Piscologia • Blog • Everything You Need to Know About Pisco
From Peruvian vs. Chilean pisco, distillation and aging processes, cocktail recipes, pisco grapes, and the Denomination of Origin of pisco, our blog covers everything you need to know.
Piscologia, acholado, quebranta, pisco grapes, pisco, pisco cocktails, Peruvian pisco, what is pisco, pisco brandy, pisco sour, best pisco, craft pisco
21476
page-template,page-template-blog-large-image-whole-post,page-template-blog-large-image-whole-post-php,page,page-id-21476,qode-restaurant-1.0,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,select-theme-ver-4.1,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.2,vc_responsive

Closing the Gender Gap-PiscoLogía’s Mentoring Program

mentoring women business, piscologia, FAME program

After many months of preparation, we are pleased to announce that PiscoLogía has officially launched its FAME program (Female Advancement through Mentoring & Equality). By mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs, we promote economic empowerment of women and make strides to close the gender gap. Our goal is to positively impact families, communities and economies worldwide.

 

With more than 40 years of combined experience in the spirits industry, our team has a gamut of skills. We are specialists in marketing and brand strategy, new product planning and buildout, cost-reduction, supply chain management and beyond. If you operate a woman-owned enterprise or you are a male whose goods or services positively affect women, please click on the link to fill out the questionnaire below. We hope our free consulting services can help you grow your business.

 

<<< Click here to access our questionnaire >>>

 

 

FAME Projects To Date: Papalotzin LLC

The partners of Papalotzin will import and market 3 specialty mezcal brands crafted by small producers in Oaxaca. They will focus on sustainability, education and relationship-building throughout their supply chain. Through the FAME program, the PiscoLogía partners are assisting Papalotzin LLC with logistics, cost analysis and brand and market development. We look forward to seeing how our services will help Yesenia, Nick and the communities where the mezcal is made.

Pisco & Tonic – The Most Peruvian Cocktail

cinchona, pisco tonic, tonic, quina

Cinchona Bark

 

If you think the pisco sour is the most Peruvian cocktail, it may surprise you to hear that we think the pisco & tonic should be the flagship cocktail of Peru. Quinine, the ingredient that gives tonic water its bitter taste, comes from the bark of Peru’s national tree, the cinchona.

There are 23 species of cinchona plants, six of which only grow in the tropical areas of the Peruvian Andes. The Cinchona officinalis (quina in Spanish) is among those 6 species. Quinine from this tree is not only used to make tonic water, but it also has been historically used to treat malaria.

You can make your own tonic water by soaking cinchona bark in carbonated water. However, it’s difficult to find. Sadly, cinchona trees are in danger of extinction.

We believe the pisco tonic should be revered as the quintessential Peruvian cocktail. Tonic, made from bark from Peru’s national tree + pisco + ice =  the most Peruvian experience in a glass!

 

pisco tonic, Peruvian pisco, piscologia, pisco cocktails, acholado

Pisco y Tonic

1.5 oz PiscoLogía Acholado

Top with Fever Tree Tonic

Serve over ice. Garnish with kalamata olives & lime peel 

 

 

Sources:

Cortijo, Roberto. “Peru in Danger of Losing Its National Cinchona Tree.” Phys.org, 18 Oct. 2018, phys.org/news/2018-10-peru-danger-national-cinchona-tree.html.

 

Riepl, Martin. “Quina, El Casi Extinto Árbol Medicinal Del Escudo De Perú Que Pocos Patriotas Conocen e Inspiró El Gin Tonic .” BBC News Mundo, BBC, 28 July 2017, www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-40744976.

Create a Pisco Sour Without the Egg!

vegan pisco sour, pisco sour without egg

Credit: Blue Habu

 

The unappetizing odor, fear of food-borne illnesses and adherence to a vegan diet are reasons many avoid raw eggs in their cocktails. The traditional pisco sour recipe relies on egg whites to create its creamy foam. However, these 3 alternatives use aquafaba, Ms. Better’s Bitters Miraculous Foamer and organic soy milk to create a similar texture.

 

First, Tara Duggan from the San Francisco Chronicle uses aquafaba:
  • 2 oz. Pisco
  • 1 oz. aquafaba, or the drained water from a can of unsalted garbanzo beans
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar or ¾ oz. simple syrup

 

Nico from Pisco Trail works with Ms. Better’s Bitters Miraculous Foamer in lieu of egg whites:
  • 2 oz. PiscoLogía Pisco Quebranta
  • 1 oz. Lime juice
  • 1 oz. Simple syrup
  • 1/2 Dropper Ms. Better’s Bitters Miraculous Foamer

 

Maurice Dudley from Blue Habu in Okinawa uses organic soy milk:
  • 2 oz. PiscoLogía Pisco Acholado
  • 1 oz. Shiquasa liquer
  • 1 oz. Gum syrup
  • 1 oz. Organic soy milk

 

*For all recipes, 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.

