately, there isn’t one clear cut answer for this. Many people experiment until they find the brand of cigar which they feel suits them the best and then stick with it. Others try different things as their tastes in cigars evolve. The same can be said for alcohol. Here, then, are my personal choices for five drinks that will help you relax at the end of a long day and which are perfectly complemented by a premium cigar.
- Scotch—This is a no-brainer. Scotch has a very powerful, robust flavor and is probably one of the best drinks to have while smoking a cigar because it doesn’t let the cigar overpower the drink. Stick with your traditional single-malts like Glenlivet Purists will say that having scotch on the rocks is heresy and that the drink should be enjoyed straight up. Either way, enjoy your drink with a nice, full-flavored cigar like an El Rey de Mundo.
- Rum—Because of the exotic nature of cigars, rum is a great pairing for a good smoke. Many of the countries that produce the finest cigars also, coincidentally, make some of the best rums. You don’t want rum mixed with something fruity when you are smoking. (Leave the daiquiris to the ladies.) Instead try a good dark rum like Appleton from Jamaica which will match up nicely with an Adduci cigar from the same locale.
- Coffees—Perhaps one of the easiest ways to make sure that a drink isn’t overpowered by a cigar is to serve it mixed with coffee. Baileys, to my taste, is a little too sweet for when you smoke so you may want to forego the Irish coffee and instead try coffee with a shot of rum or tequila.
- Whiskey—Another popular favorite is whiskey and all of its seemingly infinite varieties. A good choice is a traditional American whiskey like Jim Beam or Jack Daniels paired up with a nice Arturo Fuente cigar which has a nutty hint that goes nicely.
- Beer/Ale—Again, most beers will be overpowered by the taste of the cigar and there is nothing worse than pairing a top of the line, premium cigar with cheap beer. Instead, a good stout drink like Guiness is the perfect choice if you want to enjoy a draft with your cigar.
Once again, the key to finding a good cigar-liquor combination is to just try mixing it up yourself. Use the “strong flavor” rule of thumb so that your drink won’t be overpowered and enjoy.