Best Drink + Cigar Pairings

Critics' Pick

Smoking and drinking: a timeless combination. Jason Cannata of Havana Connections. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Smoking and drinking: a timeless combination. Jason Cannata of Havana Connections.

Doff the silk robe and ditch the pipe. Jason Cannata, operations manager at Havana Connections and resident "cigar nerd," says the tobacconist industry is just a bit full of itself. And don't ask him to pair premium cigars with wine. But there's nothing like the perfect cigar with the right glass of bourbon, or a hearty beer. Disclaimer: Everyone's palate is different. But here are a few good pairings from one of the smartest cigar guys in town:

Booker's whiskey + Padron 1926 ($16): This tasty, small-batch bourbon is hardcore, with high alcohol content, and Cannata says the "first sip can be overwhelming to the palate." The rich, spicy Padron 1926, with a sun-grown maduro wrapper, is "full flavored and complex," he says. "The spice will actually complement a strong bourbon. The smoothness of the cigar won't soothe the palate, but it will make [the bourbon] a little more drinkable."

Don Julio tequila + Rocky Patel, vintage 1990 ($8.55): "They both have an initial herbal flavor," Cannata says. "The cigar has a smoky quality and brought out the flavor of the tequila. It brought out the sweetness of the cigar."

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban + A. Fuente Rosado, Gran Reserva ($6.75): A sweeter Scotch with a rich color, it's first aged in white oak casks and then transferred to "ruby port pipes" from the Quintas of Portugal. "The cigar has a sun-grown wrapper that is both sweet and spicy," Cannata says. "The two flavors blend together perfectly."

Evan Williams single barrel bourbon + Tatuaje ($9): This medium-bodied bourbon works nicely with this "full-flavored, earthy and lightly peppery" cigar, hand-rolled in Miami. "The cigar makes the bourbon taste richer," Cannata says. "It brings out the sweetness."

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA + Liga Privada T52 ($11.35): Ahh, a good rich beer deserves a great cigar, just as much as the distilled spirits. One of Cannata's favorites, the Liga Privada is a "bold cigar, a lot of complexity, a lot of depth." A hoppy beer like the Dogfish 90 can have a bit of a hard edge, and the cigar smoothes it out. "The cigar gives it a creamy edge," Cannata says. "It adds a buttery quality."

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