Peoples’ quirks have always entertained the hell out of me. Why on earth would you wear socks to bed? Who decided that olive juice should go in a martini? Whips in the bedroom—what the…? People like weird things, but who the hell am I to try and sort out any one person’s particular tastes?

There are some things in my life, too, that absolutely must go together: beer and pizza. Peanut butter and jelly. Flannels and denim. Ketchup and mustard. Gin and trouble—the list goes on and on. One thing that I absolutely love, but I always seem to get a hard time about, is my affinity for boozing with a good cigar. And it’s shocking because, to me, there’s simply nothing better than a good Cubano and a fine spirit.

In fact, I’d say you should never drink without one. Here’s why.

1. Cigars heighten your taste sensitivity.
First and foremost, most booze tastes better with a cigar. While a common misconception leads people to believe that smoking dulls one’s sense of taste, the truth is that when you scorch your palate ever so slightly, it makes your taste buds more sensitive and perceptive to taste.

So, if you really want to taste those subtle sweet notes of grape that turn on with a good Cognac, there’s no better way to do so than with a good stogie. If the idea of a little rum on rocks makes you crinkle your nose, try it after a couple pulls on a good cigar—you’ll taste every bit of that subtle sugarcane that all too often gets lost in the mix. And if you’re a Scotch guy, cigars have the same kind of effect on the rich oaky, smokey and even lightly fruity notes of your favorite single malt. Hell, they even bring out the flavors of a solid beer.

A good cigar turns drinking into an experience.

2. Cigars offer a sense of pace.
I don’t know about you, but my days of boozing for the thrill are [mostly] over. These days, when I drink, it’s because I want to kick back and relax, not bang shots or do keg stands.

A good cigar creates a solid pace because you can’t exactly smoke through them quickly. In fact, even the smaller ones are good for at least a half hour session. You have a good pace, the slow buzz from your booze of choice, the euphoric nicotine rush from the cigar (yes, cigars have nicotine in them, and a lot of it at that, so be careful and don’t overdo it), and hopefully some solid Spotify play lists to round it all out.

Relaxing with a glass of my favorite brown stuff is awesome, but doing it with a cigar is second to none.

3. Pairing cigars and booze is a learning experience.
Finally, let’s face it—I’m a fucking nerd. I love learning about and trying new things, so when the opportunity arises to take what I’ve learned over the years about booze and mix it with something else, I’m interested. Cigars are easy and simple things to mix with different booze, and the best thing is that different cigars will offer completely different flavor profiles for all your favorite types of alcohol. Sometimes those profiles are wonderful and sometimes they’re disastrous. But that’s all part of the fun.

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