Every cigar smoker knows that cigars go well when paired with certain types of alcohol. There are many winning combinations, and good tequila pairs well with some of them. However, some folks may need to learn that tequila has some interesting similarities to cigars, making it perfect for pairing. Before we dive into which pairings go best with which cigars, let’s talk about why good tequila works so well.
Always Start With Good Tequila
First, when we say “pair your cigars with tequila,” we’re not talking about just any tequila. Two things define the quality of tequila – the percentage of agave in it and the aging process. Even by most casual standards, anything less than 100% agave renders the tequila sub-par. Some argue over the type of agave in the tequila. Most say blue agave is the best. In truth, 100% agave is the gold standard, period.
There’s one other important factor before you go mixing and matching tequila with your favorite smokes, and that’s the aging process.
Let Your Tequila Sit
There are many tequilas if you consider all the mixed varieties and those that aren’t 100% agave, and plenty of them are fine. For this list, we’re focusing on the four main types of 100% agave tequila and how the aging process affects the flavor.
Blanco tequila gets its name from its light, almost translucent color. It’s usually bottled immediately after distillation. If it is aged, it is for a brief time. You’d be forgiven for thinking this is similar to vodka or gin. As a general rule, lighter spirits don’t mix well with cigars.
In the case of Blanco tequila, however, there is an exception. Because it barely aged, if at all, this tequila features a stout flavor profile that requires an equally full-bodied cigar. We’ll get into specific pairings in a bit, though.
Reposado tequila takes a step up in the aging process. It rests for a minimum of two months. Some varieties of it take upwards of a year. In most cases, the oak barrels where tequila ages give tequila its distinct flavor. Some types will even age it in old whiskey barrels to add to the taste.
Aged reposado tequila is what we typically think of as “yellow tequila.” It is much smoother than Blanco yet still retains a solid flavor profile. You would most often pair this with a medium-bodied smoke.
Anejo, or “aged’ tequila, is the name reserved for any tequila that ages between one and three years; this is where premium tequila starts to come into its own. You’ve likely heard stories about tequila that has aged for years and refined its taste. Much like cigars, tequila only grows better with age.
The gold hue of an Anejo tequila signifies just how great it is. The light and smooth flavor should pair equally well with a light and smooth cigar.
Extra Anejo tequila is just like it sounds, aged even longer than Anejo. Extra Anejo tequila rests for over three years, often in multiple types of barrels, to give it a unique flavor.
Because of the length of aging, it develops a dark amber or brown color similar to bourbon. Likely the smoothest tequila you’ll find, this variety pairs well with a rich flavored cigar that tastes smooth and has different notes that complement the aging of the tequila.
Flavors for Good Tequila Pairs
Now that we’ve discussed the vast varieties of tequila in the aging process, we’ll go over some superb pairings that complement each other to complement the flavors.
Blanco tequila is spicy, so a stick with a lot of punch is a perfect match so that neither overpowers the other.
In this case, Blanco tequilas pair well with Nicaraguan smokes. A good example is to pair a shot of Alquimia Tequila Uno with a Joya De Nicaragua Cabinetta #2. The Nicaraguan smoke is spicy yet smooth and blends well with many Blancos, and leaves a creamy citrus aftertaste that is refreshing
You might also try a shot of Siete Leguas with a Casa Torano for an earthy flavor combination.
Reposado tequilas have a bit lighter flavor profile than a Blanco, so you’ll want a medium-bodied cigar.
Pairing an excellent Ocho Tequila with a Ghurka Marquesa is a good choice, as the earthy and herbaceous flavors pair well with each other for a smooth taste. If you’re looking for more flavor, try a glass of Casamigos Resposado paired with an Ashton Aged Maduro. The whiskey barrel-aged tequila has hints of vanilla and caramel that pair nicely with the cigar.
When we start talking about aged tequila, we’re talking about pairing it with lighter-bodied cigars. That doesn’t mean the flavor profile isn’t there, though. These golden-colored tequilas have plenty of flavor notes.
A pairing of Cazadores Tequila Anejo goes well with an Anejo cigar such as an Arturo Fuente Anejo. The rich flavors will complement the complex yet smooth profile of tequila. A glass of Roca Patron paired with an H Upmann Anejo offers another option.
Many consider Extra Anejo Tequila as a “sipping” tequila. However, its rarity and length of distillation make it a great pairing option for an equally fine cigar.
Extra Anejo tequila has a lot in common with whiskey, so you’ll find that any Maduro-wrapped cigar will pair well, such as an Ashton Aged Maduro paired with a bottle of Cascahuin works well. The bourbon-aged tequila perfectly compliments the cigar’s sweetness for an evenly blended taste.
Another option is to pair Patron Extra Anejo with a Sin Compromiso. Again, you’ll get bits of fruit while the wrapper pushes a caramel sweetness to finish the taste.
Good Tequila Pairs Don’t End Here
There are plenty more pairings; these are just a few examples. Tequila is almost the ideal companion to a good cigar. They both age well and have a refined flavor profile; you can enjoy both at your leisure. Try it for yourself and see.
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