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Top 5 Cigars & Cocktail Pairings for Mardi Gras

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Folks around the country cut loose and party during Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, every year in late February or early March. In 1875, Louisiana Governor Henry C. Warmoth signed the Mardi Gras Act making the occasion a legal holiday, intended for Catholics to get their fix of vices in ahead of fasting for Lent. The revelry has grown into an elaborate spectacle of costumed parade-goers, music, drinking, eating, and overindulging of all kinds. Whether you make the pilgrimage to the Big Easy or you’re celebrating locally, no Mardi Gras is complete without good cigars. To get you prepared, we’ve put together five mouthwatering smokes you can pair with classic Mardi Gras cocktails.

1. Sazerac & Ashton Aged Maduro

The Sazerac is similar to an Old Fashioned, and it’s assumed the first Sazeracs were made with French brandy and Peychaud’s bitters, which, fittingly, were created by New Orleans resident and Creole apothecary Antoine Peychaud. The Sazerac is an original New Orleans cocktail believed to have originated sometime between the 1830s and late 1800s. Although the French brandy was eventually replaced with American rye whiskey, we’re including both in the incarnation below to create a blend of soft and brazen flavor. Pair this polarizing but smooth drink with Ashton Aged Maduro. Savory notes of maple, molasses, almond, dark chocolate, and black pepper bless the palate throughout a sweet and approachable finish from one of the finest Dominican Maduros ever blended.

Sazerac – Ingredients

  • Absinthe (to rinse)
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 1/2 teaspoon cold water
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 1/4 ounces cognac
  • Garnish: lemon peel

Glass: Rocks glass

Preparation: Rinse a chilled rocks glass with absinthe, discard excess, and set aside. In a mixing glass, muddle the sugar cube, water, Peychaud’s bitters, and Angostura bitters. Add the rye and cognac, fill the mixing glass with ice, and stir until chilled. Strain into the prepared glass. Twist the lemon peel over the drink to glean the peel’s oils into the drink, then garnish the glass with the peel.

Strength: Mild-Medium
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Shop Ashton Aged Maduro Cigars

2. French 75 & San Cristobal Elegancia

Named for a 75-millimeter field gun used by the French in World War One, the French 75 is bright and bubbly. Consider it a boozy version of a Mimosa you can sip after breakfast or dinner. The refreshing profile is an excellent companion for the around-the-clock partying Mardi Gras inspires. San Cristobal Elegancia is an ideal cigar to smoke because it’s accessible, smooth, and won’t overpower your palate with too much nicotine. Notes of white pepper, cashew, almond, and coffee bean mingle before a creamy finish. An Ecuador Connecticut wrapper conceals a nutty blend of Nicaraguan long-fillers.

French 75 – Ingredients

  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce of simple syrup
  • 3 ounces Champagne (or sparkling wine)
  • Garnish: lemon twist

Glass: Champagne flute

Preparation: Combine the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a shaker with ice, and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a Champagne flute. Top with Champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Strength: Mild-Medium
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut

Shop San Cristobal Elegancia Cigars

3. Vieux Carré & La Aroma de Cuba Pasión

Formerly called the Swan Room, the Carousel Bar inside the Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter is where the Vieux Carré, French for “old square,” was born. This New Orleans classic delivers bitter, sweet, and strong flavor via French liqueur, Italian vermouth, and Southern rye. The heady and aromatic character of a Vieux Carré goes great with La Aroma de Cuba Pasión, an all-Nicaraguan premium finished in a rare Shade Grown wrapper leaf. Notes of molasses and pepper punctuate a luscious profile of smoked almond, cashew, leather, and cedar.

Vieux Carré – Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce George Dickel rye whiskey
  • 3/4 ounce cognac
  • 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2 teaspoons Benedictine liqueur
  • 4 dashes Dale DeGroff’s pimento aromatic bitters
  • Garnish: maraschino cherry or lemon twist

Glass: Rocks glass

Preparation: Combine rye whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, and bitters into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a cherry, lemon twist, or both.

Strength: Medium-Full
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan

La Aroma de Cuba Pasión Cigars

4 - Hurricane & Arturo Fuente Hemingway

This iconic New Orleans cocktail has been loaded with rum since it debuted in the city’s famous Pat O’Brien’s bar in the 1940s. As a matter of fact, a surplus of rum, which was easier to come by than whiskey, led to the Hurricane’s inception. And Pat O’Brien’s sells over half a million Hurricanes a year today thanks to its pronounced blend of boozy, sweet, and fruity flavors. Arturo Fuente Hemingway makes an expert pairing with its intricate profile of cedar, nuts, baking spices, and brown sugar. A gingerbread-hued Cameroon wrapper embraces vintage Dominican long-fillers in several meticulously handcrafted Perfectos.

Hurricane – Ingredients

  • 2 ounces light rum
  • 2 ounces dark rum
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 ounce passion fruit puree
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine
  • Garnish: orange half-wheel
  • Garnish: preserved cherry

Glass: Hurricane glass

Preparation: Mix light and dark rums, lime and orange juices, passion fruit puree, simple syrup, and grenadine in a shaker with ice. Shake until well-chilled. Strain into a large Hurricane glass over fresh ice. Garnish with an orange half-wheel and cherry.

Strength: Medium
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Cameroon

Shop Arturo Fuente Hemingway Cigars

5. Brandy Crusta & Padrón 1964 Anniversary

The Brandy Crusta is an ancestor of the Sidecar and one of the oldest cocktails committed to paper. It was invented in New Orleans by Italian bartender Joseph Santini in the 1850s. Today it’s imagined slightly less tart with brandy, dry curaçao, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice, and Angostura bitters with a sugar rim and a lemon twist garnish. A lot is going on in this old-world cocktail with its resonant sweetness and fruity intonations. The 97-rated Padrón 1964 Anniversary holds its own without interrupting the taste of a Brandy Crusta. An acclaimed profile of cocoa, cedar, cayenne pepper, and leather mingles with hints of nuts and baking spices from beginning to end.

Brandy Crusta – Ingredients

  • 2 ounces brandy
  • 1/4 ounce orange curaçao
  • 1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur
  • 1 / 2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 / 2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Garnish: lemon twist
  • Garnish: sugar rim

Glass: Coupe glass

Preparation: Rim a coupe glass with sugar and set aside. Mix brandy, orange curaçao, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters in a shaker with ice. Shake until well-chilled. Strain into coupe glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

Strength: Medium-Full
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan

Shop Padron 1964 Anniversary Cigars

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