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Pisco


viva
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I've seen Pisco mentioned in a few threads, but I didn't see a lot of information on different brands or a separate Pisco thread, so voila... my first new thread!

Anyway, I'm heading to Peru in a couple of weeks, and want to pick up something special, so...

What are good brands of Pisco that I should keep an eye out for, both in the US and in Peru? Someone mentioned a Chilean brand called Aba?

Any drinks with Pisco other than the ubiquitous Pisco Sour? Any interesting recipes or variations on the Pisco Sour itself?

Any other tasty Peruvian beverages that I should be trying out during the trip?

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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Viva,

Cachaca is another great drink, and interchangeable with Pisco.

I find them both very versatile, and use them instead of Tequila in similar drinks to Margueritas, and with just as many variations.

Here in Argentina, where people have an incredibly sweet tooth, they tend to use sugar instead od salt - see how you prefer it.

In Uruguay, which is just across the Delta from Buenos Aires, there is another drink, called Cana Humada - very nice indeed.

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Here are some other Pisco Cocktails:

Algarrobina

Aka. Carob Cocktail

2 shots pisco brandy

½ shot algarrobina*

2 shots cream/ milk

¼ shot sugar syrup (optional)

1 egg yolk

Shake with ice, then strain to ice filled whisky glass; garnish with ground

cinnamon.

*Algarrobina is syrup which is made from the beans of the Algarrobo tree

(Prosopis pallida).

Pisco Punch

Created by Duncan Nichol

Recipe taken from: The California Historical Society, who originally published

the formula in 1973.

1. Take a fresh pineapple. Cut it in squares about 1/2 by 1 1/2 inches. Put

these squares of fresh pineapple in a bowl of gum syrup* to soak overnight.

That serves the double purpose of flavoring the gum syrup with the pineapple

and soaking the pineapple, both of which are used afterwards in the Pisco

Punch.

2. In the morning mix in a big bowl the following:

1/2 pint (8 oz) of the gum syrup, pineapple flavoured as above

1 pint (16 oz) distilled water

3/4 pint (10 oz [sic]) lemon juice

1 bottle (24 oz) Peruvian Pisco brandy**

Serve very cold but be careful not to keep the ice in too long because of

dilution. Use 3 or four oz punch glasses. Put one of these above squares of

pineapple in each glass. Lemon juice or gum syrup may be added to taste.

Chilcano de Pisco

2 shots Pisco brandy

¼ shot fresh lime juice (optional)

2 dashes of bitters (optional)

Build over ice, in a tall glass; then top with Ginger Ale; garnish with a lime

wedge.

Capitán

2 shots Pisco brandy

1 shots sweet vermouth

2 dashes of bitters (optional)

Stir with ice, then strain into an ice filled whisky glass; garnish with a lemon

twist.

Perú Libre

Aka. Piscola

2 shots Pisco brandy

¼ shot fresh lime juice (optional)

Build over ice, in a tall glass; then top with cola; garnish with a lime wedge.

Cheers!

George

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Thanks guys! maremosso, I've got some good cachaca that I picked up in Brazil already, it's good to know that the two are fairly interchangeable.

George, the pisco punch looks pretty good. What might gum syrup be? Possible to use a simple sugar syrup?

Any recommendations on good Pisco brands, anyone?

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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Here are someother Pisco cocktail recipes:

Ricurita

1 shot Pisco,

1 shot dry vermouth,

1 shot sweet vermouth,

1 shot pineapple juice.

Shake with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Chalaquito

2 shots Pisco,

1 shot pineapple juice,

1/2 shot Cointreau.

Shake with ice, then strain into whisky glass, that is filled with crushed ice.

Cheers!

George

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  • 4 weeks later...

I thought I'd report back with more research (the trials I go through in the name of research!). Thoroughly enjoyed Pisco sours in Peru, but I couldn't make enough of a distinction between different brands in order to merit bringing back a bottle (vs. just buying a bottle in the US and saving my arms the trouble of carrying it). We kept calling the Pisco sours "Peruvian margaritas". I had many.

Anyway, there were some variations on the Pisco sour and other Pisco drinks that I thought were interesting:

Maracuya Sour = passion fruit juice, sugar, egg white & Pisco

Coca Sour = lemon juice, sugar, egg white & coca-leaf-infused (yea!) Pisco

Algarrobina = algarrobina syrup (carob-tree honey), Pisco & milk (I was not adventurous enough to try this one. Pisco & milk did not appeal to me in the least, but hey, I'm willing to share the idea.)

Chilcano de Pisco = Pisco, Sprite, lemon juice & bitters (slight variation on the one George listed above)

There were also several drinks with items macerated, and Pisco/ice over top, the two most prevalent being passion fruit and coca leaves.

Pisco report concluded... and I have to say that I vastly preferred chicha de jora (fermented corn beer) as my Peruvian drink of choice. Not sure if I can obtain it in the US, unfortunately.

