A "Piscola" -- a pisco and Coke -- is so popular and prevalent in Chile that it's the unofficial national drink of the country. But now that Chilean distributors are setting their sights on the American market, savvy mixologists are proving that pisco deserves a lot more than to just be mixed with soda.
Jason Littrell of Jbird is one of those recent converts. Working with Chilean pisco, he and several other area bartenders created libations to serve throughout September to celebrate Chilean Independence (Sept. 18).
"It's delicious. It's an excellent substitute for vodka for people who want more flavor without the calories," he notes. "It's a well-thought-out spirit. Plus, I love that Chilean pisco is about tradition and pride."
Littrell is currently pouring his creation, a Pisco y Tamarindo (recipe below), but he also suggests creating your own libation at home. "Right now, I recommend using berries -- raspberries and blueberries -- and I'm a sucker for cinnamon. But really, it's hard to go wrong with just a Pisco Sour."
Pisco y Tamarindo
By Jason Littrell, Jbird 339 E. 75th St.
2 oz Chilean Pisco
4 oz Jarritos Tamarindo
Pinch of salt
Squeeze of lime
Pour pisco and Jarritos in a highball glass over ice. Add pinch of salt and squeeze of lime. Swirl and garnish with a lime or orange.
A guide to Pisco
Chilean pisco is smoother than tequila with more flavor than vodka and has various styles, including white (or “transparent” or “unaged”), Guarda pisco (aged no less than 180 days), aged pisco (rests for at least a year) and small batch pisco, which is handcrafted in the most traditional of fashions.
Where to drink it
At Raymi, chef Richard Sanodval serves Peruvian fare to accompany the bar’s 30 house-infused varieties of pisco (everything from lemon verbana to blackberry ginger).
43 W. 24th St., 212-929-1200