Negroni has captured the attention of many cigar lovers around the world. Unlike rum, whisky and cognac pairings which exude a traditional aesthetic of the cigar experience, a Negroni and cigar pairing brings a taste of Italy to cigar culture. Indeed, the Negroni personifies la dolce vita; cruising Lake Como, weaving through the canals of Venice, appreciating Turin’s Palazzo Madama; these are activities that warrant a Negroni with a cigar in hand.
The Negroni represents simplicity; the classic Negroni is a trinity of equal pours of Campari, red vermouth, and gin. The latter two libations allow for the choice of various types, however there is no Negroni without Campari. For the amateur bartender there are no tricky measurements to remember, no obscure components required, and there is no cutting, separating or juicing of ingredients except for an orange peel garnish. The drink’s simplicity is what brings me back to it regularly. Like a master blender choosing a lower or higher leaf priming to develop a cigar blend, Negroni enthusiasts can experiment with different gins and red vermouths to create their preferred taste profile.
The Negroni covers a wide spectrum of gustatory nuances: sweetness with an oily mouthfeel, bitterness and a touch of freshness. Serving negroni neat so that the aromatic depth can reveal itself layer upon layer and gradually over time; an overly icy beverage can numb the senses and take away from the cigar perception.
Pairing a Negroni with a cigar is not an easy one size fits all approach. Certain cigars will be beautifully enhanced by the Negroni, others overpowered. The biggest plus points of the Negroni are its sugar and the alcohol, both working as flavour enhancing elements.
Successful cigar pairings are based on how the cocktail is prepared. More stirring means more dilution and a lighter drink, which would fit a lighter cigar. Furthermore, serving the Negroni at a lower temperature would also be a more pleasurable experience with a lighter cigar. The choice of red vermouth also affects a Negroni’s depth and body, while a gin’s botanical composition comes into play when pairing with cigars.
Expanding on the recent beverage and cigar pairing concepts of cigar makers. Cigars play into the Negroni’s strong body through the combination of bitter sweetness and the gin’s botanicals. Light cocktails aren’t going to add anything to a cigar experience, however the Negronis body will definitely do so.
Negroni has a refreshing taste, the hint of orange, the bitterness, and strong taste – the alcohol level is quite high, with three different liquors mixed together. I wouldn’t say it cleanses the palate perfectly, but it works well. If you like the taste of negroni, any cigar will be a great addition to it.
If we have to recommend a cigar, it would be probably a medium to full bodied cigar like a Partagas or a Trinidad also something fanciful like a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No.2 or a Cohiba Robusto or Montecristo Petit Edmundo.