Sunday, April 26, 2015

PISCO--Peru's answer to the Spirits World by Philip S. Kampe


Some spirits are destined to become great cocktail mixers.  Others are made to drink on their own.I have a love affair with certain spirits which I drink on their own, Grappa, Scotch, Bourbon, Armagnac and Calvados.

Others sometimes fall into another category which elevates the spirits profile when mixed with other ingredients. Pisco is possibly at the top of the heap.

Have you ever sampled a Pisco Sour or my favorite,  a subtly spicy, jalapeño laden Piscoff?  If not, maybe today is your day.

You may ask, what is Pisco?  


Pisco is a distilled beverage made from the must of grapes and is the national drink of Peru. In the late 1550’s, the Spanish began to plant and harvest grapes in the southern region of Peru.

Pisco came into being as a way to use Peru's prized grapes (there are eight varietals permitted today with DO standards). The distilled grapes were turned into a high-proof spirit.

Today, Pisco, is made in designated regions from a variety of approved grapes that are fermented and turned into a wine with high alcohol, similar to Brandy.

The popularity of Pisco increased when sailors transported Pisco to Spain. It was named Pisco after the name of the port where the sailors picked up the product.

Pisco has survived for over 450 years due to its high quality, low price and availability.

Today, Pisco is made from  a  variety of grapes, which are fermented, rested for a minimum of three months in glass, stainless steel or any vessel that dos not alter its properties  and then it is distilled.

The Peruvians refer to aging as resting.
Pisco is then bottled after resting in a vessel that will not alter the aroma, flavor or appearance.
By law, the alcoholic content can vary from 76-96 proof (38%-48% alcohol).

There are several styles of Pisco. The style is Puro, made from single varietals, spcifically the Quebranta grape. This is the most exported style of Pisco.The name of the grape used for Puro is always listed on the label of the bottle.

As a new Pisco fan, I would like to share bartender Christian Asca of Panca (NYC) recipe of my “Favorite Pisco Cocktail”, the Piscoff.

My first tasting experience of  this cocktail was at an event titled” 7 PISCOS: 14 COCKTAILS”.
Piscoff was one of those cocktails.

Spice plays a major part in my life, certainly due to my New Orleans background.  The Piscoff Cocktail captures all that my palate desires—freshness, spice and sweetness. In my judgement, the Piscoff is the perfect cocktail.

  Wanna sample a La Diablada cocktail, aptly titled, 'Girl With A Pomegranate Cocktail'?

Here is how you make a PISCOFF
Mix three pieces of .sliced jalapeño and a dozen leaves of cilantro together and muddle them.
Add 2 ounces of Pisco, 1/3 ounce of fresh lime juice and a 1/3 ounce of triple sec.
Add a splash of agave syrup.
Add ice and shake vigorously.
Pour into a martini glass and garnish with cilantro and a slice of jalapeno.

What could be better as both a year-round  drink or a summer sizzler?

If you are a Pisco fan or just want to  learn more about Pisco, visitt: .

Philip S. Kampe

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