 

Pro-tip- If you’re making a maracuyá sour, passionfruit makes a natural foam. Vigorously shake 1 oz. of pure passionfruit juice with pisco and simple syrup. You will be pleasantly surprised by the natural froth that forms from the juice.

Leave us a comment if you find a favorite substitute for eggs whites for your pisco sours!

 

 

Sources:

Blue Habu Trade Group. “The 4-30”. https://web.facebook.com/bluehabutrade/. January 20, 2018.

 

Duggan, Tara. “Recipe: Aquafaba Pisco Sour Cocktail.” SFChronicle.com, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 Mar. 2016, www.sfchronicle.com/recipes/article/Recipe-Aquafaba-Pisco-Sour-Cocktail-6880706.php.

 

Vera, Nico. “Vegan Pisco Sour .” Pisco Trail, 2 Feb. 2019, www.piscotrail.com/2019/02/02/cocktails/vegan-pisco-sour/.

Las Diferencias Entre el Singani y el Pisco

Ambos singani y pisco son aguardientes transparentes hechos por un proceso de destilación de uvas. Por sus características físicas, parecen semejantes. Sin embargo, cuando examinas sus métodos de destilación, sus zonas de producción, sus procesos de reposo, clasificaciones de calidad u otros detalles, encontrarás que son licores muy distintos. Aquí hay las diferencias entre el Singani boliviano y el pisco peruano:

 

Pisco Peruano
Singani

Un aguardiente hecho de 1 o una mezcla de las 8 variedades de uva permitidas por la Denominación de Origen en Perú.

Un aguardiente hecho de la uva moscatel de Alejandría en Bolivia.

Reposa un mínimo de 3 meses en recipientes que no alteran el producto.

Reposa un mínimo de 6 meses en recipientes que no alteran el producto.

Se tiene que producir en una de las zonas geográficas designadas por la Denominación de Origen en Perú.

Se tiene que producir en una de las zonas geográficas designadas por la Denominación de Origen en Bolivia.

Se produce a menos de 2,000m (6,562 pies) de uvas cultivadas a esas alturas.

Se produce a más de 1,600m (5,250 pies) de uvas cultivadas a esas alturas.

Hay piscos de una variedad de uva (puros) y una mezcla de uvas (acholados).

Sólo hay Singani de una variedad de uva: moscatel de Alejandría. No se puede mezclar la moscatel de Alejandría con otras variedades.

Hay evidencia que la palabra “pisco” viene de “pishqu”, la palabra quechua para pájaro.

Hay evidencia que la palabra “singani” viene de “siwingani”, la palabra aymara para juncia.

Sólo se destila una vez.

En general se destila más de una vez y se le pone agua.

No tiene clasificación de calidad

Tiene clasificación de calidad

Singani de Altura

Singani

Singani de Primera

Singani de Segunda

El orujo nunca se destila en la producción de pisco.

El Singani de Primera and Singani de Segunda pueden ser producidos por la destilación de orujo, parecido a la producción de grappa.

*Chilcano*

  • Ginger ale o cerveza de jengibre
  • Limón
  • Pisco

*Chufly*

  • Ginger ale o cerveza de jengibre
  • Limón
  • Singani

 

 

Fuentes:

Armstrong, Darren. “Singani.” StrongSomm, www.strongsomm.com/singani.

“Singani.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 July 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singani.

Matcha Colada

piscologia, craft pisco, piña colada, peruvian pisco, pisco cocktail

 

Pisco replaces rum in this Piña Colada-style concoction, showcasing the versatility of Peruvian pisco and highlighting its longstanding relationship with the pineapple.

 

The marriage of Peruvian pisco and pineapple happened thanks to Duncan Nicol, but the pineapple had gained fame in the USA long before the Pisco Punch. In the 1700’s, the tropical fruit began to symbolize opulence in the colonies- one pineapple cost the equivalent of $8,000 in today’s dollars, due to its “perishability, novelty, exoticism, and scarcity” (Raga).

When Nicol opened the Bank Exchange, the fruit was still a symbol of great wealth, but it had become less expensive due to the increased movement of goods during the Gold Rush. Ships used to stock up on prospecting supplies in Peru en route to San Francisco, among the goods were pisco and pineapples. The fruit soon became more accessible, allowing Nicol to mix pineapple syrup and pisco to woo San Francisco’s wealthiest drinkers.

