Whether for the holidays, a guys’ (or girls’) night or a simple celebration cigar dinner parties are very popular these days. Now, many enthusiasts will use any reason to gather with their fellow cigar lovers and spend an evening enjoying one another’s company. Sure somebody may throw a couple steaks on the grill or even order a pizza.
That’s OK for any old Friday night But if you want to host a cigar dinner party that’s one to remember you need to do it right. We’re here to coach you in the art of the cigar dinner party. It’s a ritual worthy of ceremony that deserves some thought and planning. Here’s what you need to know to host a memorable cigar dinner party.
Before we show you how to host what is sure to be a memorable good time for you and your friends, let us say some cigar aficionados aren’t really keen on the idea of food pairing with their favorite smoke. Obviously a dinner party does include food and, much like a fine wine, the flavor of your cigar is enhanced when paired with the right nosh-and your food is more palate-pleasing as well. Try a cigar pairing dinner party just once and you’re sure to be a fan.
Location is your first consideration as it will help dictate the theme of your cigar dinner party. Do you have a “man cave” (or “she shed”)? That will work! In lieu of a dedicated space like a man cave you can use a garage or porch or, if you have one, a lake house or hunting cabin. Provide adequate ventilation to prevent your space from becoming a little too smokey.
2. Guest List
Once your location is selected you’ll know how much space you have and you can work on the guest list. Three to five of your friends is a nice number. Certainly if you have a large space that can accommodate several of your friends smoking their favorite cigars at the same time, go for it. Just make sure it’s manageable. Keep the group minimal, especially if this is your first foray into a cigar dinner party.
Invite your guests by word of mouth, a formal invitation, an e-vite or text. Depending on how informal your gathering a simple text is often adequate.
3. Who Provides the Cigars
The central theme of your cigar dinner party is, well, the cigar. If you can afford to be a generous host you’ll provide the cigars yourself. You may also request your guests bring a few of their favorites to share. In any event you will want to make sure you have a broad array of options that suit the experienced smoker as well as those who are new to the craft of cigar smoking. Make sure you have mild, medium and full-bodied cigars in your humidor for every preference.
4. Libations and Appies
You will want to serve appetizers, especially if you’re serving cocktails. It’s never a good idea to smoke or drink on an empty stomach and your guests will find the appetizers actually enhance the flavor of their premium stogie.
Depending on how upscale and fancy you want to go, your appetizers can be anything from lightly salted almonds and cashews, known to enhance the flavor of a good cigar, to chilled meats and seafood, mild in taste, like a good prosciutto or cocktail shrimp. Stay away from overly salty foods like chips, certain cheeses and salty or flavored pretzels. The last thing you want to do is overpower your guests’ palate with highly salted, spicy or overly seasoned foods.
Likewise steer clear of sweet appetizers. The one exception to this rule is a good quality bittersweet dark chocolate. In fact dark chocolate is said to enhance the flavor of a quality cigar.
As far as the drink menu for your cigar dinner party you could offer a variety of beer or your favorite bourbon, scotch or whiskey. Invite your guests to bring along a bottle or six-pack to share. Don’t forget about non-alcoholic beverages as well. Cigars pair nicely with a crisp sparkling water, coffee and even a non-alcoholic beer.
Serving wine? As with food, different wines go with different cigars. A full-bodied cigar pairs well with a full-bodied red like Tempranillo. A light Dominican calls for an oaky Chardonnay. The palate pleasing German Riesling is lovely to sip with a full-flavored Cuban and when serving champagne light up your best Honduran. The flavors are enhanced and remarkably so.
For rich, full-bodied cigars call for meat. Lamb and steak served alongside creamy roasted potatoes are a must with rich and robust cigars.
Smoky grilled sausage, smoked ribs or brisket must be paired with bold cigars with heftier undertones of spice.
For guests who prefer the lighter cigar consider lighter fare. Chicken, whitefish or medallions of pork in a light white wine sauce with vibrant herbs pair ideally with medium-flavored cigars.
6. After Dinner
Ahhh, the after-dinner period. Now is the time to really impress and enjoy. It’s not necessary to serve up an impressive dessert like c cheesecake or brownies. All a good cigar needs after dinner is a nice glass of cognac or brandy, a quality piece of bittersweet chocolate and a densely flavored sweet cigar.
For guests who wish to move away from the alcohol libations offer a robust and rich coffee with a ‘dessert cigar’.
7. Cigar Bar Necessities
A great host is one who anticipates their guests every need. When setting up a formal cigar bar or just offering a few special cigars for your friends to enjoy you need to make sure you have the right accessories.
- Cigar Cutters: Obviously you don’t want your guests to resort to lopping off the cap of their cigar with a steak knife so make sure you have a variety of cigar cutters on hand. Have both guillotine and v-cut to accommodate the variety of cigars you’ll offer.
- Cigar Lighters: At a gathering that’s focused on the appreciation of a cigar you certainly don’t want anyone “flicking their bic”. Make sure you provide both pocket and desktop lighters for your guests to use.
- Ashtray: Of course you need to supply an ashtray or several or your guests to keep their cigars neat and in good smoking shape.
We’re Here to Help Make it Memorable
Northwoods Humidors has everything, cigar-wise, to help you host a memorable cigar dinner party. Count on us for the best values when it comes to humidors and accessories that impress your guests. And if you have any questions at all, we’re here to help you with everything. Well, everything but the after-party clean-up that is!