Pisco’s Big Day

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Pam likes pisco. This is not merely based upon alliteration (although it never hurts), but rather because it is a bright, vibrant and unique spirit that has been earning well-deserved real estate space on bar shelves around the city. Being one of the more popular alcohols in areas of South America, it’s nice to see the North finally catching up with the trend.

Originating in Chile in the mid 16th century and spreading to Peru by the early 1600s, this grape brandy stemmed as a brainchild of wine producers in the region. It wasn’t until the late 1800s during the Gold Rush that pisco made its first appearance in the good ol’ US of A and became a staple in the San Francisco area.  In today’s market, pisco tends to hail from either Peru or Chile, is either clear or light yellow in color, and runs on average at 40% ABV (alcohol by volume).

Now that I’ve run through the basic historical components, lets get to the good stuff. Why drink pisco? Mike Gilbert, the Director of Marketing for Pisco Porton explains: “Pisco was an integral part of the pre-prohibition world that just never made it back. But now we are in a huge mixology push, and it’s all the rage because it is something different and a lot of bartenders are engaging with it.”

I could not agree more with Gilbert. Every since I had my first sip of pisco about four years ago, I too fell in love with the spirit and have since been working with it frequently. Similar to wine, the aroma and taste of pisco varies from brand to brand due to the grape varietal.

And New Yorkers, you’re in luck because February 4th is national Pisco Sour Day, the perfect excuse to seek out the national Peruvian libation. Since 2003, this holiday has been celebrated around the
world during the first weekend in February. Looking to try one of these delicacies? Try any of Pio Pio’s 5 locations (http://www.piopio.com) where they will be serving up and drinking
down Pisco Sour specials all day. Adventurous to sip other pisco concoctions? Try some of these locations:

•   Macao Trading Company (311 Church St) – Firecracker Cocktail: Barsol Pisco Italia with homemade Créma de Mezcal, Lime & Pineapple Juices
Finished with Macao’s 5 Spice Bitters.

•   Pegu Club (77 West Houston) – Pisco Punch: Pineapple-infused Pisco, lime syrup, grapefruit syrup, fresh lemon juice.

•   Flatiron Lounge (37 West 19th St) – Sun Also Sets: Pisco, blood orange shrub, tequila, Lillet Blanc, and grapefruit.

•   La Mar (11 Madison Ave) – Chicha tu ma: Pisco Quebranta, chicha morada, orange liquor, passion fruit.

Or maybe you want to try whipping up a Pisco sour at home. It’s very simple and cost effective and is sure to impress your friends.

Pisco Sour

•   2 oz Pisco
•   ¾ oz simple syrup (a mixture of equal parts water and sugar)
•   1 oz fresh lime juice
•   1 egg white
•   Angostura Bitters
•   Ice

Combine the pisco, simple syrup, lime and egg white into a shaker without ice (this is called a Dry Shake). Shake vigorously for 30-40 seconds. Then add ice to the shaker and shake for an additional 10-15 seconds. Strain the drink straight up (without ice) into a chilled glass and allow the foam to form on the top. Finish the drink by adding a few drops of bitters on the top. Feel free to get fancy with your designs.

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