The pairing between cigar and water: an almost perfect combination
Water is a drink that we can define as quiet and silent: it is an extremely delicate product, with subtle aromas and barely perceptible flavors; its presence is so obvious in people’s lives that it rarely pays the attention it deserves. Appreciating a drink like water means completely forgetting its vital and moisturizing function to consider it instead a precious and refined drink, this allows you to understand which water is most harmonized, for example, when smoking a cigar.
The Italian legislative definition and classification of mineral waters
Natural mineral waters are those which, originating from an underground deposit, come from one or more natural sources which may have particular characteristics.
During the transit and the permanence in the subsoil, the water changes its characteristics: the parameter that characterizes them is the content of salts inside given by an exchange that the water has with the rocks. The salt content is measured through the Fixed Residue, a parameter used to classify mineral waters and drinking water in general, expressed in mg / L.
In Italy four categories of mineral waters are classified according to the fixed residue:
- Minimally mineralized: less than 50 mg / L.
- Oligomineral: Between 50 and 500 mg / L.
- Minerals: Between 501 and 1500 mg / L.
- Rich in mineral salts: Over 1500 mg / L.
The pairing between cigar and water in detail
Water is certainly the most neutral drink to pair with a cigar, thus representing an almost perfect pairing, as well as ensuring considerable freedom of choice in products on both sides. However, there are some precautions to keep in mind to best enhance the pairing of this type of drink with a smoke. It should be remembered that the type of water used and the relative serving temperature can completely change the experience of the pairing.
The serving temperature of the water must be between 8 °C and 12 °C, namely a cool temperature, but not excessively cold. Ice water softens the palatal sensations, preventing you from perceiving some of the flavors of the cigar while smoking.
It’s also a good practice to avoid adding ice to the water to cool it as it would unequivocally alter its taste by creating a mixture of completely different waters. Always for the same reason, it’s not advisable to mix flat water with sparkling water or vice versa.
Below are some general rules to be able to correctly pairing between cigars and waters.
- Light and not very persistent cigars must be paired with flat, soft waters, low in fixed residue (oligomineral), with light and almost imperceptible scents.
- Medium strength and medium structured cigars must be paired with slightly effervescent, oligomineral and medium persistence waters.
- Full-bodied, intense and persistent cigars must be paired with effervescent waters, rich in mineral salts, refreshing and with a good structure in order to cleanse the mouth and palate.
- At the end of the smoke, if you want to prolong and maintain for a long time the sensations left on the palate given by the cigar, it’s preferable to drink a flat, light and unstructured water. If, on the other hand, you want to end the smoke with a palate that is clean from all organoleptic perceptions and you should move towards an effervescent, structured and persistent water.
In this article we have introduced the combination between cigar and water. It has been noted that water is not only an indispensable drink for our survival, but it can represent something more complex when viewed from a different point of view. After introducing the classification of mineral waters according to Italian legislation, we went into the pairing. Although is the most neutral drink to be paired with a cigar, water is certainly not the most obvious and immediate since parameters such as the serving temperature and the type of water used can completely change the taste experience.
Finally, generic advice was given on the pairing between cigar and water in order to draw up guidelines to start experimenting with new types of unusual combinations.
They must not be taken as absolute dogmas but as stimuli: only in this way, over time, will it be possible to validate and perfect specific pairings between cigars and waters.