Edited by viva (log)

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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For those in the NYC-metropolitan area who might want to try a range of piscos, I would recommend a trip across the Hudson to Hoboken and the latest *excellent* pan-Latin restaurant that opened this past spring, Cucharamama. The food leans mostly toward Peruvian influences, as does the bar (among the notable exceptions: a sublime Ti Punch with 23-year-old Barbancourt; a very nice list of Spanish and Chilean wines by the glass). The dessert menu devotes two pages to post-prandial beverages, including nearly two DOZEN different piscos, grouped by style (something like "Pure", "Aromatic", and "Blend")

Extremely highly recommended.

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  • 4 months later...

The first time I had pisco I was drinking it with some Peruvians in the back of a bodega in Williamsburg with an illegal kitchen that turned out some of the most incredible seafood dishes I've ever had. (it has since closed) :sad:

The brand that we drinking was called Santiago Queirolo and it was awesome. Done as straight shots it was super smooths and sweet. I WAS planning to import some but someone beat me to it. AND since I have the New York Metro liquor price book here: Wholesale is $15.35 per fifth, so it should retail for $20. But the distributor is pretty small so you have to ask your liquor store to order it I'm guessing. I've had others and they're not as good. Of course the one I had was aged maybe 2 years, and this one might not be.

Distributor: Five Star Fine Products 516-845-4646 www.5starfineproducts.com

Looks like they also distribute the line of Inner Circle Rums as well.

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Anybody tried La Bojita Italia Pisco? I've seen it locally and I'm tempted. Here's the Wine Enthusiast review from 2002:

CLASSIC:

La Bojita Italia Pisco (Peru; CVI Brands, San Carlos, CA); 41.5% abv, $17. The initial nosing passes detect an array of aromas, from vegetable oil to cotton candy, to popcorn to grape pomace, to aniseed; time in the glass brings out biscuity, seed-like aromas like caraway seed and allspice. Palate entry is juicy, fruity and nothing short of luscious; midpalate is even more enjoyable as the creamy, grapy, and beautifully balanced flavor wraps around the tongue. Finish is lush, full-bodied, viscous and remarkably fresh and vibrant. Easily the finest pisco I've ever evaluated. Best Buy.

Scroll down the linked page to see reviews of two other La Bojita Piscos, one "superb" and one "acceptable".

If I weren't still working my way through a huge backlog of cocktail recipes (and revisiting favorites) I might already have a bottle. At $16 I imagine it won't take much more activity in this thread to get pisco on my next shopping list. :biggrin:

Kurt

“I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake--which I also keep handy.” ~W.C. Fields

The Handy Snake

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  • 2 years later...

Given the news in Peru, I thought that a Pisco Sour would be in order. I use Gary Regan's Joy of Mixology ratios with a few tweaks, most of which were stolen from somewhere around here:

  • 2 oz pisco (Cesar -- only game in town)
    1 oz lemon
    1/2 oz 1:1 simple syrup
    1/2 large egg white
    dash Angostura
    Shake all ingredients hard at room temperature. (I've been tossing in the lemon shells as well.) Then shake again with ice. Pour into cold glasses rimmed with cinnamon sugar and dot with a drop of Angostura for aromatics.

Nod to eje's canted snaps:

gallery_19804_437_557350.jpg

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Nice. I've been thinking about doing the same in honor of the town of Pisco.

<bitterness>Not that I'm betting the North Carolina ABC store will carry any Pisco.</bitterness>

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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  • 7 months later...

I didn't see it mentioned here, so I wanted to put in a word for Barsol. We've had greater access to it lately, and we've kept it on hand consistently. Wine Enthusiast had a lot of good things to say about it in 2005, as did Wine & Spirits in 2007 (so says this Spirit World entry). It works nicely in Pisco Sours, of course, but I've also enjoyed it in this Velvet Pisco:

2 oz pisco

1/2 oz falernum

1/2 oz lime

dash Angostura bitters

Shake, strain, lime twist.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Anybody tried La Bojita Italia Pisco?  I've seen it locally and I'm tempted.  Here's the Wine Enthusiast review from 2002:

CLASSIC:

La Bojita Italia Pisco (Peru; CVI Brands, San Carlos, CA); 41.5% abv, $17. The initial nosing passes detect an array of aromas, from vegetable oil to cotton candy, to popcorn to grape pomace, to aniseed; time in the glass brings out biscuity, seed-like aromas like caraway seed and allspice. Palate entry is juicy, fruity and nothing short of luscious; midpalate is even more enjoyable as the creamy, grapy, and beautifully balanced flavor wraps around the tongue. Finish is lush, full-bodied, viscous and remarkably fresh and vibrant. Easily the finest pisco I've ever evaluated.  Best Buy.

Scroll down the linked page to see reviews of two other La Bojita Piscos, one "superb" and one "acceptable".

If I weren't still working my way through a huge backlog of cocktail recipes (and revisiting favorites) I might already have a bottle.  At $16 I imagine it won't take much more activity in this thread to get pisco on my next shopping list.  :biggrin:

Kurt

Here is a the summer riff on the Pisco Sour that we are doing at The Violet Hour. It is the work of Michael Rubel. The Pisco must be Italia.

