Whether you’re looking to try something new or just don’t fancy alcohol, there are many reasons for someone to look for the perfect non-alcoholic pairing. Luckily, this is a much easier task than you would think!
Whether it's a morning pick-me-up that you're looking for or a suggestion to beat the heat, we've got you covered! In this article, we’ll discuss everything from soft drinks to Arnold Palmer's as well as give you some of our favorite cigars to try with each drink.
Best Non-Alcoholic Cigar Pairings: Sodas
Soft drinks are a fan favorite from around the world because they are bubbly, sugary, and easily accessible. And in addition to revitalizing your palate, sugar will combat the effects of nicotine so that you can enjoy your smoke without the sweats.
Root Beer is always a crowd pleaser with cigars, particularly because of the sassafras sensations. Sassafras mildly contrasts most cigar tasting notes, making for a delightful pairing. We recommend Caldwell's The Last Tsar or RoMa Craft's Neanderthal with Root Beer as it will tame the strength of these beasts while bringing out some of the subtler tasting notes.
Dr Pepper is another great choice that teases out the subtler aspects of a cigar with it's spicy, sweet taste. We find this to be particularly effective when pairing with cigars that introduce subtle hints of cherry to the palate. In this case, we give the nod to Foundation Cigar Company's El Gueguense.
Of course, Coca-Cola and Pepsi go great with just about anything, so it’s no surprise to find out that they’re excellent drinks to pair with a cigar. Both of these pair exceptionally well with maduro wrappers such as the Serino Royale Maduro XX.
Have Cream Soda on standby? When matched up with a Padron 1964, you're combining two heavyweights from their respective industries and guaranteed a homerun. The spicy nature of the Padron 1964 and the sweet, creamy nature of Cream Soda make for the ultimate crash course in contrasting pairings.
For the adventurous: Monster energy drinks make for an uncanny pair. If you don’t believe us, crack open a Monster Ultra Red, fire up an LFD La Nox Toro, and tell us if it isn’t better than finding a $20 bill in your pocket.
Best Non-Alcoholic Cigar Pairings: Teas
Sweet Tea isn't just a southern thing, it's loved around the U.S. as a crisp, satisfying drink to cool off from the heat. And when it comes to cigars, any time you pour something sweet you've got the ingredients for a knock-out punch. For a traditional sweet tea, we suggest lighting up a Warped La Hacienda - but in truth, it's hard to miss with this pairing.
What do you get when you combine lemonade with sweet tea? An Arnold Palmer and a high five! The introduction of lemonade makes it a little harder to pair, but citrus can have a palate cleansing effect - especially if you go easy on the sugar. In this case, we tip our hat to the Illusione Garagiste, a cigar that has more than enough body to power through a sugar overdose yet plenty of subtle nuances to discover with such a pairing.
How 'bout our friends from the East? A discussion on the best non-alcoholic pairings wouldn't be complete without introducing Chai Tea, a beverage steeped in history and what most consider the national drink of India. While the ingredients vary greatly, Chai can consist of black tea, ginger, cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon. It's a warm, spicy, sweet concoction that we like to pair with Brazilian wrappers such as the Cornelius and Anthony Daddy Mac.
Another favorite in the summer is Mint Iced Tea - a libation created with tea, fresh mint, and usually a slice or two of lemon. Such a unique drink deserves a unique pairing, and we think it's a hit with the Winston Churchill Chequers, a cigar commissioned by Sir Winston Churchill's grandson! In the case that this cigar is unavailable, check out the Davidoff Escurio for another instant classic.
Best Non-Alcoholic Cigar Pairings: Water
Have you ever wanted a pairing that was crisp, refreshing beverage that didn't alter the flavors of your cigar? Say hello to your new best friend: sparkling water. In fact, coffee chops are known to distribute sparkling water along with shots of espresso to help cleanse your palate.
And while sparkling water is a great non-alcoholic pairing with virtually any cigar, we recommend it especially with mild-medium bodied cigars such as Caldwell's Savages, Regius Exclusivo USA, or the Chogui Dos 77 Lonsdale.
Best Non-Alcoholic Cigar Pairings: Hot Chocolate
While milk is considered one of the least appetizing beverages with cigars, hot chocolate and chocolate milk are often considered a no-brainer. There's just something magical about the creamy, chocolatey texture that pairs so well with a cigar.
Now, hot chocolate and chocolate milk require a little more planning that just about anything we've mentioned above. Namely, we like to pair this sort of drink with Connecticut Broadleaf or Mexican San Andres wrappers for maximum effect. These drinks will highlight the sweeter tasting notes of Broadleaf and play a magnificent duet of chocolate and spice when paired with San Andres.
We look to Foundation Cigar Company's The Tabernacle Toro for this pairing, as it features both a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and a Mexican San Andres binder. Guaimaro Corona is another excellent choice, featuring a Mexican San Andres wrapper over a Brazilian binder. And lastly, L'atelier's La Mission 1959, another Mexican San Andres wrapper, is great any day of the week but shines especially bright with chocolate beverages.
Best Non-Alcoholic Cigar Pairings: Coffee
Historically, coffee is the most popular non-alcoholic pairing across the world. Particularly because it pairs exceptionally well with milder cigars and can be brewed to go toe-to-toe with even the strongest blends.
Espresso is a bolder, richer way to experience coffee. Typically served as a shot, espresso undergoes many flavor nuances (both bitter and sweet) as it begins to cool. For such a dynamic beverage, we recommend the Warped Flor de Valle Las Brumas or Sobremesa Short Churchill. It's also interesting to note that espresso is what Kyle Gellis of Warped Cigars and Steve Saka of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust pour for both of these cigars most often.
When you top your espresso off with a small amount of steamed milk, you get one of our favorite drinks: the macchiato. The steamed milk serves to attenuate or reduce the boldness of your espresso, making it an even easier non-alcoholic pairing. While hard to miss, the HR Claro 109 and Herrera Esteli Lonsdale Deluxe particularly shine with a macchiato.
Forget the fancy stuff, you just want to pour a tall glass of homebrew? Too easy! The Crowned Heads' Luminosa, La Palina Miami Babe, Serino Royale Connecticut, and Graycliff White Knight are all excellent choices no matter how you like to brew your Cup O' Joe.
We hope you enjoyed this article! Pairings are a personal choice and are subject to your individual tastes. What works for one may not work for others. If you have additional pairings that you enjoy, please add to the conversation below by sharing with the group!