Mat­ices ocul­tos

WHEN COCK­TAILS AND GOOD SMOKES COME TO­GETHER AT THE TA­BLE, THE HA­BANO WILL AL­WAYS BE THE START­ING POINT TO REACH THE PER­FECT BLEND

Excelencias from the Caribbean & the Americas - - CONTENTS - BY / BAR­TENDER AL­BERTO PIZARRO PHO­TOS / PAU ESCULIES

Every­body knows that cigars and pipes have ac­com­pa­nied the his­tory of the world's most fa­mous bars. The rings of thick smoke have made way for all kinds of peo­ple, ea­ger to com­bine their pre­cious cigars with some drinks. Some­body later coined the term “pair­ing” to de­scribe that union be­tween air and liq­uid, which some­times turns out to be per­fect.

I must con­fess I don't long for those times when I be­gan my bar­tender ca­reer, when smoke used to cover ev­ery sin­gle space of the places where I was work­ing. In coun­tries like Spain, au­thor­i­ties have es­tab­lished that peo­ple can­not smoke in such en­closed spa­ces as bars or restau­rants, thus im­prov­ing the per­son­nel's work­ing con­di­tions and, at the same time, mak­ing it nicer for non­smok­ing cus­tomers.

How­ever, count­less peo­ple de­scribe the pair­ing be­tween cock­tails and cigars as a de­light­ful el­e­ment for spe­cial oc­ca­sions or mo­ments of plea­sure.

Talk­ing about pair­ing is like talk­ing about mul­ti­ply­ing sen­sa­tions. This prac­tice helps us en­hance the organolep­tic per­cep­tion and en­joy both el­e­ments in the same breath. When it comes to pair­ing Ha­banos and cock­tails, we are not only sat­is­fied with the com­bi­na­tion of both com­po­nents' tast­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics, but we also try to bring hid­den nu­ances up to the sur­face.

Choos­ing the Ha­bano is usu­ally the first step and the drink is later pre­pared by us­ing skills and imag­i­na­tion. De­pend­ing on the cho­sen vi­tola, we will find spe­cific fea­tures and char­ac­ters that help us hand­pick the in­gre­di­ents for our cock­tail.

The char­ac­ter­is­tics of cof­fee, choco­late, wood, herb, flow­ers and the like will guide us through the aro­matic pro­file and taste into the per­fect liq­uid pair­ing, just like wines and dishes. It is eas­ier and more rec­om­mended to take into ac­count the Ha­bano's fea­tures and try to put sim­i­lar char­ac­ter­is­tics in the cock­tail. On the other hand, play­ing to find op­po­si­tions that com­ple­ment each other is riskier and more in­ter­est­ing.

Nev­er­the­less, the Ha­bano's char­ac­ter, strength or soft­ness are the true start­ing point: we can have both com­pet­ing in terms of in­ten­sity or the soft­ness of one of them helps the other el­e­ment stand out and dis­cretely make for a good com­pan­ion. It must be a re­spon­si­ble choice or we could face the risk of hav­ing an ex­ag­ger­ated dis­par­ity be­tween their char­ac­ters, which brings about a bad mo­ment and at­tempts against full en­joy­ment.

Pair­ing is like just mul­ti­ply­ing sen­sa­tions. Be­tween a cock­tail and a Ha­bano, it feels re­ally great to bring hid­den nu­ances up to the sur­face

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