Cleansing the palate before smoking a cigar
Actually, it's a subject I've never really given much thought to, but according to Bill, many cigar smokers use Coke or water, while his trusty palate cleanser is a glass of Bitter Lemon.
Based on the tangy sorbet that's often served between courses at formal dinners and fine restaurants, it seems to make sense. This concept is also related to one of my favorite drinks with a cigar: tonic water with a splash of Rose's Lime Juice. I like drinking it when sampling a new cigar because I believe it helps cleanse the palate between puffs. The only detriment to tonic & lime juice is that it's also a bit sweet, which may affect the flavors of the cigar. For the most accurate cigar sampling, purified water is probably the best way to go.
It's been said that what you ate prior to smoking a cigar can affect the way the flavors lay on the palate. IOW, the same cigar can taste entirely different every time you smoke it, depending on what you had to eat beforehand. This raises the issue of whether or not you should cleanse your palate before lighting-up your cigar. I can't see how it could hurt, but I'd be willing to bet my humidor that most cigar smokers don't.
One thing I would definitely avoid is brushing your teeth, mouthwash, or mints before lighting up. Those things always leave a lingering aftertaste on the palate, and we all know how crappy fruit juice tastes after you brush your teeth. The more I think about it, the more the Bitter Lemon seens to make sense. I'm going to pick up a bottle next time I'm at the market, and I'll report back.
So, to cleanse or not to cleanse? That is the question. If you do, let me know by leaving a comment. Conversely, if you don't, let me know why, too.
~ Gary Korb