Siglo overlooking Spring Street is one of those places in Melbourne that has a really special ambiance about it.
Known as the cigar bar perched on top of The European, the view overlooking Parliament is a sight to behold. Whether you are sunning yourself on the rooftop with a champagne during summer, or huddled around a gas heater sipping on something stronger in winter, you can be sure to find a fascinating mix of people there enjoying a classy drink and often an accompanying cigar.
As a non-smoker, the idea of a cigarette has always been quite abhorrent to me, yet there is something whimsical about seeing a group of men in suits, quaffing a whiskey and puffing on a single cigar. Despite the obvious health risks, it has a nostalgic feel to it and is strangely fascinating.
Much like pairing food and wine, there is quite an art to pairing the perfect cigar and tipple.
Richard Carleton Hacker, the author of The Ultimate Cigar Book says that classic pairings with cigars include the likes of cognac, single malt whisky, bourbon, rum, rye, and port.
He believes that with the exception of tequila, most white spirits (such as vodka and gin) do not work as well because the cigar tends to overpower the drink.
“Some red wines and certain beers can also make a great match with cigars,” writes Hacker.
“The main criteria is not to let the drink dominate the cigar, or vice versa.
“I like to tell people who are pairing drinks with cigars to simply match the body of the beverage to the body of the cigar. For example, a light-bodied cigar will go well with some white wines, young reds or blended scotches. Medium-bodied smokes are great with Speyside and some Lowland whiskies, most Irish whiskeys, rums, bourbons, ryes and ports. Full-bodied smokes are a perfect match with peaty Islay and heavier Highland single malts.
“In the end, your taste is the final judge as to what will work and what won’t when it comes to pairing cigars and spirits. Have fun testing out different smoke and drink combinations* and develop your own perfect pairings.”
But if smoking isn’t your thing, it is worth a trip to Siglo to simply soak in the quintessential Melbourne view. Plus, sometimes it is nice to take a trip down memory lane and feel a little bit fancy.
*While Hacker may urge people to try and try again, Trading Plates does not endorse smoking of any kind.