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Cigar 101

Tips for Cleansing Your Palate Between Cigars

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

When you’re in the thick of a two, three, or four-cigar night, your palate needs a break. It’s tough to taste the intricate flavors of a great cigar if you’re smoking more than one back to back. Cleansing your palate between cigars, and even before smoking your first cigar of the day, paves the way for your taste buds to take in a cigar’s maximum potential flavor.

Consider your taste buds like lenses in a pair of glasses. If your glasses are coated with grease, you won’t see clearly. The same goes for your tongue. If you just ate an epicurean steak dinner or put away a pile of salty french fries, you will have to taste your cigar through the fatty residue left on your palate.

Most of us are tempted to simply reach for a piece of gum. Mouthwash, gum, and mints overpower your palate with the essence of menthol – a fresh sensation, but one that is interruptive. We’ve put together a list of the best ways to cleanse your palate for a premium cigar.

BEVERAGES

Water

Never underestimate the benefits a tall glass of H2O offers. Although plain old water does not conceal magical or exotic palate-cleaning secrets, its advantage is among the most critical: it hydrates your palate. Drinking water with your cigars is a no-brainer. Water is restorative and essential. Add a slice of lemon or lime for the best results.

Club Soda

Club soda, sparkling water, and tonic water are effective palate cleansers. Swishing a bubbly beverage around in your mouth invigorates your taste buds and clears away remnants of what you had to eat and can alleviate the aftertaste from a previous cigar. Adding a twist of lemon or lime to a club soda is even more beneficial.

Bitter Lemon

Like club soda, bitter lemon is a crisp carbonated palate refresher, but with added sharpness and citrus taste. Because lemon is a natural solvent of fats, bitter lemon is a particularly effective cleanser. It’s also used in cocktails, often with gin.

Coffee

Coffee beans are commonly used to clear your olfactory senses in perfume stores. Taking in a deep whiff of coffee beans resets your sense of smell. While coffee and cigars pair naturally, many consider coffee an effective palate cleanser between cigars. Espresso also works. Adding cream doesn’t hurt, either, because cream is an alkali and will neutralize your palate. With or without cream and whether or not you’re drinking coffee, your sense of smell is just as important as taste when it comes to cigars. Smell a handful of coffee beans between cigars.

Tea

Warm herbal tea aides in cleansing the palate. Tea gently brushes away excess sweet or salty residues. Because of its temperature and holistic character, tea is more effective than plain water at bathing your palate.

FOODS

Lemon Sorbet

Several flavors of sorbet make excellent palate cleansers, but lemon sorbet is the best. Its naturally tart and sweet profile cuts through any existing taste on your tongue. Lemon is an organic solvent and the cold, clean texture of sorbet causes the palate to pucker up automatically. Lime sorbet works wonders too.

Dark Chocolate

Not only does dark chocolate taste amazing while you’re smoking a cigar, it’s an effective palate cleanser. Like coffee beans, ingesting the scent of chocolate also clears the olfactory channel. A few bites of high-quality dark chocolate cut through the aftertaste of what you’ve already had to eat or smoke. Savor it slowly and stick with dark chocolate versus milk chocolate, which lingers for longer with more sweetness.

Pickled Ginger

Pickled ginger is a favorite palate cleanser among the Japanese in between bites of sushi. Its distinctive and acidic taste at first seems spicy, but it lingers in a tingling fashion and can stand up to the most potent flavors of food and cigars. It readily clears your palate and renews the taste buds for what’s next.

Nuts

Unsalted almonds, peanuts, and cashews can lend a hand in cleansing your palate. Nuts work best if you flush your palate with plenty of water as well. Their natural unimposing flavor and texture reboots your salivary glands when your mouth is watering for another cigar.

Water Crackers

The bland, dry, and basic taste of water crackers (like Carr’s) makes them ideal for cleansing your palate. They’re commonly used for absorbing the fatty flavor profiles of cheese and dishes with heavy sauces. When you’re pals come over to watch a big game in your man cave, toss a box of water crackers on the snack tray. They can absorb the aftertaste from a heavy or oily cigar.  

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