Miraflores

2 oz Pisco Italia

1 oz Grapefruit Juice

.5 oz Orange Blossom Honey Syrup

.25 oz Fresh Lime Juice

9 drops Miramar Bitters

1 Egg White

Glass: Coupe

Garnish: 3 drops Peychaud’s Bitters

Ice: None

Shake. Strain. Serve up.

The Miramar Bitters are house made so substitute 1 small dash of Fees Old Fashioned and 2 small dashes Regans Orange.

Toby

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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Here is a the summer riff on the Pisco Sour that we are doing at The Violet Hour.  It is the work of  Michael Rubel.  The Pisco must be Italia.

Miraflores

2 oz Pisco Italia

1 oz Grapefruit Juice

.5 oz Orange Blossom Honey Syrup

.25 oz Fresh Lime Juice

9 drops Miramar Bitters

1  Egg White

Glass:  Coupe

Garnish: 3 drops Peychaud’s Bitters

Ice:  None

Shake.  Strain.  Serve up.

The Miramar Bitters are house made so substitute 1 small dash of Fees Old Fashioned and 2 small dashes Regans Orange.

Toby

how much are you diluting the honey to make the syrup? is that pisco a little more "ethnic" in flavor than the clean barsol style? it sounds delicious...

abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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If anyone is interested I have done a few posts on pisco on my blog - including a couple of brand comparisons (mostly of Chilean brands that have failed to really grab me).

http://bunnyhugs.org/category/cocktails/in.../spirits/pisco/

That's the url for the pisco category. . .

The Dulchin is really nice.

I did a variation with passion fruit juice that I called the Fitzcarraldo. I reckon that worked OK too.

I also find pisco and grapefruit seem to work nicely. I did something alone those lines in my post on the Feather Boa. I kept messing around with the recipe, but in the end I think it was pisco, grapefruit, lime, St. Germain, and touches of creme de cacao, Tuaca and Grenadine. Guess I never quite settled on a final version.

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Cachaca is another great drink, and interchangeable with Pisco.

Cachaca is in no way interchangeable with Pisco. Cachaca is much more robust and less refined than Pisco, not to mention that Pisco is a type of Brandy made from grapes while Cachaca is a type of Rum made from fresh sugarcane juice.

As far as brands of Pisco go, Pisco Vargas is one of the best brands I've ever had from Peru. I haven't had any from Chile, but I've been told by my Peruvian friends that while Chile has some good ones, they aren't nearly as refined as Peruvian ones. Hope that helps.

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

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Here is a the summer riff on the Pisco Sour that we are doing at The Violet Hour.  It is the work of  Michael Rubel.  The Pisco must be Italia.

Miraflores

2 oz Pisco Italia

1 oz Grapefruit Juice

.5 oz Orange Blossom Honey Syrup

.25 oz Fresh Lime Juice

9 drops Miramar Bitters

1  Egg White

Glass:  Coupe

Garnish: 3 drops Peychaud’s Bitters

Ice:  None

Shake.  Strain.  Serve up.

The Miramar Bitters are house made so substitute 1 small dash of Fees Old Fashioned and 2 small dashes Regans Orange.

Toby

how much are you diluting the honey to make the syrup? is that pisco a little more "ethnic" in flavor than the clean barsol style? it sounds delicious...

The honey is diluted 2 parts honey one water. And the italia is more floral and rich than regular pisco.

It is delicious, Michael is the man.

Toby

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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  • 8 months later...

I grabbed a bottle of La Botija pisco acholado at a local liquor store (Quisqueya on Broad St for the locals) and I really like it. It's a hell of a lot better than the Barsol I've been using, sweeter on the nose and tongue and more complex. I left a pisco puro quebranta on the shelf there for next week's allowance.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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  • 2 months later...

Haven't gotten back to get that other pisco. However, snooping through Dale DeGroff's Essential Cocktail, a book that is growing on me, I found the Pisco Bell-Ringer, a Dave Wondrich creation (click here for his original recipe) that Julie Reiner (Mixtress) tweaked:

Pisco Bell-Ringer

1 1/2 oz pisco acholado (La Botija)

1/2 oz rum (Cruzan 2 years dark)

1/2 oz lemon

1/2 simple

egg white

dash Angostura

dash orange bitters (Angostura)

dash Apry

This is an excellent drink, a good gateway for newcomers to pisco that doesn't lose that character. I would use Regan's orange bitters next time, I think, and would be happier with an older rum, too.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Both versions of that drink sound great ( I've been exploring, at some expense, the different styles of pisco and learning to love them) but, as a newbie, I have to ask if Julie Reiner's version isn't so substantially changed that it should have a different name. The addition of an egg white and half an ounce of rum seems like it would so alter the body and character of the drink that it falls into a whole new family. And does the dash of Apry get lost in all that? The original's apricot rinse sounds like a real flavor partner in the drink.

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From Wondrich's comments in the Esquire article you linked to:

Which means that Jim Maloney was doomed. Sure, he was an ace bartender; sure, his 1903 How to Mix Drinks sold pretty well. And sure, his patented "Bell-Ringers" (cocktails served in glasses rinsed with apricot brandy) were sinfully delicious. But try finding a copy of How to Mix Drinks today, and just try ordering a Bell-Ringer.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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