Gin may not be the first drink that comes to mind when choosing a libation to complement a good Havana cigar. However, that may all be about to change with the arrival of two bottlings. The Oriental Cigar Gin and Sadō Gin have more than a passing interest in pairing with your favourite smoke.
The Oriental Cigar Gin has been produced by Nick Hammond in partnership with the luxury leather goods company, Leggets. It is available from Sautter’s, Robert Graham, Davidoff London and Leggets‘ website, with more shops being added to the list all the time.
Nick is an award winning journalist and author, who is known to many cigar smokers around the world through his regular contributions to Cigar Journal Magazine. He also has a book, and accompanying podcast, named ‘Around the World in 80 Cigars’ that have been keeping people informed and entertained throughout a tumultuous 2020.
He insists that the precise botanicals remain a closely guarded secret but does concede that the name is partly inspired by the origin of some spices used in the blend.
“I have some links with the East, not least because my mother was born in Darjeeling” he says. “One of the Directors of Leggets is of Indian heritage too, so it seemed somehow natural that the gin eventually began to lean in that direction. Raising the percentage alcohol by volume (it is bottled at 42.3%) lifts our gin into something utterly unique.
You have to taste it to appreciate it.”
Adam Lajca, Head Cigar Sommelier at The Corinthia Hotel and a Master of Havana Cigars, is the mastermind behind Sadō Gin.
Sadō literally translates as ‘Way of the tea’ and the inspiration for his gin is Hojicha roasted green tea, which originated in Kyoto, Japan over one hundred years ago.
After visiting Japan in 2019 and falling in love with the tea there, Adam says, “we found a small plantation in Okumikawa that produced a remarkable tea. Many of the tea trees on the farm are over 100 years old and they have made teas for the Emperor of Japan for almost 40 years.”
From fascination with the tea a recipe was developed using eight botanicals, juniper, Hojicha tea, orris root, coriander seeds, elderflower, sweet orange peel, lemongrass and pink peppercorn.
Sadō gin is distilled in small copper pot stills and bottled at 46% in England. Adam says:
“While creating the gin I want Sadō to be a perfect cigar pairing. Thanks to the slightly smoky, malty and sweet flavour notes tea help to bring aromas of the cigar in gentle way.
The Garden at Corinthia Hotel London created warm negroni with Sadō Gin and I must say it works great with full bodied cigars like Bolívar Belicosos or Partagás Lusitania.”
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