Best Cigar and Cocktail Pairings

July 28, 2020

Best Cigar and Cocktail Pairings

My alcohol preference is as simple as it comes.  I like a good beer or a good whiskey and with an Italian meal, an excellent red wine.  However, on occasion, when I’m feeling fancy, I’ll go ahead and order a nice cocktail.

Anytime I go to a higher-end bar or lounge, I’ll always order a cocktail.  Many bars will put their own twist on it, giving you a tasty and fresh experience.

With bars and lounges starting to open, albeit it slowly, I thought it would be great to showcase some of my favorite, classic cocktails and the cigars that go along with them.  If you are looking for more general cigar and drink pairings, check out the pairing section of the Blending Room right here.

Manhattan & Illusione Haut 10

This is hands down my favorite cocktail and the one I order the most by far.  Being a pretty decent whiskey nerd, I love trying out various whiskey-based cocktails and compare them.

For those of you who don’t know, your typical Manhattan is a combination of whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters, usually accented with a darker cherry.  While you can use any whiskey variety, I always stick with bourbon.

Angels Envy or Makers Mark are great Manhattan bourbons as they are incredibly smooth and with enough sweetness to accent the bitters.

Illusione is a brand that I have really come to love in recent years.  As a younger smoker, I would have never been able to appreciate the subtle complexities that make this brand so special.

The Haut 10 is up there as one of my favorites from Dion and his team. He blended this cigar perfectly with Nicaraguan tobaccos grown by Aganorsa.  The subtle yet present sweetness from the Nicaraguan Corojo makes it a great partner for a well-made Manhattan.

If you are interested in some great straight bourbon and cigar pairings, check out our article here.

Moscow Mule & Crowned Heads Four Kicks

While the Moscow Mule has been around since the 1940s, I want to say its popularity has really exploded in the past decade.  With more people realizing how good ginger beer is and the prevalence of millennial bars using the copper cups, the Moscow Mule has become the cocktail of a generation.

The drink is a combination of vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice.  As stated, it is usually served cold in a copper mug with a lime wedge.  This drink is a combination of strong, flavorful, and refreshing, with each ingredient playing an important role.

Due to the spicy notes from the ginger beer, you are going to want something with some spice to it.  However, you don’t want overly spicy as the Moscow Mule is a cleaner and refreshing beverage.

I would go for the original Four Kicks from the Crowned Heads.  Its Ecuadorian wrapper adds in just the right amount of spice, while its aged filler and binder tobaccos make it smooth and approachable.

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Dry Martini & Davidoff Grand Cru

I’ll be honest; I am not a big martini fan.  To be even more frank, clear liquors generally don’t do it for me at all.  However, my roommate loves a good dry martini and, on a few occasions, has had me try them.

Again, I’ll be honest; if it is well made, I am in.  The martini is among the most well-known cocktails in the world and has been popular since the 1920s.  There are many variations on the martini, including the dirty, vodka, or espresso martinis.

However, a straight-up dry martini, which is six parts gin, one part dry vermouth is an excellent drink.  It is smooth and clean and can be refreshing if served chilled.

For the classiest of classy cocktails, you are going to need an exceptionally classy cigar, so I went with the Davidoff Grand Cru.  This cigar is the height of luxury and is one of the cigars that made the Davidoff name synonymous with class and style.

It is a smooth Dominican smoke with a flawless Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper.  This mellow to medium smoke will provide some creamy and nuttiness, that will pair well with the dry martini.

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Old Fashioned & Dunbarton Sobremesa

Here we have another whiskey-based cocktail, one that might even be more well-known than the Manhattan.  The old fashioned is historic as it is delicious and is one of the first documented cocktails during the 19th Century.

The name holds true even today.  While it has a few variations, the most common makeup is a mixture of bourbon, bitters, a sugar cube, and an orange peel.

The combination of the sweet sugar and bourbon with the bitters and citrus notes from the orange, give you a smooth yet complex drink that is a roller coaster of flavors.

While any time I see the word orange, I immediately go the Espinosa Laranja, for this pairing, I took a different route. Instead, I went with the original release from Dunbarton Tobacco, the Sobremesa.

This is a solid medium to full body smoke that uses a blend of Nicaraguan filler tobaccos, a Mexican binder, and an oily Ecuadorian Habano wrapper.  This blend results in a plethora of enticing flavors such as rich sweetness, leather spice, and a touch of citrus.

The complexity and overall flavor profile make it an excellent matchup for one of the world’s most celebrated cocktails.

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