We at PiscoLogía would like to celebrate pisco on 28 de julio, Independence Day in Peru. However, to celebrate pisco, we must celebrate the diversity behind the beloved grape-based spirit.
The first grape vine in South America was planted in Lima between 1539 and 1541 by Hernando de Montenegro, a Spanish captain. In 1551, the first wine was made by Spanish colonists.
The name “pisco” comes from Quechua, the language of the Incas.
The pre-Inca and Inca civilizations created very sophisticated agricultural and irrigation systems. Without indigenous land, agricultural knowledge manpower, viticulture would not have thrived like it has for hundreds of years.
Historically, the people who have planted, harvested and hauled the grapes have been Indigenous laborers and African slaves.
While distillation came to Peru with the Spanish, it is an Arabic technology.
Pisco is the fusion of peoples, cultures, and history. And with each sip we are honoring each and every one.
We are back to our series of mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian pisco!
Vintners in Peru started making pisco when Spain tried to hinder wine-making. However, the story is more complicated than a simple restriction.
According to historian Guillermo Toro-Lira, the first vineyard in South America was planted in Lima between 1539 and 1541 by Hernando de Montenegro, a Spanish captain (Lima). The first wine was made in 1551, marking the beginning of a new era of wine-making in the New World. By the end of the 16th century, delicious Peruvian wine was demanded around the world, creating formidable competition for Spain’s winemakers.
To hinder wine production in Peru, Spanish royalty imposed high taxes, banned Peruvian wine in Spanish colonies and prohibited the planting of new vines in Peru. However, their attempts were unsuccessful until 1641, when King Philip IV prohibited the importation of Peruvian wine to Spain. Peru was then cut off from one of its last remaining markets. Here is a summary of the timeline:
1539 -1541– First vine (Listán Prieto) planted in Lima by Hernando de Montenegro
1551– First wine made in Lima, making Peru the first winemaking region in South America
1595– Felipe II prohibited planting vines in the colonies. However, people continued planting and making wine.
1595– Felipe II- started taxing vineyard owners, which diminished the amount of vines in Peru.
1614– Peruvian wine was competing so much with Spanish wine that King Philip III prohibited the importation of Peruvian wine to Panama.
1615– The sale of Peruvian wine was banned in Guatemala.
1641– King Philip IV prohibited the importation of Peruvian wine to Spain. Since the market for wine was cut off, vintners in Peru began to use their grapes to make pisco.
Instead of abandoning their vines, locals began to use the grapes to make brandy in lieu of wine. Over time, the viticultural knowledge of the Spanish blended with agricultural traditions passed down from the Incas. Years of trial and error led to diversification and selection of the best varieties, identification of optimal regions for grape growing and improved production practices. These factors, along with a climate favorable to grape growing, have allowed Peruvians to proudly craft their national beverage for hundreds of years.
So now you know, a series of restrictions that spanned over the course of 100 years led Peruvians to start making clear brandy. While the decision was detrimental to the wine industry in Peru, thankfully Peruvians were able to use their grapes, knowledge and manpower to make pisco.
Huertas Vallejos, Lorenzo. “Historia De La Producción De Vinos y Piscos En El Perú.” Revista Universum, vol. 2, no. 19, 2004, pp. 44–61.
“Lima, Cuna Del Primer Viñedo y Del Primer Vino De Suramérica.” www.efe.com, 28 Sept. 2018, www.efe.com/efe/america/gente/lima-cuna-del-primer-vinedo-y-vino-de-suramerica/20000014-3763502.
Until recently, strict and complex regulations have limited the sale of alcohol through online channels. However, due to Covid-19, technology is evolving as retailers turn to digitalization and invest in e-commerce channels (Nesin). These factors have have made e-commerce a viable option when buying alcohol.
Many consumers are purchasing alcohol online for the first time through Instacart, Drizly, Flaviar or local liquor stores. Whether you are new to e-commerce are or a seasoned online buyer, here are a few ways you can order Piscologia online and have it delivered to your door.
Buy PiscoLogía online on the following e-commerce sites in Canada:
As summer approaches, we recommend you add pisco to your repertoire of refreshing cocktails. Pisco is an exciting substitute for gin, vodka or whiskey and it can be mixed with a gamut of flavors. Explore its versatility by mixing pisco with a high-quality tonic. We guarantee the pisco & tonic will be your next go-to cocktail for hot summer evenings!
Pisco & Tonic
1.5 oz PiscoLogía Acholado
Top with Fever Tree Tonic
Serve over ice. Garnish with kalamata olives, citrus wheel or lime peel
Tips for making your pisco & tonic:
The ratio of gin to tonic varies according to taste & strength of the pisco. Most recipes call for a ratio of pisco between a 1:1 to 1:3.
To preserve effervescence, pour your tonic down a bar spoon.
Hughes, Christopher. “Gin Dandy: Three Great Tonic Syrups for Your Summer Gin and Tonic.” Boston Magazine, Boston Magazine, 9 Oct. 2013, www.bostonmagazine.com/restaurants/2013/06/25/gin-and-tonic-syrups/.
Aquafaba is the starchy liquid in a can of chickpeas. When whipped or shaken, it creates a foamy alternative for egg white in a pisco sour.
To make a vegan pisco sour, you will need the following ingredients:
2 oz. PiscoLogía Acholado
1 oz. aquafaba (the drained water from a can of unsalted garbanzo beans)
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar or ¾ oz. simple syrup
Place all ingredients in a shaker without ice. Shake for 30 seconds. Add ice and shake again. Strain into chilled glass. When foam rises, garnish with 3 drops of bitters.
