After-meal and el Habano


26/02/2015

After-meal as a concept falls under a number of services that are delivered after the dessert and the drinks that come tagged to it are served. However, it’s been a social act that has developed with the engagement of several actors willing to achieve, maintain or diversify the pleasure of eating and drinking. A good case in point is the habano, an element complemented by the consumption of some kinds of spirits or infusions.

Given their peculiar features and signifi cance in the restaurant business, after-meals deserve to go stronger in a steady fashion in a bid to lure far more revenues and provide quality service. It’s critical for the catering staff to have proper training, comprehension and mastery when it comes to professionally execute diff erent combinations that only the after-meal can bring.

Habanos’ aromatic-tasting richness –they range from pleasant to bitter and consistent- deserve the charms of a good cup of coff ee or a sip of rum, and combinations with such close relatives as cognac, Armagnac, brandy, whiskies or great wines like Oporto, as well as sherry or champagne. But also –and why not- when paired with great matchers such as cocktails, liquors and other products, like chocolate.

WITH COCKTAILS

The after-meal service is always linked to big-time habanos, yet no one can imagine that the same pleasure provided by a Churchill or a Doble Corona is also delivered by a Minuto, a Perla or a Petit Robusto.

Short-size cigars have left a mark of their own in these times riddled with antismoking campaigns, fewer smokers’ rooms and increasing limited time to puff on them. A bar and its assortment of cocktails stand tall as a bulwark in this trend.

In recent years, Habanos S.A. has developed quite an array of small-size cigars with suggestive ring gauges. The list of those short habanos with ring gauges between 50 and 52 includes the Divinos de Cuaba, a double torpedo that packs a singular wallop; the Secreto (ring gauge 40) and the Minuto de San Cristóbal (ring gauge 42).

These cigars take big cocktails, some aromatic and others intense, but all of them teeming with charms. Some good mixtures worth mentioning are the Manhattan Dry (blended scotch whisky, dry vermouth), Havana Libre (7-year-old aged rum, grenadine, lemon, 8 oz. glass), Old Fashioned (bourbon whisky, angostura, sugar and orange peel in an Old Fashion glass), Black Russian (vodka, Tia Maria, Old Fashion glass) or Rusty Nail (blended scotch whisky, Drambuie, lemon peel, in an Old Fashion glass).

They match perfectly with a Petit Edmundo de Montecristo, a Series D No. 5 de Partagas, a Petit Robusto de Hoyo de Monterrey, or the tasty Petit Churchill de Romeo y Julieta.

WITH LIQUORS

Liquors are penciled in as the younger brothers of distilled drinks, the most noticeable and traditional members of any bar. Therefore, they can’t escape from the list of suggestions during the after-meal service.

Grand Marnier, Drambuie, Tia Maria, Kahlua, Southern Comfort, Benedictine, Green Chartreuse, Amaretto, Frangelico, and others are good cases in point.

When it comes to pairing habanos with these drinks, the Half Coronas de H. Upmann, Julieta de Romeo y Julieta, Reyes de Trinidad, Junior de Montecristo Open or the Small Club de Ramon Allones are great matching companions. Even though they are not the most remarkable ones, they do express tastes and similarities nobody can do without. These occasional habanos are enthralling, whether they are smoked sitting on a barstool before the meal or at the end of it.

These combinations are always welcomed by female consumers since delicate-tasting and refi ned liquors spill over time and limitations.

WITH COFFEE AND CHOCOLATE

Coffee and chocolate have cut a secret deal, a kind of talk that complements their olfactory and tasting values. They are genuine conquerors of the heights of pleasure when wrapping up the after-meal service. It’s stunning to see –and feel- the combination of both, especially an espresso and sour chocolate.

And in this trendsetting atmosphere, it’s impossible to ignore the existence of the habano sommelier, a key fi gure to a successful after-meal service. It takes plenty of theoretical training, culture, education, knowledge on gastronomic anthropology, marketing techniques and practice among those who take on this important and elegant responsibility.

This is no doubt an unwavering premise to bear in mind among those who are tasked with this part of the gastronomic service, sometimes in a restaurant and others in a cigar bar, but always hitting the right chord in achieving tasting sensations.