Many cigar lovers prefer to pair their cigars with such spirits as rum, cognac, whiskey etc. However, some people consider these drinks too strong.
For them, cigars and champagne can represent one of the perfect pairing options. Moreover, it is always nice to experiment and try something new and therefore, people who have already found a perfect pairing might like this option as well. In this article, I want to tell you why cigars and champagne can be a great combination and how their aromas and tastes match.
How to pair cigars and drinks
Many cigars go well with single malt whiskey, bourbon, rum, cognac or port. These dark spirits perfectly complement the complex flavours of cigars. Excluding tequila, you shouldn’t mix cigars with white spirits as the cigar will overpower them. Always choose a drink that won’t overpower a cigar and vice versa. You can also pair a cigar with wine or beer. However, it takes some time to learn how to do it right.
The general rule is that you should match a light-bodied cigar with a light-bodied drink, a medium-bodied cigar with a medium-bodied drink etc. An example of a light-bodied drink is white wine or blended scotch. Rums, bourbons, ports and Irish whiskey are medium-bodied and single malt whiskey is full-bodied.
If you want to pair your cigar with scotch, there is no strict rule. It all depends on your taste buds and personal preferences. Always try different pairing and you will find something that works best for you.
Why cigars and champagne go well together
Champagne contains less alcohol than hard sprits so it can offer a higher degree of aromatic perception. Also, its bubbles enhance the flavour of the cigar and have a refreshing effect. This bubbly drink also has a cleansing ability, which is very handy for cigar smokers as after some puffs the flavours may become indistinguishable. When pairing cigars and drinks, we take into account contrast and harmony. Contrast implies that elements have different tastes, but they complement each other. For instance, sweetness can increase the perception of salty flavours. Harmony means that both components work great together and create a unique experience. Avoid floral and fruity champagnes as they don’t work well with cigars and may completely change your cigar tasting experience. So, always choose the traditional sparkling wine or champagne.
In the same way as with food, there are several key characteristics in the cigar you should consider when deciding what drink to enjoy with it. Sweet, bitter, salty, sour and savoury are the five fundamental tastes. The most frequently found flavours in cigars are spicy, dry or creamy. Aromas, the persistence of aromas and tastes after we exhale the smoke are also very important. If your cigar has a long persistence, choose champagne that has it too.
How to match the tastes
There is no cigar presenting only one taste characteristic, most of them have at least a few. For example, you can find a cigar with a sweet backbone and some spiciness and creaminess intertwined. Or a savoury backbone interestingly united with salty, sweet and spicy mouthfeel. Also, there can be a cigar with a spicy backbone, complemented by sweetness, creaminess and some savoury appearance. A cigar presenting sweet, spicy and creamy tastes can create a perfectly balanced pairing with champagne that is not too high in acidity.
How to match the aromas
Sweet, toasted, nut and wood aromas pair very well with champagne. Every cigar offers many aromas and the intensity is very important. When pairing a cigar with champagne, you need to take into consideration the strength and persistence of tastes and aromas as well. They shouldn’t be overwhelming, harmony and balance are essential. That is why vintage champagne pairs very well with vintage cigars. More common alternatives are Cava, Franciacorta, Cremant and Californian sparkling wines. The most important thing again – it shouldn’t be too high in acidity, such champagne is easier to pair with many cigar’s flavours. This drink is quite subtle, so it is a good idea to stick to mild cigars. This way, nor a cigar nor champagne will dominate or overwhelm the flavours.
The perfect occasion
Many people usually drink champagne for such special occasions as Christmas or New Year, a birthday or a wedding, a big achievement in business or a job promotion. However, you don’t need to wait for such events. You can light up a cigar and pop up a bottle of champagne whenever you want to. Both champagne and cigars give you a sense of luxury and elegance. So, having these two elements together, you will get a brand new experience. Relax and enjoy the moment with a glass of bubbly drink in one hand and a fine cigar in another. Experiment and find the best pairings for you.
Alessandro Rocco Pietrocola is an entrepreneur and investor based in London and operating mainly in Europe, Asia and Oceania with main focus on UK, Baltic Countries, Russia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Middle East and New Zealand as area of interest! At the moment is the CEO of Astorts Group. He is an UK FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) Approved Person and is has great experience as director of regulated companies. He uses to dedicate part of his life to inspire others and help them achieve the most out of their life. Since he was 20, he had successfully founded and managed several companies operating in the field of management consulting, wealth management and fintech. He loves travelling, he is a cigars lover, an amateur golfer and a dapper man.