Want to know how EPC made the #1 Cigar of 2018? We dug into the CA Video Vault for a look back at our May ’18 sitdown with Ernesto, and learned everything there is to know about Encore Majestic by EP Carrillo. Watch now, and learn from the Master…
How to Pair Cigars with Beer & Food
Here are two truths about how to pair cigars with, well, anything:
There is no wrong way to do it.
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
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.
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.