Toasting What’s Next

by Jenny Benzie, Advanced Sommelier of Épernay

Summer is right around the corner, and with it comes a multitude of rites of passages to celebrate. Whether it’s a surprised engagement at Brant Point Lighthouse or acknowledging the accomplishments of a life-long career, you can be sure to add to the celebration with a toast to what lies ahead in your future. Such occasions call for a celebratory cigar and a matching libation. Advanced Sommelier Jenny Benzie offers insight into this perfect pairing for some of life’s momentous events.

SCHOOL’S OUT FOR SUMMER

Graduations aren’t just for kids anymore, and it doesn’t always mean with a four-year diploma. Many adults are returning to school to get new degrees, refresh their skills, or advance in their current positions. Being a student as an adult is typically harder work than when you were younger. You have more responsibilities to manage, along with most likely working full-time while attending classes, along with balancing family obligations as well.

Some may describe you as strong, solid, hard working. You should mark your accomplishment with a Brick House Double Connecticut Mighty Mighty cigar. This smooth, creamy cigar is made by the J.C. Newman Cigar Company, one of the oldest cigar companies still family owned and operating in Tampa. It has a Connecticut Shade wrapper and Connecticut Broadleaf filler that create a pleasant balance of spice, sweetness and strength, hence its moniker. In your other hand, enjoy a well-balance blended snifter of Nikka Japanese Whiskey “From the Barrel.” This artisanal spirit is a classic of its region, yet new to the American palate. The allspice and clove aromas are followed by wisps of smoke and sea salt on the palate. This is a perfect combination to enjoy while overlooking Nantucket’s waters.

WHEN TWO BECOME ONE…AND THREE

Epernay wines | Nantucket, MA

Nantucket is heralded by many as the ultimate wedding destination. Yet before the extravagant nuptials comes the well-thought out surprise proposal. Just like two families joining as one, the Rocky Patel “The Edge” A-10 Robusto cigar is unique in that it has two different wrappers binding together to create one truly amazing smoke. The Corojo and Maduro wrapped create a barber pole-style combination that adds great complexity to its flavor. This cigar was originally released as a limited edition. As all good things, the tradition continued and this is a celebration of the 10th year of this specific cigar.

While the wedding may be months away, one of the first things people may ask you after the big day is, “When are you going to start having children?” Enter Hudson Whiskey “Baby Bourbon.” This little guy is made from New York corn and is stored in first-use charred American oak barrels until this baby is ready to pop, explaining the dark color for such a young dram. It is produced by Tuthilltown Spirits, located in the Hudson Valley. Superb on its own with flavors of vanilla and caramel, this can also be used to make a tasty cocktail with Tempus Fugit Gran Classico bitters garnished with an orange peel. Great combination to cheers your engagement while enjoying Nantucket sunset on a Hinckley.

CELEBRATING COOPER

A family milestone that may not be documented quite as much as others, yet is still very important to the timeline of your life, is when you get your first dog. Who doesn’t love puppy kisses and dogs walks along the beach? After taking your dog Cooper for some exercise at Sanford Farm, kick back and relax with an Alec Bradley Maxx Culture cigar. This is a four-country blend of tobacco, perhaps a little bit like your rescue mutt, and delivers a toasty, earthy flavor that will remind you of your walk during the Nantucket Conservation property.

Pair this puppy with a sip of Sagamore Rye Whiskey. Not to be confused with the area around the Sagamore Bridge on the way to Nantucket, this spirit flows from a springhouse at Maryland’s Sagamore Farm. Here the spring water is naturally filtered and fed from a limestone aquifer. This same water is said to fuel champion thoroughbreds that are born and raised on the property. Here’s to hoping your dog comes in as Best of Show!

AFTER WORK

Retirement doesn’t mean that you are done. It is actually the stepping stone to what is next in your life. Spending time on Nantucket with the grandkids, boating to Tuckernuck for the day, or playing golf at Miacomet Golf Course with your spouse may be a few of the items on your post-retirement agenda. What better way to celebrate your hard work than with the Ashton Aged Maduro No. 10 cigar? This dark, sweet cigar has been aged to perfection, just like you.

Don’t let the dark wrapper fool you as this cigars offers a smooth flavor and captivating aroma. Raise a toast with Lagavulin 16 Year Single Malt Scotch from Islay, Scotland. This deep, peaty Scotch is not for amateurs and your experience of a lifetime deserves such a complex libation. Be sure to sit back and relax as you take in all this powerful pairing has to offer.

Commemorating milestones can be a large formal affair or a simple, kind gesture. These combinations make for a thoughtful gift either way that will express your congratulations as you toast to the next chapter in life!