While the end of summer is coming upon us making way for autumn we probably are not too worried yet about those frigid winter temperatures and the serious thorn they present to enjoying our beloved premium cigars – but depending on where in the world you live, those cold temperatures may not hold out ‘til December, and while the temps might be hanging around in the 70’s now, in just a few short weeks they will become fewer and fewer in number. So, what do we do when sitting out to have a smoke becomes more of an unpleasant thought than a relaxing experience? Well, today we’re going to tackle that topic and give some pointers, advice and recommendations that will see you through the autumn and winter.
Choosing a Good Location
Obviously smoking out in the open, while rain, snow or cold wind is blowing around is not a great option for trying to enjoy a cigar – so those days of sitting around the patio table or laying in the hammock and enjoying a premium hand made might be better left to spring time when the sun comes out again. For cold weather smoking try to find a place that provides some sort of shelter from the elements while still meeting the criteria of the rest of the inhabitants of your house as not smoking inside! If you have a garage, crack open the garage door and grab your favorite chair, you’re protected from the wind and elements while still not in the house and your venting your cigar smoke out the garage door. No garage? What about a tool shed or work shed? If you have any sort of small outbuilding that you can fit a chair and small table in comfortably then you’re on your way to your own personal smoking lounge for Winter – sure the walls aren’t insulated and its colder than in the house, but you’ve got a roof over your head and four walls to block the elements! If you’re lucky enough to have electric service in your shed then pull out a small space heater to sit next to, or grab a portable gas heater to heat your space!
If you’re not fortunate enough to have a garage, shed or other outbuilding to run to for smoking time, then you’re going to have to get either really creative, or really selective about when you smoke. If you have a covered deck or porch area then you have the benefit of having protection from rain or snow, but if its a particularly windy day you might have to wait for the weather to cooperate as there’s nothing worse than getting smacked in the face with zero degree wind, rain or snow while trying to keep a cigar lit to boot. If you really want to get creative, grab your tent and set it up – your tent is waterproof so you won’t get wet, you get protection from the wind and falling precipitation and you enough room for a camp chair, small table and even a small heater – with the vents in the top of the tent your smoke will filter out, and if you have a large tent you can invite your buddies over and have nice cold weather cigar lounge right in your back yard!
Choosing a Good Drink
Cold weather smoking can make you want to change up your usual drink pairing – many of us enjoy a good cold beer, cocktail or straight up libation during the warmer times of the year to pair with our premium smokes, but in the cold weather months you might want to think about switching your drink of choice to something a little warmer, like coffee, hot chocolate or tea. These hot drinks can help to act as a hand warmer, keep your face warm and warm your insides while enjoying your cigar. Of course, a good whisky can do wonders to warm your insides, but does little in keeping the ice crystals from forming in your nostrils or your finger tips going numb, but fear not, if you want to enjoy an alcoholic libation with your cigar why not try a hot cocktail? Here’s a list of 10 hot cocktails that are perfect for cold weather;
- The Hot Toddy – the famous cocktail of whiskey, lemon, sugar and hot water.
- Dead Rabbit Irish Coffee – a spin on classic Irish coffee
- Autumn Wassail – featuring apple cider, pomegranate, cognac and a bit of rum!
- Hornitos Hot Shotty – a boozy take on Mexican hot chocolate.
- Hot Gin Punch – a combination of gin, wine, fruits and spices to keep all your friends warm and happy!
- Hot Buttered Rum – another classic hot drink.
- Grand Coffee – with some hot coffee and a little Grande Marnier you can make a piping hot cup of coffee bliss.
- Glogg – red wine, port and vodka combine with spices, sugar, raisins, oranges and figs to create this classic Nordic winter beverage.
- Mulled Wine – red wine mixed with bourbon or brandy and some spices make a perfect cold weather cocktail.
- Heated Affair – tequila mixes with apple cider and rich cream and spices to create this complex cold weather drink.
Change Up Your Cigar Size
The first thing to figure into cold weather smoking is the size of the cigar you choose – obviously choosing a hunkin’ lug of a cigar isn’t the smartest choice when the temps outside are close to freezing or lower – I mean, if you’re a champion ice diver or something then more power to you, but sitting out in the freezing cold for an hour and a half or more doesn’t exactly float my boat! So, you’re going to want to pick smaller cigars, and considering a small cigar has an average smoking time of 20 to 45 minutes, this opens up the possibility to still enjoy a smoke and not get frostbite in the process.
Now when talking about small cigars I’m not suggesting you run down to the gas station and start stocking up on cheroots and wood tips for the winter. Many manufacturers make smaller versions of the premium cigars you already enjoy, so you don’t have to compromise taste and quality just to fit in cold weather smoking! What manufacturers you ask? Well, here is a sample list of 25 suggestions for ya;
- 70-20-4 Dogwalker – 4 ¼” by 40 ring gauge, this highly rated smoke features long-leaf tobaccos from Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, Columbia and Costa Rica under a Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper providing a quick, creamy and flavorful smoke.
- Alec Bradley Black Market Punk – coming in at 4 ¼” and a 42 ring gauge these little cigars feature a Nicaraguan Jalap wrapper, a Sumatran binder and a mix of Honduran and Panamanian fillers.
