Alcohol can often enhance a smoking experience, and cigar aficionados tend to have strong ideas about which beverages work best with their beloved cigars. While whisky is the most commonly attempted pairing for cigar lovers, during special events or the festive season, Champagne may be the drink on offer. Pairing cigars with anything seems to be quite a controversial topic, and Champagne certainly divides opinion for cigar smokers. Pairings are certainly a personal experience, but preferences aside, we take a look at what makes cigars and Champagne pair well together, and what you need to avoid!
A good pairing is all about balance – finding two elements that work together harmoniously and enhance each other, without overpowering or masking the taste of the other. As well as finding flavours that work well together, the textures, aromas and overall experience must be taken into consideration. Champagne tends to not taste as strong as other alcohols, like whisky, meaning that a strong cigar may mask the more delicate tastes.
One reason to sip on a glass of Champagne as you enjoy a cigar is because of the bubbles. The bubbles in Champagne and fizzy drinks have a palate refreshing, cleansing ability. With every sip, your mouth can feel refreshed. This is particularly handy when smoking a cigar, as after a little while of puffing away, the complex flavours can become indistinguishable. Taking a refreshing sip of Champagne, and letting the bubbles cleanse your palate, you’ll be able to taste the complexities of your smoke with every puff.
Champagne has a lower alcohol content than typical pairing spirits, like whisky. Stronger alcoholic tastes and the burn that can come from a strong spirit can contribute to a reduced flavour experience, masking some of the cigar’s flavour. The reduced levels of alcohol allow the smoker a more refined ability to sense the complex aromas and flavours in the cigar, allowing for a more exciting smoking experience.
Cigars and Champagne alone each offer a sense of luxury and sophistication, so pairing these two items together takes your experience to the next level. Experience the ultimate sense of luxury as you relax with a stogie in one hand and a fresh glass of fizz in the other. The perfect way to celebrate a special occasion or see in the New Year!
Cigar and Champagne Pairing Tips
As the taste of the cigar may detract from the more subtle complexities of the Champagne, picking a top tier bottle isn’t always necessary. When paired with a cigar, cheaper Champagnes, or similar sparkling wines, like Cava, will taste just as good as the pricier options. Champagne that is not too high in acidity is also essential, as this will allow it to pair better with the flavours produced by the cigar.
Due to the subtleties of the drink, sticking to a mild cigar can be a good idea too. To best enjoy the pairing, a mild, smooth and subtle cigar can provide extra complexities without dominating and overwhelming the flavours. Cigars that have been aged properly in a humidor can provide all of these qualities. We love an extra-aged Cuban cigar paired with our bubbly!
What do you think about pairing cigars and Champagne, and will you be trying it during your New Years celebrations? Let us know your thoughts via social media!