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How to Pair Cigars with Beer & Food Two realities that every cigar smoker knows about “pairings:” I) Everything pairs well with Cigars! II) You can’t be afraid to try something new. Now, hold on there. Hear me out. I think we can settle on the reason why drinks pair so well with cigars: they bring out the best essences, aromas and flavors in each, and we experience them at their best. When I said, “everything pairs well with cigars,” I meant that everybody’s palates vary, and each of us enjoy different things. Want a reference for quick and easy checking - ensuring that your cigar pairing doesn’t end up in a tasteless, disgusting cloud of failure? Fear not, my friends, for you’re looking at one. Concentration of Piquancy: Are you currently in possession of a bold, complex cigar with an intense amount of flavor? Grab yourself a brew that has a comparable personality. The goal is not to have the two pummel each other like they are in a UFC title match; rather, they should embrace each with a big Bro hug. Taste and Character: With enough experience you will, or you may have already noticed not just one, but several delicious flavors in a cigar. This is known as “complexity.” If you’re puffing on a particularly spicy stick, grab a draft that tames the spiciness. Try a creamy-smooth mug of ale, or even a stout, and light up a full-bodied cigar for an even-tempered and pleasant smoke. Mouth Feel: Mouth Feel is an industry term to define the texture of wine and food, and also applies to premium cigars. In this case, it’s the way the favors feel on the palate. So, if you have a big bold, cigar that issues lots of thick smoke, try and equally bold beer. On the contrary, if the cigar is mild, then you should have a mild brew like a Pilsner. Don’t be afraid to experiment here. The true novelty lies in your own discoveries after all. Pairing Cigars with Food: Beer isn’t the only thing you can pair with cigars. A lot of cigar smokers enjoy pairing a good smoke with some fancy dark chocolate, which is my personal favorite. I find that it pairs very nicely with most cigars, especially cigars with a complex profile, which may have its own notes of cocoa bean or chocolate. It’s a really nice experience. On the other hand, if you’re a fan of cigars more on the spicey-peppery side, try some fresh fruit. (True! You’ll thank me for this one later.) Pears, plums, peaches, apples, oranges, - all of these are great for taking the sting out of spicy cigars, while brining out some of the hidden flavors in the fruit. Avoid These Pairings: At the beginning of this write-up I talked about experimentation and how it’s good for your individual pairing preferences, but there are some foods you should avoid having with a cigar. Mints, especially strong ones will kill the flavor of most cigars. Onions also tend to coat the palate, preventing some of the good cigar’s flavor to reach the taste buds. As a last ditch effort to impart wisdom, remember that there are really no set rules to pairings. Who knows, you may even come up with a great pairing that I overlooked. So keep on trying new things. And remember that variety is the spice of life. 42 GASPARILLA ISLAND March/April 2017


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