After two consecutive articles of enjoying cigars alongside some alcohol, I decided it might be time to sober up my writing… at least for one article. At first, I found myself at a loss. I mainly like to have my cigars either as a celebration for some accomplishment (sometimes just waking up before 1pm on a Saturday merits a reward) or when I have someone to smoke with. Usually, those are the best times to enjoy a nice cold beer or a Jack & Coke as well. Since I typically had them side by side, I never really considered what else could amplify the flavors or promote a pleasant smoking experience. Furthermore, I wondered which drink would be the best to pair with cigars. It was time to find some answers. We utilized the internet and managed to poll over 400 cigar enthusiasts to find out what their favorite drink is when they smoke.
Here are the top twelve non-alcoholic drink pairings for cigars:
Honestly, before I really knew anything about cigars I would have guessed this choice to be the top pick, so it surprised me to see espresso this low on the list. However, it surely made it on here and I’ve got a feeling more than a few Europeans were helping part of those 400 polled to ensure this one made it as one of the top drinks.
11. Orange Juice
This answer completely surprised me. I never expected orange juice to be anywhere near the top twelve, but sure enough, here it is. Sometime after finding this out, I was having a smoke after work and went to grab some sweet tea (which, somehow, didn’t even make it on the list!) when I caught sight of my carton of Florida’s Natural Homestyle OJ, Extra Pulp (yes, I’m one of those crazies, but I’m also from Florida where you can’t go 5 steps in any direction without tripping over a damn orange). I decided to give it a try. At first, there was nothing terribly exciting about drinking it after having a few puffs, aside from its palate-cleansing ability, but then I noticed the aftertaste which was a truly unique flavor experience. It was actually such a unique experience that I’m not quite sure how to describe it other than that I highly recommend trying some OJ with one of your next sticks and experience it for yourself. You’ll thank me!
10. Diet Mountain Dew
When it comes to sodas that made it on this list most of the diet ones were far surpassed by their regular counterparts. For some reason, Mountain Dew didn’t show up anywhere on the list while Diet Mountain Dew managed to jump all the way up to #10! Being so lightweight that I have to combat mild winds as part of my daily routine, I have never had a need or desire to incorporate diet sodas into my life and lose what little mass I actually do manage to keep on me. However, the next time I find myself in a situation where I’m enjoying a cigar and someone offers me a Diet Mountain Dew, I fully intend to take them up on that offer and find out what makes this such a winner, just out of sheer curiosity.
9. Ginger Ale
Carbonated beverages, in general, are a very enjoyable drink to have alongside cigars, so it made sense finding quite a few sodas on the list and that ginger ale would be one of the top ones mentioned. Ginger ale is not only a great soda that won’t overpower your cigar, but can also be a very calming drink to have if you’re not feeling well or need to settle your stomach. You can even step it up to ginger beer (unfortunately also non-alcoholic) if you really enjoy your ginger flavor.
8. Iced Coffee
Is that steaming cup of coffee too hot to handle? Well put some ice in there and light-up your favorite Habano wrapped cigar. You’ll certainly be in for a treat.
7. Pepsi/Diet Pepsi
Born in Atlanta, this entry pains me to admit, but your resounding responses are impossible to ignore. Although I can’t say it was unexpected since it is clear from our list that most sodas tend to go well with cigars. Their carbonation, which helps bring out a cigar’s flavor, and their sweetness are welcome additions to any smoking experience.
6. Root Beer
Ah root beer, the only candy that still comes in a barrel and the first soda to float (vanilla ice cream, that is). Whether it’s an IBC, A&W or some other combination of letters, root beer is a classic soda with an unmistakable flavor that is the perfect sidekick for your stick.
Tea, a drink with jam and bread (and cigars). I wasn’t really surprised to see tea in the top 5; it is a great drink to have with pretty much anything, comes in an infinite variety of flavors and is another effective way to relax after a rough day.
4. Ice Tea
I’m sure Coco is very happy to see this one on the list, but I don’t think cocoa is too pleased. If hot tea is not your style or you just prefer having a nice cool drink to go along with your cigar, this is definitely the way to go. (But really guys, no sweet tea?)
3. Dr. Pepper/Diet Dr. Pepper
The Dr. (despite his missing qualifications) comes in at #3 on our list and is the oldest cola brand still around. Obviously a recipe for soda success, it is also in the recipe for an enjoyable smoking session. Now if only I could get a doctorate in soda I’d be set for life; both for income and calories.
2. Coke/Diet Coke
Awwww yeah, my lifeblood! #2 (suck it Pepsi!) Ahem. Minor biases aside, it should come as no surprise this All-American classic would be one of the top choices. Coke is a drink meant to be enjoyed with any activity, including alongside your favorite cigar. I know this choice is my personal pick and is a combo I regularly enjoy and recommend to any other fellow cigar/soda lovers.
Finally we have our winner! Since Habano wrappers are often described as coffee-flavored, most cigar smokers are already very familiar with the flavor of coffee and what better way to enhance that flavor than with even more coffee? A nice warm cup of coffee can be enjoyed pretty much any time of day. Whether it’s that first cup to wake you up or a decaf after dinner, coffee is the go-to. The next time you’re wondering if it’s the proper time to have coffee with your cigar, I urge you to take a look at your clock. If there are numbers on it then it’s the perfect time to stop asking yourself dumb questions and pour yourself a cup already. Truth is, you probably need it!
Thank you to everybody who gave us feedback and helped us to produce this list. I certainly found it very interesting to see what drinks everybody enjoys with their smokes and this list has given me ideas for combinations to try in the future.
There were also a few drinks that appeared a couple of times, but nowhere near the amount of votes that our top 12 gained. Here are some honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the list:
Diet Cherry Pepsi
Top 12 Non-Alcoholic Drink Pairings for Cigars
by Chris Bonomo
What other non-alcoholic drink pairings for cigars do you prefer?
What other non-alcoholic drink pairings for cigars do you prefer?