Photo by Danna Bordalí Arias
Philip with DaiquiriJuly 2013 Tobacco & Rum Pairing by Philip Ili Barake. The Pairing: “Short Story” cigar, from the Arturo Fuente Hemingway line and Mr. Luis Felipe Cruz, Bar Manager at the Hotel Noi in Santiago, Chile, created a Daiquiri.
A Good Story...
July is a very special month for me: I celebrate my first year sharing pairings with fellow rum and tobacco lovers through “Got Rum?”. It is also a month when we celebrate the birth and death of Ernest Hemingway, whose name is known by most and who was one of the most celebrated writers and journalists of the 20th century. Hemingway fought in several wars and, in the later years of his life, battled against depression, something that influenced his writings and novels, one of which won him the Pulitzer and Nobel Literature Prizes. But most of us will always remember him not for his literary achievements, but for his way of enjoying a seafaring life, ever surrounded by good cocktails.
This pairing is dedicated to his memory and special relationship with rum, particularly with the Daiquiri. I selected the small “Short Story” cigar, from the Arturo Fuente Hemingway line (of course), with a 49 ring gauge and a length of 4 inches (about 100 to 110 mm, depending on the finish of the mouth end). The filler leaves for this cigar all come from the Dominican Republic while the Maduro wrapper leaves come from Cameroon, giving the cigar a distinctive “dark horse” presentation, suggestive of full flavor.
Once the cigar was selected, I had to find the ideal location to conduct such an important pairing. The Hotel Noi (Santiago, Chile) was kind enough to host me on their terrace. Here, Mr. Luis Felipe Cruz (Bar Manager) created a Daiquiri for me, slightly modified to reduce the acidity a bit in order to compliment the cigar.
Luis Felipe started with a basic Daiquiri recipe, comprised of rum, lime juice and sugar, but substituted the sugar with a special syrup made especially for this occasion. The syrup was made with Havana Club 3 Year Old, ginger, honey and a touch of coffee and chocolate liqueur. This syrup was then combined with Havana Club 7 Year Old, in honor of the famous bar “El Floridita,” which was immortalized by Hemingway.
The Daiquiri had subtle citric notes (just as we planned), but the honey and ginger notes allowed for the cigar to showcase its flavors, which in turn highlighted the coffee and chocolate traces in the drink. Each sip and puff was elegantly crowned by a lingering touch of honey.
While smoking the cigar, I was able to appreciate its peppery notes (highlighted by the ginger in the Daiquiri) as they mixed perfectly with the sweetness of the drink. This interplay lasted smoothly for the entire 20 minutes it took to smoke the cigar, which showed its medium to full body and whose intensity increased as I approached the end of the “story”.
I know it is hard to believe that a cocktail can be paired with a cigar, and even though it was not a pairing that blew me away, due to the difficulty of playing with the acidity level, I can comfortably say that this was one of the best cocktail pairings I’ve ever done. The mission was completed to my satisfaction, the story came to a very pleasant end. I extend my gratitude to Luis Felipe and to Hotel Noi for allowing me to conduct this pairing in their fabulous setting. If Hemingway were alive and visited Santiago, he would undoubtedly enjoy a Daiquiri on the hotel ’s terrace!
Philip Ili Barake