Cigar aficionados often associate the enjoyment of their favorite smokes with the perfect beverage as a companion. While many opt for alcoholic pairings, a growing trend emphasizes the delightful synergy between cigars and non-alcoholic drinks. And when you think about it, there is quite a few fantastic options here as well!
In this blog post, we'll delve into the world of non-alcoholic pairings that elevate the cigar-smoking experience.
Top Non-Alcoholic Pairings
We ran a poll on our Instagram and these are the top pairings (In this order) according to you!
Coffee, with its rich and diverse flavor profiles, is maybe the most obvious and a classic companion for cigar enthusiasts. From bold espresso shots to velvety lattes, explore the nuances that make coffee a versatile partner for your favorite cigar.
Picture by IG user @Beardecigarlover
Elevate your cigar ritual with the effervescence of sparkling water or soda. The crisp bubbles can cleanse the palate between puffs, allowing the flavors of the cigar to shine through. The sweetness of for example Coca-Cola can really hit the spot for many cigar enjoyers.
OtherNon-alcoholic classic Beer, Ginger Ale or Root Beer are furthermore alternatives that many of you seem to enjoy. This is also a go-to for me that writes this blog. The crisp effervescence of non-alcoholic beer complements the richness of certain cigars, while the sweet undertones of root beer and the zesty kick of ginger beer provide a delightful contrast, allowing aficionados to savor the complexities of their favorite smokes without overpowering their palates.
Tea connoisseurs rejoice – the world of fine teas offers a myriad of options to complement your cigar. Delicate green teas, robust black teas, or soothing herbal infusions can provide a delightful balance to your smoking experience.
Crafting the Perfect Pairing
Consider the flavor profiles of both the cigar and the non-alcoholic drink. Experiment with contrasting or complementary flavors to find the perfect match.
Pair the intensity of your drink with the strength of your cigar. Lighter beverages often complement milder cigars, while robust drinks can stand up to bolder smokes.
Texture and Mouthfeel
Explore the tactile experience by considering the texture and mouthfeel of both the cigar smoke and the beverage. A creamy drink might harmonize beautifully with a smooth cigar, enhancing the overall enjoyment.
While there are general guidelines, personal preferences play the most important role in the perfect pairing. Experiment with different combinations to find what suits your palate and enhances your cigar-smoking moments.
One of the main guidelines to follow would be to not have one overpowering the other, balance is key. Instead, try to find combinations that enhances each other.
Photo by Wildey Media
Specific Pairing suggestions to try out:
Adam from Dreamer Cigars - "Dr. Pepper & Boa Vida from Eighty5 Cigars. Dr. Pepper also goes well with almost any cigar in my opinion"
Instagram User @looseaxle - "Trinidad Fundadores and Coca-Cola is a great pairing in my opinion. Coffee, Sparkling Water and Coca-Cola are my go to non-alcoholic drinks when smoking"
Instagram User @a_blog_of_smoke - "Sarsaparilla / Root beer and Juan Lopez Seleccion Especial"
Sisuman Axel - "Ginger Ale paired with mild cigars. One example for me would be Macanudo Cristal Cafe or Montecristo No. 2 and a good Ginger Ale. Coffee and Coca-Cola goes well with most"
The Bitter Dilemma - Navigating Flavor Challenges
While the art of pairing cigars with non-alcoholic drinks opens up a world of flavors, some enthusiasts have reported encountering a bitter taste when opting for non-sugary beverages. Understanding and navigating this dilemma is crucial for a satisfying cigar-smoking experience.
The Culprit: Tannins and Tobacco Interaction:
The bitter taste often stems from the interaction between the tannins present in certain non-sugary drinks and the compounds found in the tobacco. Tannins, commonly found in teas, red wines & non sugary ciders and juices, can accentuate the bitterness in both the drink and the cigar, leading to an unpleasant taste on the palate.
Solutions to Bitterness:
Experiment with Different Drinks:
- Not all non-sugary drinks are created equal. Experiment with various options like herbal teas, lightly infused waters, or cold brew coffee to find a combination that minimizes bitterness.
Balance with Creamy or Fruity Elements:
- Incorporate a touch of creaminess or fruitiness to your drink. For example, adding a splash of milk to your coffee or choosing a fruit-infused sparkling water can soften the bitter impact.
Unsweetened Drinks paired with mild cigars:
- Consider pairing mild cigars with non-sugary drinks to minimize the risk of bitterness. Mild cigars often have subtler flavor profiles that may not clash as strongly with tannins.
Palate Cleansing Between Puffs:
- If bitterness persists, consider incorporating palate-cleansing elements like plain water or even bites of a neutral-flavored cracker between puffs to reset your taste buds.
It's essential to recognize that individual palates vary, and what works for one person may not for another. Some enthusiasts may embrace the bitter notes as part of the cigar experience, while others seek ways to mitigate it. The key lies in experimenting, adapting, and finding a balance that aligns with your personal taste preferences.
In the realm of cigar pairings, the journey is as much about exploration as it is about enjoyment. Embrace the challenges, learn from each experience, and let your palate guide you toward the perfect balance between cigars and non-sugary drinks.
Cheers to the perfect harmony of non-alcoholic pairings!