ANOTHER chance to talk about cigar pairings – and let’s stick to drinks for the time being.
Cigars and beer is a cracking combination. Whether your preference is for a cold Pilsner on a hot day, a chewable pint of Irish stout or a hoppy burst from a strong Suffolk ale, a smorgasbörd awaits you.
Good old traditional English ale is a fine pairing for a medium-bodied cigar in particular; keeping your palate moist means you taste more than you normally would and the gentle, pleasing flavours of real ale complement those of your cigar nicely. While you could opt for something stronger on the cigar front, we feel that this can sometimes overdo things and the cigar takes an upper hand over the beer.
Lighter cigars seem to work better with lagers – something to do with the fizz, we reckon, but don’t ask us why. So, a refreshing pint of cold lager and an El Rey del Mundo Choix Supreme, for example, is a match made in heaven, while your pint of Spitfire may best be accompanied by a Montecristo Petit Edmundo.
Where do we start with wine? While it’s not considered a classic cigar pairing, it happens a lot. This is because people love to drink wine and many of them also love to smoke a cigar. And, at the end of the day, you will combine your loves even if they don’t quite bring out the best in each other because – well, because you can.
White wine and cigars is tricky, for much of the subtlety of the wine can be lost even when paired with the lightest of smokes. You need some bracing acidity, in our opinion; something that can be served well chilled and with enough about it to defend itself from the rigours of cigar smoke. Pairing a Riesling with a Fonseca is an unusual, but rewarding take, for instance.
Red wine is easier, largely due to the bolder flavours of the wine coping more easily; a Tempranillo grape is an excellent ‘cigar conductor’ and as such, you’ll find Riojas able to match up to both your steak and the cigar you fancy after it. The plunging depths of Italian reds can also cope with some beefier classmates – try a Ramon Allones Specially Selected with a Sassicaia and come back to us.
The choices are, of course, endless, and as you can see from this whistlestop list of suggestions, but we can’t disappear without mentioning Champagne. Some say it can’t be paired with cigars, others say it’s a classic. It largely depends on how much you love Champagne, in our humble opinion!
It’s tricky, for sure; it would be a travesty to waste all that lovely subtle, delicate flavour by overwhelming it with a cigar. But in the interests of brevity, we suggest that you purchase a fine bottle of Pol Roger, say, or perhaps a Ruinart Blanc de Blancs and match it with an aged Por Larranaga Petit Corona.
We rest our case, M’Lud.