If you want to maximize your enjoyment of cigars then you might want to consider adding a well paired partner to your smoking experience. The best way to do this is by drinking your favorite beverage while smoking your cigar. This is fine in and of itself, but you may have noticed that not all drinks partner well with your cigar.

Sometimes your go-to beverage makes your cigar taste worse. Sometimes your cigar makes your drink taste worse. There’s some very simple guidelines you can follow that will help you find the perfect match.

The idea is to balance the flavors. Bitter with sweet, salty with sour, spicy with umami.

The best thing you can do to balance your pairings is to choose a drink that is the opposite of your cigar. If your cigar is mild and lacks a punch, maybe try a drink with spiced rum or a rye whiskey. This way the drink adds flavor to your cigar. If Your cigar is packed full of spices, then it’s a good rule of thumb to drink something smooth and forgiving. A simple sweet bourbon or vodka soda can do wonders to pair with your cigar. Same with beer. A hoppy IPA doesn’t pair as well with an spicy cigar from Nicaragua as it would a smooth Ecuadorian Connecticut.

One way you can almost never go wrong is with sugar. I know you may think it takes away the “manliness factor”, but it’s just a simple fact that sugar pairs with tobacco. A Mexican Coke made with real cane-sugar will bring out your cigars natural flavors. If you don’t like coke, juice works well too. Something sweet sour can pair well with a deep maduro while something creamy like a latte will pair well with most cigars.

Go With What You Like

At the end of the day, pair your cigar with something you like. Don’t just reach for a scotch because that’s what you were told. The entire point is to enjoy yourself. If someone in a lounge gives you shit for bringing in a chocolate milkshake, let them judge. You know how to enjoy yourself without worrying about other people. They aren’t you. So drink what makes you happy. Just don’t get sloppy drunk. Hopefully that goes without saying…