- The Ashton Classic Esquire Maduro – at only 4 ¼” by 32 ring gauge this little cigar features Dominican filler with a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper and provides a medium bodied smoke with pleasant notes of cedar, cream, cocoa and almond.
- The Avo Domaine Puritos – at only 4” by 30 ring gauge these excellent little cigars feature a dark Ecuadorian wrapper with notes of roasted coffee beans, nutmeg and spice all in a full-flavored little package.
- Camacho Criollo Machitos – coming in at 4″ by 323 ring gauge, these little cigars provide a real Camacho experience in a small package. Available in the Corojo, Criollo and Connecticut wrappers these are time saving smokes perfect for cold weather!
- CAO Brazilia Cariocas – coming in at 4″ by 38 ring gauge, these little smokes offer a smooth, robust smoking experience from start to finish. Also available in other CAO blends, these little smokes will serve you well.
- Davidoff Nicaragua Primeros – at only 4 1/8″ by 34 ring gauge these super premium little cigars let you enjoy luxury smoking while crunched on time. Hand rolled using the same tobacco as the larger sticks, these smokes will keep you enjoying the good life even in the cold!
- Don Diego Preludes – these 4″ by 30 ring gauge cigars provide a mild and super smooth cigar with a classic taste and excellent construction.
- Griffin’s Puritos – another 4″ by 30 ring gauge, these little smokes handmade in the Dominican Republic and are a straight burning smoke with notes of pepper, cream and toast on the palate.
- The H. Upmann Demi Tasse – a little longer than our other suggestions, this smoke comes in at 5 1/4″ by 33 ring gauge, and are a medium-full smoke with an earthy richness and sweet spice.
- The Java Petit Corona – at 4 1/2″ by 38 ring gauge these little gems let you indulge your coffee infused cigar desires even in the cold – with flavors of coffee, chocolate and vanilla, these creamy and smooth smokes are a sure hit sitting by the patio heater!
- Kentucky Fire Cured Ponies – these 4″ by 32 ring gauge smokes have the benefit of being small and fire cured, giving you that roasted hickory, oak and maple aroma which is so nice in the cold, while providing a full flavored smoking experience at the same time.
- La Aurora Finos – a 4″ by 30 ring gauge smoke from the oldest manufacturer in the Dominican Republic, featuring a Cameroon wrapper these little cigars provide a flavorful and mellow experience.
- La Gloria Cubana Petites – a 4 3/8″ by 32 ring gauge cigar with the same bold flavor and character you love from the full size LGC’s with a medium body, all in a small form factor for quick enjoyment.
- Liga Privada No 9 Coronets – at 4″ by 32 ring gauge these full bodied smokes feature Connecticut broadleaf wrapper maduro wrapper, Brazilian binder and a mix of Dominican and Honduran fillers providing a sweet, earthy and meaty smoke.
- Macanudo Court Cafe – available in 4 1/4″ by 36 ring gauge these little smokes provide a smooth and mellow smoking experience with a mild to medium body and unrivaled consistency.
- Nat Sherman Point Fives – coming in at 4″ by 34 ring gauge these smokes are big on flavor and available in multiple wrappers. Mild bodied and sure to satisfy when a quick smoke is needed.
- Padron Corticos Maduro – at 4 1/4″ by 35 ring gauge this little cigar features notes of earth, pepper, cocoa, coffee and a bit of sweetness which is sure to please. Medium to full in body, these premium flavorful smokes are a go to when you want something really good and relatively fast!
- Partagas Purito – at 4 1/8″ by 32 ring gauge these medium to full bodied smokes provide a rich but never harsh smoking experience full of flavor and character.
- Punch Bolos – 4 1/4″ by 36 ring gauge and a personal favorite of mine, these little cigars provide a full bodied smoking experience with rich flavor and character in a well crafted small package. A must have for every Punch lover.
- Rocky Patel Juniors – 4″ by 38 ring gauge, and available in multiple Rocky Patel blends, these little smokes provide a hand made premium smoking experience which equals their larger cousins.
- Romeo y Julieta Romeos – these 4″ by 30 ring gauge cigars might be small but they provide that classic smooth and mellow taste that RyJ is famous for – flavors of cedar, coffee, buts and spice blend with creamy smoke and a smooth burn to provide a medium bodied experience.
- Tabak Especial Dulce – available in 4″ by 32 ring gauge these mild to medium bodied smokes are another top notch coffee infused cigar with creamy, sweet and mellow flavors. Available in the Negra blend as well.
- Winston Churchill Petit Panetela – at 4″ by 38 ring gauge this high end medium to full bodied little cigar provides a flavorful experience with notes of pepper, coffee, wood, spice and cream within a short time.
- Zino Platinum Scepter XS – at 4″ by 30 ring gauge these little cigars feature four year aged Dominican and Peruvian fillers with a Connecticut binder and Ecuadorian shade wrapper.
Our friends at Best Cigar Prices have an extensive collection of smaller ring gauge cigars available in convenient tins and small packages which are perfect for smoking on the go or cold weather smoking. Check them out for hundreds of options in small cigars!
Whichever cigar you choose, just remember that it is possible to keep on enjoying your premium cigars throughout the cold weather months, by making some slight changes to your location, drink of choice and the size of your cigar. How do you smoke in the winter? Let us know your favorite cold weather smokes and drinks in the comments below!