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Pairing a cigar with the right beverage can amplify the enjoyment both the drink and the smoke. However, most recommendations involve liquor, wine and beer. What about those of us who don’t feel like boozin’ when we’re smokin’? We searched cigar forums and websites and came up with a list of the top 10 non-acoholic drinks to pair with your cigar.
#10 – Ginger Ale / Ginger Beer
The bite of ginger pairs wonderfully with a full-bodied cigar, drawing out spicy notes. Go for the real-deal ginger beer for the ultimate experience, though make sure your cigar can stand up to the strength.
#9 – Sparkling Water / Club Soda
Club soda is commonly used by cigar blenders to cleanse the palate, allowing them to sample different blends and make objective taste assessments. Sparkling water will go well with any type of cigar and will help you focus on the sublte flavor notes in the tobacco.
#8 – Cola / Diet Cola
Many smokers like an ice-cold Coca-Cola to tune their tastebuds while smoking. We suspect this has less to do with them pairing exquisitely, and more to do with the fact that people just love soda. Cigars with sweet notes could get lost in the mix, but an earthy, leathery smoke might do well with the kick of cola.
#7 – Non-Acloholic Beer
Many teetotalers enjoy a good non-alcoholic beer like O’Douls or Kaliber with their cigar. Lighter beer pairs better with mellow-medium-body sticks, so a non-alcoholic beer drinker would do well to stick to that range.
#6 – Arnold Palmer
The Arnold Palmer is a drink made from a mixture of iced tea and lemonade. Made famous by its namesake golfer, it’s the perfect summertime accompaniment to a wide variety of tobacco blends. You can now get it in 99¢ cans from the Arizona beverage company.
#5 – Root Beer
Similar to the reasoning behind Ginger Beer and Non-Alcoholic Beer, Root Beer has the strength to pair up with cigars all the way up to the full-bodied range. A well-brewed Root Beer can enhance relaxation and bring out the spice of the cigar, providing a consistent counterpart to the complexity of the tobacco.
#4 – Tea
Tea is a versatile and wonderful compliment to almost any cigar. Many people prefer sweet tea or iced tea to enhance cigars that lack sweetness. There are so many tea options to choose from — Chai, Green, Oolong, etc — that if you experiment enough you’ll find a knock-out pairing.
#3 – Dr. Pepper
Dr. Pepper is the overwhelming favorite when it comes to pairing cigars with carbonated beverages. For reasons as mysterious as the secret 23-flavors recipe, there is a surprisingly large number of cigar smokers who swear by the soda as the perfect cigar pairing. One could argue that Dr. Pepper is a ‘complex’ soda, and can be matched with a similarly complex cigar. We’re curious enough to give it a shot.
#2 – Water
Yes, I know, this is the most boring pairing we could possibly come up with, but the truth is it’s by far the most popular and ubiquitous. Drinking water with your cigar allows you to meditate on the cigar’s complex and changing flavors throughout the smoke. Some people simply won’t smoke without it because if you don’t give your palate a chance to refresh itself, the complexity of the cigar could be lost.
#1 – Coffee
The non-alcoholic beverage pairing winner by a long shot was coffee. Unlike water, which may be more popular, coffee has the potential to really enhance the flavor of your cigar. Regardless of strength, country of origin, size or shape, coffee seems to pair well with any smoke. Besides the buzz-inducing combination of caffeine and nicotine, coffee can easily be custom-tailored to your tobacco tastes. Black coffee goes great with full-bodied cigars, and you can add more cream and sugar as you head back toward the mellow-bodied range. The possibilities are endless because coffee and cigars share so much in common. They’re grown in equatorial climates and consumed both for their taste and their physiological effect. You don’t have to be a connoisseur to enjoy them, but if you are a connoisseur you’ll be well rewarded. We’ve got some brewing right now!
What’s your favorite non-alcoholic beverage/cigar pairing?