So a gluten-sensitive friend of mine made a comment along the lines of “you always make drink recommendations with your cigars, do you have an gluten free recommendations?”
Actually yes I do. I myself tolerate gluten just fine (obvious as I drink copious amounts of beer and whiskeys of different kinds) but I know several people are in fact intolerant to gluten so I think it’s only fair I list some gluten-free options to enjoy with your cigars.
Of course, coffee goes without saying. For me, I love a nice breakfast blend/light roast coffee in the morning to go along with a mild/medium bodied cigar to get me into the day and awaken my palate. If I get the opportunity to have a lunch break cigar I’ll go with a darker roast coffee and something more toward the medium side of the spectrum without being too much. A nice espresso would go great with a full-bodied cigar. I’m hesitant to recommend Bailey’s Irish Cream if you want some alcohol with your coffee because although it’s claimed to be GF it is made from the distillation of gluten containing grains, so depending on your level of sensitivity you might or might not react.
Some also like hot tea with cigars, which is not something I’m into myself but it can be nice with a milder cigar in the morning.
Red wine is very nice with a fuller bodied, dark, Maduro cigar that would either feature notes of cocoa or meaty notes. I’ve also found red wine to go well with Rosado Habano wrapped cigars but find it does overpower Connecticut and the lighter/milder shades. In a similar vein, I know many people love brandy (distilled wine) with cigars, but I’m not a brandy person so I can’t remark on that.
As far as liquors, I really like rum with cigars as it’s a very versatile pairing. A smoother, not-so-intense rum such as a Flor de Cana goes absolutely beautifully with a variety of different cigars. I know some people love vodka with cigars but I have to admit I’m not a vodka person at all. I suppose you could also try tequila if you’re into that but I don’t know how that would pair.
Concerning various GF beers (most notably sorghum-based beers but also some traditionally brewed beers with the addition of something like Clarity-Ferm), it might be worth a try but admittedly I haven’t had many of those and the ones I did have I found damn near unpalatable.
Anyway, those are just some suggestions. I suggest you try one or all of the above and see what you like. The number one thing to remember about cigar smoking is that it’s an enjoyment rather than feeding a fix, and anything you can do to increase your enjoyment of a cigar is a good thing.
With that, let’s close out this post with a cigar review and some suggested gluten-free pairings.
JNV Habano Box Press
Continuing our theme, this cigar in the JNV line features Dominican tobacco and is a 6″ x 54RG Box Pressed Toro vitola.
First light revealed a perfect draw producing good volume of medium bodied smoke. Flavors of salted nuts and unsweetened cream on the draw followed by a leather and a bit of pepper on the retrohale.
This profile remained largely the same into the first third, but bringing in a tinge of a natural sweetness, with everything blended together very nicely. Into the 2nd third the flavor is mostly the same but the cream and nuts are punctuated at times by a fleeting bright pineapple note. The final third features a fairly big shift, dropping the pepper entirely and with the leather taking on more of an oak on the retrohale while the draw takes on a flavor of a medium-roast coffee as the body ramps up slightly to medium/full. The smoke starts going too hot for my taste at 1 hour 10 minutes for a good burn time for the size and bringing in a subtle mild/medium nicotine strength.
Great construction throughout with a straight enough burn that only required one minor correction at about the 2/3rds point. Ash holds on about an inch and a half at a time.
Yet another great offering from JNV and at the same great price as the rest of the line. You really do get a lot of bang for your buck. The great flavors combined with the great price means this cigar gets a very favorable 4.5/5 rating. Pair this cigar with coffee, red wine, rum or a dry hard cider along the lines of Ace Joker for best results.