By Sheronda Gipson
Cigars. There’s nothing better than kicking back in a soft, leather chair, grouped with a couple of others so that you and your crew can gather and forget the problems of the day or of the week. Just the very act of a soft exhale of smoke takes away anything heavy on your mind. When you enter the cigar shop, the two biggest decisions you will make will be: what do I feel like smoking and what do I want to drink with it?
May We Suggest?
Whether you have 45 minutes to an hour to indulge in a robust maduro robusto or only have 20 -30 minutes for a quick petit connecticut corona, one of these 5 drinks most certainly round out your palate for a wonderful drink and smoke combination. But it’s important to note that when it comes to pairings, there really are no rights or wrongs. It all depends on what you like and how those flavor profiles hit your tongue. With that in mind, here are our suggestions:
Whiskey* – If you are from the South, then you will probably favor Jack Daniels and if you’re accustomed to basic Jack, we invite you to try Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel or Blanton’s Original Single Barrel Whiskey. If you’re looking to explore more flavors, try a Japanese whiskey like Akashi or Hakushu.
Bourbon* – Known as “America’s Native Spirit” bourbon is one of the most popular drinks with cigars. Woodford Reserve is one of my favorites. Other favs are Basil Hayden, Four Roses and Bulleit. Some people like to add a drop of two of water to their bourbon or an ice cube. However, the purists (like me) will drink it neat.
*All bourbon is whiskey, however not all whiskey is bourbon. The short version is that to be called “bourbon”, it must be made in Kentucky. Whiskey can be made anywhere. More on the nuances in another post.
Crown Royal Regal Apple – Although Crown Royal is a whiskey, the apple flavored component puts it in its own category. If you choose to drink it neat, you will experience the crisp and tart taste of the best Granny Smith apple you ever bit into. If you add the citrus of cranberry juice with a splash of ginger ale, you’ve got a cocktail that will assuredly sneak up on you. It is unassuming and delicious.
Rum – It is very important to note that we are referring to dark rums. Rums that transport you to the islands that they were made from. Rums like Zaya(Trinidad), Ron Zacapa(Guatemala), Appleton (Jamaica), or Mount Gay Black Barrel (Barbados).
Red Wine – Believe it or not, red wine really holds its own with a cigar. While wine brands are too numerous to name, try one of these types of wine with your next cigar:
• Cabernet Sauvignon
• Red Zinfandel
Choosing a cigar and a drink is as individual as the person choosing. Each day, mood, situation and circumstance will bring the opportunity to delve in and to try something new. Don’t get stuck on your go tos, shake your palate up a bit with these worldly, amazing drinks.