Food & Drink

How to Pair Cigars with Beer & Food

Here are two truths about how to pair cigars with, well, anything:

  1. There is no wrong way to do it.

  2. Experimentation is the key.

Before you scream “Horseshit! It TOTALLY matters what you pair up together…” – it does a little. But let’s first agree about why we pair cigars with drinks: you want to bring out the flavors in each, and experience them to the fullest. So when I say there is no wrong way to do it, it’s because everyone’s tastes are different and we all like different things. But isn’t there, at least, a cheat sheet to keep your cigar pairing experience from sucking? Yes. Yes there is.

 

Smokes + Beer = Happiness

 

Beer and Cigars

Intensity of flavor: Have a more complex cigar, with a full rush (or variety) of flavors? Match it with a beer that offers a similar drinking experience. The flavors shouldn’t have to duke it out like prizefighters; instead, they should foxtrot like old-school dance partners.

Flavor profile: When it comes to the individual flavors, you might find that you can overdo it with too much of a good thing. If your cigar is peppery, try a beer that balances that with a sweetness of its own. Or for fuller-bodied stouts, pair cigars with a smoother (yet still reasonably rich) profile.

Mouth Feel: Used to describe a food or wine’s texture, we use it to describe smoke when we say, “body.” Thicker smoke? Try a thicker beer. Lighter beers call for milder cigars. If the smoke is thinner, try something lighter. Match up the body weights and see what happens.

Pair Cigars with Food

A good pairing for your cigar doesn’t have to come in a 12 oz. bottle. Many people (myself included) have found that chocolate – especially dark chocolate – is mighty tasty alongside a cigar. I have found it really makes the cocoa and caramel flavors jump out of each. If you like spicier cigars, try this: cold, fresh fruit. Not only will it be refreshing to the palate, but an apple, pear, plum or sweet-tasting grapes in particular will help take some sting out of the smoke while upping the flavor hit of the fruit.

Food and Cigars
As for other food – and big dinners – that’s a discussion unto itself. But still, I revert back to my original two truths: there’s no wrong way to do it, and experimentation is key…that means more cigars and bigger dinners. Two things of which I’m a very big fan.

What NOT to Pair With Your Cigar

Normally, I wouldn’t try to talk you out of trying something different or new in your effort to further the enjoyment of your cigar experience. But I have never had, nor heard of a good experience by eating a mint before. So there you go – even I broke my own rules. Just goes to show you that some things just don’t mix well with tobacco. So remember the rules of pairing: there are no rules (except the mint thing – that just sucks). And experiment, experiment, experiment: try anything and everything and, if you find something you like, then that’s your pairing.

For a spirit and cigar paring, check out this interactive guide!

 

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Billy FunkhouserHow To Pair Cigars With Beer For The Ultimate Experience Recent comment authors
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[…] Something you should also keep in mind if you want to pair a beer with cigars, is a simple and straightforward rule. And that is to never match heavy cigars with a mild beer and vice versa. If you want to pair your favorite beers with your favorite cigars, you should always pair mild with mild and heavy with heavy. The reason for this is simple, if you start smoking a strong cigar your taste buds will not even the able to taste the mild flavor of a light beer. But if you choose to pair a strong beer… Read more »

Billy Funkhouser
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Billy Funkhouser

Ginger ale and cigars, I found, do not work well together.

John Pullo

John Pullo

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This is not his picture, nor does he even have a beard. A solid 'B' student and occasional low-fi musician, John is a medley of cynicism and sarcasm crammed into a wrinkled Oxford shirt who makes it nearly intolerable to watch reality television with him in the same room. Interestingly, his Social Security number is all ones.

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