Cocktails & Cigars - The perfect summer pairing

Cocktails & Cigars - The perfect summer pairing

by Nick Hendry

As the summer sun begins to beat down, a Cuban Cigar by a pool somewhere begins to sound like the perfect way to while away the afternoons.  These are the days best spent relaxing in a gently shaded spot, or at the side of a body of water.  These days, when the heat begins to make too much rushing around unbearable and when the nature around us is in full bloom, should be for time spent recharging the batteries, soaking up the healing rays of the sun and indulging in a moment of pause and reflection.  As we aficionados know, there is no better punctuation to these moments than our favourite cigar.

Often, though, we instinctively pair our cigars with warm, heavy drinks – a strong black coffee, a rich and flavourful whisky – but such beverages are not always conducive to enjoying in the afternoon when the sun is at its peak.  We are much more likely to choose something cold and refreshing to go alongside our smokes and cut through the heat of the day.  Luckily there are plenty of these drinks that go just as well with a cigar, be it daytime or evening, allowing us to cool off, cleanse the palette and continue to follow our passion for Cuban cigars throughout the season.  Today, we bring you a few of the favourite pairings of the EGM Cigars community.

Cuba Libre paired with Cuaba Exclusivos

A Cuba Libre paired with a Cuaba Exclusivos

Cuba Libre x Cuaba Exclusivos

First up, a classic cocktail known across the world, but paired with a cigar that may have escaped the attention of some.  The Cuba Libre is simple to make – rum, cola and a healthy dash of lime juice, with lime wedges to garnish and all served over ice – but the flavours are expressive and the sensation on the palette is cool and crisp.  The sweetness of the cola and the rum, the slight hint of vanilla and the sharp citrus of the lime will complement the honey, cedar, caramel and occasional herbaceous notes detected in our review of the Cuaba Exclusivos for an excellent summer combination.

Orange Mint Cooler with Punch Coronations

 

An Orange Mint Cooler with a Punch Coronations

Orange Mint Cooler x Punch Coronations

The combination of orange and mint is ideal for cleansing palettes and the kick of the tequila in this recipe will add a little extra dimension.  Silver tequila is mixed with orange and lime juices, poured over ice with fresh mint leaves and topped with soda water for a delightfully crisp, cool summer cocktail.  Juxtapose these flavours against the warming cinnamon, pepper and leather from the Punch Coronations and you will have an unusual, but delightful, taste experience.

Cohiba Exquisitos paired with a frozen Daquiri

A frozen daquiri with a Cohiba Exquisitos

Cohiba Exquisitos x Frozen Daquiri

Another globally famous classic cocktail, this time next to an equally renowned cigar brand.  Like Cohiba, Daquiri is originally a word from the Taino language and is the name of a beach in Santiago de Cuba, to the south of the island.  According to legend, this simple cocktail – rum, lime juice, crushed ice and a little sugar – was created in that area by an American around the time of the Spanish-American war.  It will pair beautifully with the light, floral notes of this diminutive Cohiba cigar, keeping you cool in the heat of the afternoon, perhaps while enjoying a dip in the pool.

Por Larranaga Petit Corona with a Sado Gin Negroni

Por Larranaga Petit Coronas paired with a Sado Gin Negroni

Sado Gin Negroni x Por Larranaga Petit Corona

Since 1919 the Negroni has been the quintessential aperitif, named for the Italian count who first requested the combination in a Florentine café and subject to countless variations according to taste and location.  The EGM-preferred version is made with Sado Gin, mixed over ice with the traditional red vermouth and Campari and served alongside a Por Larranaga Petit Corona.  The sweet, grassy notes at the outset will mix with the tang of the tea-infused gin and the vermouth, while the light body of the cigar is perfect for early evening, before a good meal.  Even the pale gold band of Por Larranaga is particularly suited to glinting in the light of the golden hour at the end of the day.  A terrific pairing to kick off a long summer evening spent feasting with friends.

Smoked Old Fashioned with a box of Trinidad Topes

A Smoked Old Fashioned with a box of Trinidad Topes

Smoked Old Fashioned x Trinidad Topes

The Old Fashioned is another classic cocktail, usually made with bourbon, bitters and citrus.  Substituting a single malt from the island of Islay, like Laphroaig or Lagavulin, will add a blast of peat and smoke instead of the sweetness of the American whisky, combining well with the bitters and adding a depth and strength to the drink.  The Trinidad Topes – now thankfully part of the regular portfolio after the popularity of the 2016 Limited Edition – is a hefty smoke, at 56 ring gauge, and packs in woody and tangy notes that will blend with the peat and smoke for a robust and intense flavour experience.  This is a combination for the end of the evening, sitting around a fire on the porch, swapping stories with friends and watching the late summer sunset.  Before we know it these evenings will have passed us by – best we take full advantage while we can.

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