Going Full Hipster
I am always looking for new and interesting things to pair with cigars. So, I thought I would give kombucha a try. I have been seeing various kombacha beverages more and more around Instagram and I have a couple of friends that love it, so I thought I would give it a go this week.
So what is kombucha? According to the Google, it is tea. It goes through a fermentation process when white sugar and bacteria is added called SCOBY (symbiotic culture of acetic acid (vinegar) bacteria and yeast). Other flavourings are also added to produce fruity, sour carbonated beverages. There is also some linkages to drinking kombucha and positive stomach health in that the probiotics produced and ingested from kombacha lower instances of inflammatory bowel disease. #science
Going Full Nepotism
My cousin Alex and his wife Jenna are co-owners/operators of Pyramid Ferments out of Picton Ontario. They produce kombucha and many other fermented products. If you ever happen along them, try the Gut Shot product, great for a wakeup, hangover or in a Caesar.
So while I was going my rounds on Saturday morning, I picked up a couple from the local Kombucha maker, Cove Kombucha. I picked two different flavours because I wasn’t sure if this was going to even work as a pairing partner or that I would like it. I selected the Blueberry/Pomegranate and the Raspberry Lemonade. Once I got back to the car, I cracked open the Blueberry/Pomegranate one to try to see if this was even going to make it to a pairing.
Immediately the beverage started to fizz and a sweet and sour floral note came out of the bottle. I took a drink and was immediately surprised at the double punch of flavour on the front and the sour on the back end of the drink. It reminded me of a Blueberry IPA that I had last summer. Oh yeah, this will work. That refreshing taste you get with an IPA pairing would likely be the same with this, time to get back to the nook and try the second one with a cigar.
Going Full Maduro
While I did get rained out on Saturday, Sunday was a beauty. Still a little winter crisp in the air, but otherwise sunny. I looked through my humidor and landed on the Maduro All My Ex’s by Ezra Zion. I think this one has been in there for over a year, so the cello was starting to yellow up a little. I hadn’t had one for a while, but I remember it to be a full-bodied cigar. I wouldn’t say strong, but definitely hits on some solid flavours of pepper, dark rich coffee and dark cocoa powder.
Brand: Ezra Zion Cigars
Cigar: Ezra Zion All My Ex’s Maduro
Beverage: Cove Kombucha
Pairing: All My Ex’s Maduro and Raspberry Lemonade Kombacha
For me, a cigar that lands at the top end of the scale for flavour really needs a dance partner that can add the lightness that the cigar may not have. So if I was pairing an alcohol with this I would recommend a mojito for a cocktail, either a young scotch like a Glenlivet Founders Reserve, or something similar with an IPA or Double IPA.
I am on to the Raspberry Lemonade kombucha for the pairing partner, this one is a little sweeter then the Blueberry one from yesterday, but has a great sour citrus taste on the end. Some quick snaps for the article and we are on the way.
Going Full Smoke
The first thing I am noticing is that the flavours are not working that well together. I immediately regret drinking the blueberry first, that one would have been a much better choice. So I focus more on the cigar. My only issue with the cigar is an uneven burn line. Not that big of a deal when the flavours are this great. The coffee and dry dark chocolate notes are just outstanding. There is a great thick smoke produced with each puff also that just makes everything smell better.
As I make my way through the first third, the pairing is starting to work a little better. The sweetness has subsided and that great sour flavour is really elevating the smoke from the cigar. The cigar is hitting more of a chili pepper and cedar vibe now, and the kombacha is along for the ride.
Going Full Responsible Adult
As much as I want to make fun of the hipsters, this drink is actually a decent pairing partner if you are looking for something non-alcoholic. I am about 50/50 on when I pair with alcohol or when I don’t. There is a lot of dad-taxing during my week, so it is seldom that I hit a window where I am not needed behind the wheel.
Into the second third, and we are hitting the best part of this pairing. I am still having burn line issues, which is a little annoying. I am getting some nice spice flavouring now, and some ripe berry that are going great with the raspberry from the kombucha.
Going Full Mediocre Old Hipster
Last third and starting to finish up both the cigar and the beverage. There is some lingering cedar and leather notes that seem to hold on until the point I nub the cigar. While this pairing didn’t start out great, it certainly ended on a positive note. I will definitely be trying a cigar and kombucha pairing again, I will most likely try the other flavours first before, so I can make sure I am matching up accordingly, but overall found the beverage very refreshing. All My Ex’s was a great cigar to try this pairing with. My only issue was the consistent, or rather inconsistent burn line. It wouldn’t stop me from smoking or purchasing it again.
For non-alcoholic pairings you could do a lot worse, and as much as I enjoy pairing with coffee and various soda’s the sugar count stack up quick. Kombucha is a good middle ground, you get the fizz, subtle flavours, some sweetness, and some tart and sour notes as well. As I slowly turn into a 40s+ hipster, I will hold strong and not purchase a plaid flannel shirt or attempt skinny jeans, promise!
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