Tag Archives: cigar pairing

Baker’s Bourbon

bakers bourbon

A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to meet Bobby “G,” Beam’s Master Mixologist, and we talked about whiskey and cigar pairings briefly. If you’d like, you can hear that interview on the podcast.

Bobby suggested that Baker’s Bourbon is a great cigar pairing, as the aging for Baker’s puts their barrels higher up in Beam’s rickhouses, creating a¬†rich, bitter and quite spicy bourbon. Baker’s is a 7-year-old, 107 proof bourbon, too, bold enough to pair¬†with even the boldest cigar as well.

Baker’s is shockingly¬†smooth and easy to drink for being 107 proof. I’ve tried it with a bold cigar (Gurkha Red Witch) and a mild cigar (Arturo Fuente Dominican Seconds), and really enjoyed the interplay Baker’s had with both. The Red Witch is flavorful¬†and¬†Gurkhas tend to have lots of smoke output, so it was richness that was the stand-out in this pairing. The Fuente was a milder and earthier smoke, highlighting Baker’s nutmeg flavors. Alone as a nightcap, Baker’s spiciness is exceedingly clear: pepper and nutmeg are the standout flavors.

Baker’s is definitely a cigar smoker’s bourbon and those who prefer their whiskies spicy, like rye drinkers or even Four Roses drinkers, may want to give this bourbon a shot as well.

Wine-Finished Whiskies

slaughterhouse whiskey

Recently I discovered a little piece of the whiskey industry and decided to explore it a little bit: wine barrel finished whiskies. The two whiskies I tasted are distilled and aged as whiskey, then re-barreled by Napa Valley wineries in their used wine barrels and aged for a period of time in Napa.

Slaughter House is a product of Splinter Group in Napa, home of the Orin Swift family of wines. For Slaughter House, they barrel a 9-year-old Tennessee whiskey (distilled from 95% corn and 5% wheat) in their Papillon barrels (a red wine blend).

Slaughter House is bold and spicy , with a nose of apricot, berries and caramel followed by a flavor of cinnamon-and-sugar and marzipan. From the flavor of the whiskey, I have trouble detecting the wine’s contribution, though Slaughter House is certainly a solid whiskey when stood alone. With a price in the mid-$30 range, it’s a good buy for a solid spice-heavy 9-year-old whiskey.

amador whiskey

Amador Whiskey Co’s Double Barrel Bourbon is a blend of 3-10 year old Kentucky bourbons, then is re-barreled in Napa for 6 months.

Also¬†a mid-$30-priced whiskey,¬†Amador Double Barrel is barreled by the spirits division of¬†Trinchero Family Estates. Chardonnay barrels were used for aging and the wine barrel contribution¬†is¬†much more obvious. It’s nose is floral and¬†sweet corn, with a finish that is crisp and clean, clearly¬†echoing the Chardonnay. Amador has almost no traces of spiciness, and is much milder start-to-finish than Slaughter House. I suspect that this¬†flavor profile could¬†translate to a broader appeal to more drinkers, too¬†(ladies, I’m looking at you).

Whiskey is no stranger to barrel polygamy. Whether it’s something like these wine-barrel finishes, or larger brands like Angel’s Envy (finished in Port barrels) or Balvenie Double Wood, the depth of flavor that gets added through barrel exploration like this makes for some very delicious drinking.

Cigar Pairing: Creme Cocktails


Last month, I did a seminar at San Antonio Cocktail Conference about cigar and cocktail pairing. The gist of the seminar was this: cigars are typically paired with similar-tasting drinks (smoky scotch, spicy rye). If, however, you pair a cigar with an opposite-tasting cocktail, like a creamy or sweet drink, the pairing can enhance the flavors of both the smoke and the drink.

To be quite honest, the attendees weren’t totally convinced that cream-based cocktails were a good fit, but a recent conversation I had confirmed that a creamy cocktail actually pairs quite well with a stogie. The following are some cream-based cocktails I recommend pairing with a cigar, including a Puerto Rican cocktail that’s basically their equivalent of egg nog:


  • 12¬†oz coconut milk
  • 12 oz evaporated milk
  • 12 oz cream of coconut
  • 4 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1¬†cup spiced rum
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • blend¬†ingredients in a blender until well mixed, then bottle and refrigerate until cold
  • serve in small glasses and sprinkle¬†cinnamon on the top

Brandy Alexander

  • 1 oz of brandy or cognac
  • 1 oz dark creme de cacao
  • 1 oz cream (half and half)
  • shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with nutmeg on top

White Russian

  • in a shaker, combine:
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz coffee liqueur
  • 1 oz cream¬†(half and half)
  • shake well with ice and strain into an ice-filled old fashioned glass

Twenty Boat Spiced Rum

twenty boat spiced rum

We recently had a little fun on the podcast at the expense of Twenty Boat Spiced Rum. A rum from Cape Cod? If you heard the episode, however, you noted how quickly the jokes ended when we tasted Twenty Boat.

Distilled by South Hollow Spirits in Massachusetts, who distills both Twenty Boat Spiced¬†and¬†Twenty Boat Amber Rum, this is a spiced rum to try if you see it (it’ll run you about $45 a bottle).¬†With spices like vanilla, cinnamon and chai in the mix, Twenty Boat ends up lead by¬†a strong butterscotch note most of all.

I¬†love to use spiced rums in my rum-and-cokes (made in a 1:3 ratio) because the spices in the rum usually closely pair and complement the flavor or Coke, and Twenty Boat fits the bill.¬†I’ve found that if a spiced rum isn’t strong enough and¬†spiced enough (duh), that it tastes too watery and bland. Twenty Boat doesn’t suffer from wither of these¬†and¬†it comes in at a impressive 95 proof. Because of the¬†high proof, Twenty Boat is a decent sipping rum too, and a good pairing on the rocks with a cigar.