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Cigar Etiquette

The custom of the celebratory cigar is deeply rooted in the culture of our times, be it for the birth of a child, a winning season, or "the big day." Presenting a cigar one-on-one is quite simple and straightforward – an offer, a thank you, a handshake. At a social gathering, such as a wedding or dinner party, it is a little more complex. Start by putting the cigar in its proper context. It is part of the dining experience and should be treated as such. If you wish to serve cigars as an amenity to a cocktail hour, the box should not just be placed on the bar, generating a "grab bag" atmosphere. You wouldn't leave a bottle of champagne open for self-service, so why do it with a cigar (which in many cases costs more than a glass of the bubbly)? Place the box behind the bar, open and visible, and instruct the server to offer the box when asked, allowing the smoker to choose their own cigar from the box.
It is also desirable to have the server equipped with a cigar cutter and matches or a butane lighter. We discourage using candles or fluid-filled lighting devices, as these will contaminate the taste of the cigar.
When serving an after-dinner cigar, it is important to make sure that all of your diners have finished their main course and that the tables are cleared. The cigar is best served with dessert or with coffee and an after-dinner cordial.
The cigars can be waiter-served, but often because of their celebratory nature, they are served by family or members of the wedding party, allowing for the camaraderie and good fellowship that a cigar invokes. While it is acceptable to place the cigars on a silver tray in a loose fashion, it is, if they are good cigars and attractively packaged, prestigious to offer them from the original box. Once again using the champagne simile, you wouldn't serve fine champagne from a pitcher.

While a good cigar has a pleasant and appealing aroma, there are those who may find the smoke annoying. As a matter of courtesy, you should, if at all possible, provide a smoking room around the bar, thereby allowing for freedom of choice and accommodation.

Finally, do not let unlit cigars linger in ashtrays for any length of time. As they cool and solidify, their aroma changes significantly, and not for the better. Also, it is a good idea to instruct the service staff to change the ashtrays frequently.

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    -Last updated on July 28th, 2015