The paring between cigar and spirits is considered a real ritual now famous all over the world. Cuba, through the traditional “Sobremesa”, inspired and spread this type of matching. Sobremesa is a centuries-old custom of the Cuban population that provides relaxation after a heavy meal, smoking a cigar in combination with spirits or local liqueurs.
Before being able to deal with the topic of pairing between cigar and rum, the topic on spirits will be introduced.
Definition and distillation techniques
A distillate, or spirit, is an alcoholic product derived from the distillation of a fermented sugar liquid that can be of vitivinicultural, cerelealicol, fruit and vegetable origin.
The distillation technique exploits the physical phenomenon whereby, thanks to the heat, any volatile substance can pass from the liquid to the gaseous state, and then return to liquid if it is cooled. This process takes place through the still, a copper device that allows to separate volatile substances based on their boiling point.
There are two distillation techniques:
Discontinuous Distillation (Post-Still): It can perform only one distillation at a time.
Continuous Distillation: Distillation takes place continuously and automatically 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The quality of the distillate is lower than with discontinuous distillation.
Rhum, Rum, Ron
The Rum is the spirit produced in the Caribbean obtained from the distillation of fermented must of sugar cane juice or molasses.
Untangling in the world of Rum is not a simple thing; different production styles and classifications can easily lead to confusion.
In this article we will analyze only the different styles of rum production.
Classification of production styles
French style – Rhum
Rhum agricultural Mantinique is the style of French Rum obtained by the continuous distillation of a fermented must of sugar cane juice. It is protected by an Apellation d’Origine Controlèe (AOC).
Rhum can be produced in 23 municipalities on the island of Mantinique.
Rhum Martinique classification
– Rhum “blanc” Martinique (rum bianco): Maturation of 3 months in steel.
– Rhum Martinique “élevé sous bois”: Maturation of 1 years in wood.
– Rhum Martinique “vieux” (VO): Maturation of 3 years in wood.
– Rhum Martinique VSOP: Maturation of 4 years in wood.
– Rhum Martinique XO: Maturation of 6 years in wood.
English style – Rum
English-style rum is obtained by the continuous or discontinuous distillation of a fermented molasses must. They are generally dark, spicy and aromatic rums. Currently only two islands have defined regolamentions for this style of Rum, Barbados GI and Jamaica GI.
Spanish style – Ron
Spanish-style Ron is obtained by the continuous or discontinuous distillation of a fermented molasses must. They are rums that can be both light, fruity and dark aged for many years in barrels.
The pairing between cigar and rum in detail
The high alcohol content in rum is a real double-edged sword when paired with a cigar: The softness given by alcohol greatly amplifies the intensity of the cigar when smoking, however if the alcohol in the distillate is present in a excessive, its pungency will tend to completely overpower the cigar.
Pairing according to structure and persistence
As with other drinks, the pairing according for structure and persistence also applies to spirits. Here are some rules:
– Cigars with a light body and not very persistent on the palate should be combined with poorly structured and persistent rums, which have passed a short to medium maturation period in wood.
– Medium-bodied and persistent cigars on the palate should be combined with medium-structured and persistent rums, which have passed a medium-long period of aging in wood.
– Full-bodied cigars, structured with a long persistence on the palate should be combined with full-bodied rums, structured, with a long persistence, which have passed a long period of aging in wood.
What to avoid
There are small things that should be avoided during the pairing between the cigar and the spirits.
– The excessive pungency present in clear spirits tends to overpower the cigar during the pairing. On the contrary, clear spirits with too neutral hints would be dominated by the cigar.
– It is advisable to avoid pairing cigars with hints of roasting with spirit with smoked or peat hints. The bitter aftertaste of both products would cause an unpleasant sensation in the mouth.
In this article we have introduced the topic of pairing between cigar and rum. After having clarified the definition of distillate and having dealt with the various types of distillation, we went into the pairing between cigar and rum, enhancing the marriage through criteria of concordance on structure and persistence, finally giving some advice on what would be best avoided in order not to ruin the match between the two.
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