There are few things that go together better than a stiff drink and a cigar. Just one problem: Who knows which stogies go with which drinks? Matthew Arcella, managing partner of Davidoff Las Vegas, does. (The company owns six cigar stores in casinos, including in the Venetian, MGM Grand, and Mandalay Bay.) “People tend to be more familiar with what they’re drinking and less familiar with what they’re smoking,” says Arcella, who advises selecting cigars with a subtler flavor than your drink. Here are a few of his other pairing tips.
“Pair a smoky whisky like Laphroaig or Oban with a cigar that has some meat on its bones. I’d go for Central American cigars that are spicy, full bodied and aromatic. One of my top choices is the Padron 1964 Anniversary Imperial ($16).”
“A smoke with a peppery Cameroon wrapper is perfect with a glass of Zacapa Rum 23 or Cruzan Single Barrel Rum. Try the CAO L’Anniversaire Cameroon Churchill ($9), which burns evenly and has a great, rich flavor that won’t overpower your drink.”
“For cognac, such as Remy Martin Extra, you want a cigar that wraps around the grape-based flavor notes. The Arturo Fuente Anejo Reserva No. 77 ($35) plays very well here. It uses a broad-leaf maduro wrapper aged in a cognac barrel. It’s a perfect match—especially after a big meal.”
“When I have a fruit-based cocktail like a Mojito, I want to keep my cigar mild. I look for something with a Connecticut shade wrapper. The Davidoff Classic No. 2 ($15) is the benchmark for this kind of smoke. It has a lot of flavor, yet remains mild enough to compliment your cocktail.”
Michael Kaplan is the co-author of Aces and Kings: Inside Stories and Million-Dollar Strategies from Poker’s Greatest Players.