Thursday, April 15, 2010

And Now A Somewhat Un-Nerdly Topic...

Summer is baseball season, hot dog season, grass-cutting season… a lot of different things to different people. Where I live summer is all those things and also very very short. We don’t really even have a traditional spring, which would be NOW (as this is being typed) everywhere else.

Here the weather is warmer than it has been for months and months but still not literally ‘warm’… not to the point I want to spend a lot of time outside anyway. But warm-enough-to-be-outside temperatures will here soon. That means in addition to all the other things summer is, to me its cigar season.

I don’t smoke cigars in my domicile. In winter that means I have to go smoke ‘em in bars that allow it. A lot of bars here have gone smoke free, and only a few that do still allow smoking really allow cigars. This makes winter smoking do-able but a big enough pain in the ass to not be done much. The lion’s share of cigar smoking has to be outside. In winter that just isn’t desirable. Folks addicted to cigarettes DO smoke outside here, but they are a miserable lot huddled outside the doors to restaurants and workplaces, hunched over in their parkas, trying to keep the wind and snow off their smokes. And trying to suck down those smokes as fast as possible to get back inside where it’s warm.

Since cigar smoking for me is optional, summer (such as it is here) is a time of opportunity. I might get in an average of one cigar every three weeks in winter. In summer this goes up to about three a week. So I’ve gotten some money together with a couple of other dudes at my workplace and fired off an order to stuff my humidor and get me through most of the summer months. See the link for Famous Smokes in the sidebar if you want to visit my cigar vendor of choice. I bought a selection of different 5-paks. Its more expensive per stick than buying boxes, but because I’m pooling money and there’s a greater array of tastes to cater to this was the choice to make. I think I spread the purchases out amongst six cigar brands, and it is typical for Famous to throw in samples and freebies.

Now I have to figure out what I’m drinking with these babies when they arrive in a week. I am a fan of most of the traditional cigar drinks. But being a so-called luxury item, the booze typically paired with cigars is also pretty lux so it can be expensive… typically more expensive per use than the cigars themselves. Good cigars can actually be had for less money than a lot of luxuries. You CAN fork over ungodly amounts, but you don’t have to… particularly if you take advantage of good vendors and special offers. In this order the cigars are going to run about four or five bucks apiece. All good brands in big sizes that would typically run seven to eleven dollars each in stores. Each smoke will be good for sixty to ninety minutes. That’s cheaper than going to a movie. Is going to the movies considered a luxury?

The booze I typically pair with cigars is the stereotype: port, cognac, and whiskey or whiskey-based drinks. There’s a reason these are considered cigar booze… duh, they really go good with cigars. But the better marks of all these things can get pretty pricey. And I don’t have the ducats available to buy all sorts of booze to pair with all different cigars. It’s like food. You’re supposed to match a strong cigar with a heavy drink, lighter cigars with milder booze. I can’t do that too much. I tend to smoke mostly fuller cigars, so I have to go with one premium ‘hard’ booze at a time… and maybe use a cheaper drink, like a microbrewery hefweizen for lighter cigars. Because I’ll blow through the alcohol much faster than the cigars (typically I get two drinks in for every cigar), over the course of the season I will have eventually enjoyed the cigars with most of the booze that goes well with ‘em.

Such is the price paid for having kids and a video game habit. Do yourself and everyone you know a favor and find an excuse to get outside this summer. Away from the games. I’m gonna break out my bike this weekend, and work regular rides back into my routine, too.

Not that my enjoyment of booze and cigars is particularly healthy, but it beats nothing but TV-based entertainment and it doesn’t pack the weight on quite as bad as food! Huh. Actually I see barbecuing in my future too.

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