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Cigar Pairings with Rick Rodriguez (video)

Rick Rodriguez, head blender for CAO Cigars, imparts his philosophy on pairing cigars with beverages.


Hey, guys. I’m Rick Rodriguez, the head blender for CAO. I get asked often, “What do you pair your cigars with?” And that is a very hard question to answer because everybody’s palate is unique. The beauty of anything you eat, you drink, you smoke is because you enjoy it. And so to pair a cigar with a product or a beverage that you enjoy, maybe the next guy wouldn’t enjoy that pairing.

Pairing, to me, is dependent on the style of the cigar. If I have a full body cigar, I know the spirit that I want to pair that. If it’s a dark beer, a rich good dark creamy beer, or if I want to have a scotch or some bourbon, I want to pair the right cigar with those liquors. So to me, the best pairing and smoking cigars is coffee. I think coffee cleanses your palate every time you drink a sip of your coffee, so every time you intake your cigar it’s going to be cleaner and you are going to get more flavors from that cigar. I don’t care if you pair your cigars with coffee or a bourbon or a beer or wine, you pair it for yourself and if you like that pairing, continue with that.

I don’t smoke, I don’t eat, and I don’t drink for anybody else but myself, and I think that is the same philosophy you guys need to live by because I smoke, I eat, I drink for my palate, for what I enjoy, so who am I to say you’re wrong when you pair your cigar with a good beer or you’re wrong when you pair your cigar with a good wine. If it works for you, it works for you and I’m okay with that.