Here are some tips for making a vegan pisco sour with aquafaba:
Chill your aquafaba before shaking and straining.
Before measuring your aquafaba, vigorously shake the unopened can of chickpeas. Next, strain the chickpeas, whisk the aquafaba and then measure. This will ensure the starches are evenly distributed throughout the liquid, allowing you to take full advantage of their whipping abilities.
Is Pisco Peruvian or Chilean? This question is the subject of an ongoing debate between Peru and Chile. Based on historical and etymological evidence that the first pisco was produced in Peru and because of Peru’s rich history of pisco production, we believe pisco is Peruvian.
However, the objective answer to the question is: legally, pisco is both Peruvian and Chilean; both countries call their grape brandy “pisco” and both have a protected Denomination of Origin for pisco.
You may think Peruvian pisco and Chilean are similar. After all, they are both brandies, made from grapes, in two countries with geographic, linguistic and cultural similarities. However, when you take a closer look and examine their distillation methods, geographical zones of production, resting techniques and other details, you will find that they are very different spirits.
Have you been wondering how to pronounce common terms used to describe Peruvian pisco? Below you will find a quick guide to help you learn how to use proper pronunciation on your next pisco-drinking adventure.
First, how do you pronounce our brand name? PiscoLogía is pronounced “Pees-koh-loh-hee-ah”
The three pisco types:
Pisco puro– Puhr-oh
A single varietal pisco made from wine from one type of grape.
Pisco acholado– Ah-cho-lah-doh
Made from more than one varietal. It can be a blend of grapes or a blend of piscos.
Pisco mosto verde– Moh-stoh vehr-day
Pisco made from musts that aren’t fully fermented and sugar is still present in the juice.
Victor Vaughen Morris often receives credit for inventing the pisco sour. While the cocktail became wildly popular in the 1920’s thanks to the American expatriate, evidence shows that pisco sours existed years before Morris began serving them at his bar in downtown Lima.
In his blog post “The Origin of the Pisco Sour”, Nico Vera shares a recipe from a cookbook published in Lima in 1903, The Nuevo Manual de Cocina a la Criolla. Made with “egg white, a glass of Pisco, a teaspoon of fine sugar, and a few drops of lime……all of this beaten in a cocktail shaker” (Nuevo), this unnamed creole cocktail is strikingly similar to the pisco sour served by Morris. Because this recipe began circulating in 1903, this could prove the pisco sour was being made in Peru long before the 1920’s.
We may never know who invented the pisco sour. However, its popularity hasn’t lost momentum since the 1920’s. Recently recognized as one of the most popular cocktails in the world (Wolinksi), the pisco sour continues to win over discerning drinkers around the globe.
“Nuevo Manual De Cocina a La Criolla – 1903.” Edited by S.E. Ledesma, Issuu, 20 Feb. 2013, issuu.com/davidpino7/docs/recetario1903.
Vera, Nico. “The Origin of the Pisco Sour .” Pisco Trail, 9 Dec. 2013, www.piscotrail.com/2013/12/09/culinary-history/the-origin-of-the-pisco-sour/.
“Victor Vaughen Morris.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Mar. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Vaughen_Morris.
Wolinski, Cat, and Helena Yankovska. “The 50 Most Popular Cocktails in the World (UPDATED 2019).” VinePair, 31 May 2019, vinepair.com/articles/50-most-popular-cocktails-world-2017/?fbclid=IwAR2QLQXeh5Vw_F1YaaUpyDlhu9Nc9I4HdaOD7dedVi-3YazgD-BiODCXEl4.
LIMA, Peru – Nov. 16, 2019 — PiscoLogía Quebranta, a single-variety Peruvian pisco made from Quebranta grapes, won a gold medal at the most important wine and spirits competition in the world judged by women buyers – the Women’s Wine and Spirits Awards. Held in London at the Royal Yacht Club, 100 of the world’s most influential female buyers assembled for the historic occasion. Top retailers, importers, and hospitality entities were present for the blind tastings, including Waitrose & Partners, Bibendum, Enotria & Co, 67 Pall Mall, and The Arts Club.
The award reflects the quality and craftsmanship of the pisco, which is made in Azpitia, in the Denomination of Origin of Lima. “We are honored to receive this gold medal and celebrate the work completed with my partners Nati Gordillo and Kami Kenna. It is a culmination of years of dedication to the art of pisco making” said Meg McFarland, founder of PiscoLogía.
Made from 100% estate-grown grapes, PiscoLogía Quebranta is the quintessential craft pisco. Its aromas are grassy, herbal, and reminiscent of sweet caramelized banana. It tastes of toasted almonds, pecans and tart green apples.
About Topa Spirits, LLC
Topa Spirits, LLC is a 100% women-owned producer, importer and wholesaler of Piscología Pisco Quebranta and PiscoLogía Pisco Acholado.
Connect with PiscoLogía on Facebook, Twitter and www.piscologia.com for cocktail ideas, contests and breaking product news.
Ansley Coale from Craft Distillers discusses PiscoLogía Quebranta and Acholado’s unique qualities in the following video:
According to Ansley, PiscoLogía pisco is “incredibly clean and has nicely intense flavor, but high acid” due to the desert climate of our vineyards. In addition, he found the Quebranta to be “intense, incredibly elegant and structured with a beautiful mouth and a very nice, long, clean and balanced finish”. The Acholado is “fruit forward, with soft aromatics. It’s Quebranta married with the roundness and fruitiness of the Italia”.
Do you want to buy PiscoLogía Peruvian pisco to find out for yourself? Check out Craft Distillers’ Distribution Page for a distributor near you or visit Caddell Williams‘ website to purchase online. Flaviar will also ship PiscoLogía to your home.