Tag Archives: cigars and cocktail pairings

Hennessy Cognac

hennessy ryan mcginness bottle

This is one of the few cognac reviews you’ll find here at Simple Cocktails, but that’s not really intentional. It’s just that cognac can be pricey and is mostly intended for sipping, not cocktail-making. Hennessy is really one of the big names in cognac and has released a limited edition bottle to celebrate 250 years in business, designed by American artist Ryan McGinness.

So what is cognac exactly? Cognac is brandy (distilled from grapes) that is specifically distilled and aged in the Cognac region of France. Like brandy, there are 3 common types of cognac:

  • V.S. – very special. The youngest type of cognac.
  • V.S.O.P. – very special old pale. An older and more expensive cognac.
  • X.O. – extra old. Cognacs in this range usually start at $100, though they can command thousands or tens of thousands of dollars if they’re old or unique enough.

hennessy ryan mcginness bottle

Hennessy has chosen accessibility with this limited edition bottle, it’s the V.S. blend, which retails for the usual $30-40. V.S. is a blend of dozens of cognacs and is aged 8 years. Cognac has long been the preferred accompaniment to a cigar, and this one has the subtle flavor of sweet red wine, and the barrel notes of vanilla and a little bit of caramel. Definitely the right flavor profile for a cigar.

Cognac is not particularly appealing to the younger drinking crowd and I imagine this bottle art is a way of generating interest from them. It glows under a blacklight, a particularly cool effect in a nightclub. The artwork is modern and beautiful too, and if you’re looking to pickup a moderately-priced cognac, there’s not reason not to grab this beautiful bottle with quality cognac inside.

Cigars and Cocktails

cigar

While cocktails are my primary focus around here, I like to pair my drinks with a great cigar from time to time (evidence of this is on my Instagram profile). Brown liquors are usually a better fit with a cigar than the clear ones, though I’ve also found some vodkas that work with a stogie, too. Here’s what I like to drink with my cigars:

Tallarico on the rocks. A spicy rye vodka fits well on a hot summer night with a nice mild cigar.

Phraya Rum. I’d call this the best cigar rum I’ve tried yet. Rum is usually a good fit with a smoke, especially aged rums like Zacapa or Thomas Tew.

Old Fashioned. If you’ve read this blog much at all, you’ll realize this is my favorite cocktail. A bourbon Old Fashioned is great with a cigar because it’s usually sweeter than rye, or you can use rum (see above).

Aged tequilas. I don’t drink a lot of tequila outside of Margaritas, but Don Julio is an amazing tequila. Buy the most expensive one you can afford, and enjoy it neat in a snifter while you smoke.

Lastly, I’ve discovered that Martinis – which I love to have before dinner – don’t work so well with stogies.

So what do you like to drink with your smokes? Leave a comment below.

Photo by Bryan Glynn of Cigar Obsession. Thompson sent me PDR 1898 cigars to test out.