bachelorette and bachelor parties, a “cigar bar” at the wedding reception and cigars as gifts for your wedding guests. If you are going to have a cigar bar at your reception, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that many of your guests may have never smoked a cigar. When choosing your offerings, stick with something light and accessible, with a couple of options available for the more experienced smoker. Give guests guidance on what they are smoking and why you chose it. Rouses Markets has gone all in on its cigar offerings, and at its in-store humidors you’ll find a solid selection of smokes at all price points and flavor profiles. Currently, most Rouses Markets carry such stately and elegant brands as Montecristo, Cohiba, Punch, Partagas and Romeo y Julieta. There are a few essentials necessary for the cigar bar at your reception. First, don’t count on the caterers for this one; the wedding party will probably need to do the heavy lifting here. Make sure your reception venue will allow cigars, and if it does, make sure you know where smoking is allowed. You will need a cutting tool at the bar, whether it’s a cigar guillotine, punch or special scissors. (Don’t make your guests bite the ends off; you’ll spend a fortune having tobacco Photoshopped from everyone’s teeth.) And don’t forget the matches, lighters or some other method of making “man’s red flower.”Nice ashtrays are a must. But you don’t have to brainstorm on your own; Pinterest is packed with ideas on how to make your cigar bar appealing and inviting. When setting up the cigar bar, you should place it at some distance from the main party to keep the kids from going full-on Pinocchio-on-Pleasure-Island, and because some stiffs at the party might not want to smell like a Vegas casino in 1954. But! If you followed the champagne guide in this endeavor, your guests will be warm and friendly, hospitable to a little stogie adventure and unlikely to make too much noise. Consider placing the bourbon bar between the reception and the cigar area, and you can try pairing Central American leaves with North American whiskey. When choosing what to stock at the table, keep it simple. Petit coronas — shorter

Woodford Reserve If you’re looking for a good introduction to the world of bourbon, you could do worse than Woodford Reserve. To make a mint julep, add one teaspoon of sugar and a few fresh mint leaves to your glass, and press slightly on them to release the oils from the leaves. Add two ounces of bourbon. Stir. And sip… and sip… Gentleman Jack The Jack in question is Daniel, refined. Jack Daniel’s is filtered through sugar-maple charcoal before going into the barrel. Gentleman Jack is filtered a second time before being bottled, taking off the edge found in its ruffian cousin and enhancing its sweetness. The easiest way to start a bar fight is to take a hard, public stance on whether or not Gentleman Jack is a true bourbon, or whether it is a Tennessee whiskey. Old Forester Born in the 1870s, Old Forester is the oldest bottled bourbon in America. Not even Prohibition could stop it fromflowing; it was declared a medicine and remained in lawful production throughout enforcement of the 18th Amendment. It has vanilla and brown sugar on the nose, and a spiced follow-through. Eagle Rare Before it reaches your glass, Eagle Rare has been aged for at least 10 years. Known for being both subtle and distinctive, it will reward you with honey and hints of leather on the nose, a rich brown sugar on the palate and a sweet, dry finish. Blanton’s Single Barrel Save this one for the wedding guests you actually like. Single barrel is the hottest thing in whiskey, and Blanton’s is the hottest thing in single barrel. You will find a perfectly balanced bourbon here. Skip the rocks — just pour two fingers and enjoy. CIGARS ADD AN AIR OF SOPHISTICATION TO WEDDING RECEPTIONS Cigars reflect a glamorous past — John F. Kennedy and Winston Churchill and Orson Welles — and “the good life” that every marriage promises. Ways one might incorporate cigars into weddings and the surrounding festivities include the

on the nose, brown sugar on the palate and toffee on the finish. Benchmark This is a good go-to bourbon — the daily drink whose bottle you replace most often because it’s so easy to imbibe, and punches above its price point. Benchmark is caramel all the way, with a soft vanilla finish.



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