Cigar and Tequila Pairings

Cinco de Mayo is only a few days away, and while there are dozens of ways to celebrate- with mole, mariachi, dance, guacamole- one in particular comes to mind. Tequila! And what better way to enjoy the liquor than with a nice complementary cigar? Here at Ralph’s Cigars we know nothing is better than a good cigar pairing- except for a perfect cigar pairing.

Some people like to drink tequila straight, but having a nice cocktail that pairs sweet and spicy together and allows you to sip all the way through your smoke can be amazing. If your drink of choice is a Paloma, with its subtle sweetness and savory, citrusy taste, the best pairing is going to be something with a gentle sweetness and a spicy kick. My personal choice for the perfect pairing is the Plasencia Alma Del Fuego, a Nicaraguan Puro that is grown in the volcanic soil of Ometepe Island. It takes that volcanic soil and grows it into a satisfying spice, along with notes of tangerine, roasted cashews, and guava wood all wrapped in carefully selected sun-grown wrappers. The spice and slight citrus notes make for a perfect subtle mild-medium smoke that blends seamlessly with a Paloma. 

If you are looking for a drink that will suit an earlier morning, or recovery from a late evening then try a Bloody Maria- a twist on the classic brunch drink. While some recipes simply swap vodka for tequila, others call for specific formulas of mixers, hot sauces, and garnishes. While we don’t have a specific version for you to try, what we do have is an excellent cigar to pair with whatever Cinco de Mayo brunch calls for. That would be a medium-bodied, earthy cigar like the Romeo y Julieta 1875 Nicaragua. Beyond the hearty earthiness you’ll find spicy coffee bean and cedar notes in another Nicaraguan Puro from a traditional brand that has been lauded by connoisseurs and novices alike. The spicy earthiness grounds the pepper and kick of the Bloody Maria for a pairing that will have you saying its name at least three times. 

Cinco de Mayo, especially here in Chicago, signifies the start of summer- warm weather, street festivals, and a whole new life infused into the city (we’ll talk more about infusions later). So if you’re looking for a cocktail with a more summery vibe, look no further than the Tequila Sunrise, with its orange juice and grenadine. It's a sweet drink that uses the bite of tequila as a garnish, not the main draw, and deserves a mild and flavorful cigar to punch up the sweetness without adding any weight. The perfect cigar to pair with such a sweet, flavorful drink is the Highclere Castle Edwardian by Foundation. It is hand rolled in Nicaragua using a Connecticut Shade wrapper that is bound to Nicaraguan filler with a Brazilian Mata Fina leaf for a cigar that has a surprisingly strong flavor for the lightness of its strength. It is smooth and classy with notes of pepper and citrus that blends well with the subtly spicy, sweet cocktail. 

Finally we have the favored daughter of tequila, the star of the show, and the drink you’ll be most likely to have in your hand as the sun sets on Cinco de Mayo. That is, of course, the Margarita. Over ice, shaken, or blended, it’s impossible to think of tequila without also thinking of that classic cocktail. It’s citrusy, it’s spicy, it’s sweet, and it pairs perfectly with a full-bodied, peppery cigar like the LFD Chapter 2. La Flor Dominicana has a history of perfecting the full-bodied Maduro, and the Chapter 2 is one of their best. This chisel-tipped cigar carries Dominican Ligero filler that is bound in an Ecuador Habano leaf and wrapped in Nicaraguan Colorado for an intensely rich and spicy experience that is tailor made for seasoned cigar smokers. It has notes of earth, molasses, anise, and toasted almonds, with that classic LFD spice as a featured guest throughout. It is perhaps the ultimate cigar to pair with tequila- save one.

We of course cannot discuss tequila and cigar pairings without throwing our hat in the ring. Literally designed to be paired with tequila, we at Ralph’s love our Pineapple Margarita Tequila Infused cigar, designed by the big man himself. It is a Dominican Puro that stays subtle enough so as not to distract from the main draw- its flavor. The sweetness of the pineapple pairs perfectly with the spice of the tequila. It is almost an entire pairing in itself! But when you smoke it while sipping a margarita it sends the whole experience into the stratosphere.

So whatever you’ll be drinking next weekend, come on down to Ralph’s Cigars and find the perfect cigar to pair it with. It will be here, and so will we. 

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