A bit of a niche area, but sugar free products have become increasingly common with the popularity of the keto diet and the increase in diabetes… Or marketed to people, like myself, who just want to make better choices by consuming cleaner, more natural, less processed, products.
My favorite sugar free beverage is Zevia (R). I’ve drank them daily for years and more than often use them as a mixer for my adult beverages. As you can guess, I also pair them with my cigars. They come in a pretty wide array of flavors with some being caffeinated and some not. What I love most about them is not only are they sugar free, they’re also: free of artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, free of artificial coloring (every flavor is clear), zero-calorie, gluten free, vegan, certified Kosher and certified non-GMO. It’s basically carbonated water, sweetened with Stevia and natural flavoring. The main reasons they pair so well for me is they are more mild in flavor, not overwhelming your taste buds and senses, and they all end with a sharp bite with citric properties that can give your palate a nice jolt of a reset before your next puff.
Here is a breakdown of 4 of my favorite Zevia flavors to pair with a cigar.
Dr. Zevia: Probably the most versatile, pairing well with any cigar.
This is no surprise as Dr. Pepper seems to be the go to soda for cigar pairing. Dr. Zevia is great for all around pairing as it has all the enjoyable flavors of Dr. P but with a less spritely/intense delivery. Notes of warm spice, clove, cola, molasses and licorice ending with a light citrus bite. It is caffeinated, the only one of the 4 mentioned in this article. In case that matters to you.
Cream Soda: Paired with lighter to medium strength cigars. Connecticut, Habano, Claros.
While this beverage is not creamy in mouth feel like you might expect, it does have a pleasant but light candied, brulee, vanilla flavor to it. I would best describe it as a liquid version of a Cream Soda Dum Dum with that sharp carbonic bite to finish it off and reset your palate.
Creamy Root Beer: Paired with medium/mild and up cigars. Habano, Sumatra, San Andreas,…
Again, this is not creamy in mouthfeel but more of a mixture of their Cream Soda flavor and Ginger Root Beer Soda (a runner up in this list as it’s another delicious offering from them). This delicious mixture of brulee, vanilla, ginger spice, sarsaparilla and birch is a bit more complex than Cream but still not too heavy. However, there are times when this flavor gets a little off to me and takes on an artificial aftertaste…But that is usually when my palate is dry and off to begin with.
Black Cherry: Pairs with darker cigars on the stronger side. Maduro, Broadleaf, …
This offering has a nice dark fruit flavor. It has a more syrupy taste (in a good way) to it, despite them using no syrups. Dark cherry, plum, cinnamon spice that gets cut short but a lemon-lime bite at the end to reboot your tastebuds. Nice to have something that’s richer and deeper to pair with a cigar that is also richer and more intense.
Zevia is available at most grocery stores (check the Organic section) and online retailers. I suggest grabbing the “Nostalgic Variety Pack” on Amazon which includes the Cream, Creamy Root Beer, Dr. Zevia, Cola and Ginger Ale. They also offer a “Rainbow Variety Pack” if you are looking to try a lot of different flavors from them. Again, note that some are caffeinated and some are not. They also make some tasty Iced Teas, Cocktail Mixers, Energy Drinks and even Kids drinks.