Luckily pineapple is no longer for the elite, so we can use it in our favorite cocktails without breaking the bank. For this Matcha Colada, a Peruvian piña colada, we recommend PiscoLogía Acholado, our special blend of Quebranta and Italia piscos. The pineapple and coconut will pair beautifully with the tropical flavors and aromas of the Italia.

For a special treat, add matcha syrup and matcha dust, a finely ground powder of green tea leaves!

 

Matcha Colada

2 oz. Pisco Acholado

1 oz. Coconut cream

.75 oz. Pineapple juice

.75 oz. Matcha syrup

Shake and pour over pebble ice. Garnish with mint bundle and matcha dust 

 

 

Source:

Raga, Suzanne. “The Super Luxe History of Pineapples.” Mental Floss, 25 June 2015, mentalfloss.com/article/65506/super-luxe-history-pineapples-and-why-they-used-cost-8000.

When to Harvest Pisco Grapes

harvest pisco grapes, pis

Before distillation, Peruvian pisco grapes are first crushed and then fermented to make wine. It is very important to make precise decisions about when to harvest so the grapes have the right amount of sugar, acidity and tannins. Having this balance gives us high-quality wine and pisco. Nati uses both science and intuition to determine if this balance has been achieved.

First, science is used to determine the sugar and pH levels. Nati uses specific measurements to determine that the Brix levels of our Quebranta are between 24°-26° and our Italia between 22°-23°. It is important to obtain the right amount of sugar because yeasts need glucose to convert the juice into wine. Furthermore, as grapes ripen, acidity drops as sugar levels increase. However, we need to maintain certain levels of acidity so the wine is well-rounded. Nati strives for a pH of around 3.2-3.4.

Nati also checks for physiological changes in the vines. This means that the grapes, stems and seeds have the proper coloring. The fruit should be bright and robust and the stems and seeds should be brown, indicating they are ripe.

Finally, she uses intuition when tasting the fruit. The fruit must taste sweet and have good acidity and tannins. Sugar is especially key in pisco production; the more you have, the higher the alcohol content.

Determining when to harvest is an extremely important step in the pisco production process. Perfecting the balance of science and intuition gives us grapes with better flavors and aromas and thus, a well-rounded pisco.

 

 

Singani vs. Pisco

Singani and pisco are both clear grape brandies that share similar physical attributes. However, when you examine their distillation methods, geographical zones of production, resting techniques, quality classifications and other details, you will find that they are very different spirits. We have listed the differences between Bolivian Singani and Peruvian pisco in the chart below:

 

Peruvian Pisco
Singani

A brandy made from 1 or a blend of the 8 pisco grapes permitted by the D.O. in Peru.

A brandy made only from Muscat of Alexandria grapes in Bolivia.

Rests in neutral casks a minimum of 3 months.

Rests in neutral casks for a minimum of 6 months.

Must be made in one of the Pisco-producing regions as defined by the D.O. in Peru.

Must be made in one of the Singani-producing regions as defined by the D.O. in Bolivia.

Produced at 2,000m (6,562 feet) or lower from grapes grown at those elevations.

Produced at 1,600m (5,250 feet) or higher from grapes grown at those elevations.

Has both single-variety Piscos (puros) and blends (acholados).

Only single-variety Singanis are produced exclusively from the Muscat of Alexandria grape. No blending with other varieties is permitted.

Linguistic evidence suggests the word “pisco” comes from the native Quechua word “pishqu” (meaning bird).

Linguistic evidence suggests that the word “singani” comes from the native Aymara word “siwingani” (meaning sedge).

Only single distillation permitted.

Usually double distilled and watered down to proof.

No quality classification

Has quality classifications:

Singani de Altura

Singani

Singani de Primera

Singani de Segunda

Pomace may never be distilled in Pisco production.

Singani de Primera and Singani de Segunda may be made from the pomace leftovers from winemaking (similar to grappa)

*Chilcano Cocktail*

  • Ginger ale or ginger beer
  • Lime
  • Pisco

*Shoofly Cocktail*

  • Ginger ale or ginger beer
  • Lime
  • Singani

 

Download our Signani vs. Pisco chart here: Singani vs. Pisco

 

Sources:

Armstrong, Darren. “Singani.” StrongSomm, www.strongsomm.com/singani.

“Singani.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 July 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singani.

¿Qué tiene el pisco?

¿Qué tiene el pisco? La respuesta es: uvas. El pisco peruano es un destilado de uvas pisqueras, que son 8 vitis viníferas permitidas por la Denominación de Origen en Perú para la producción del aguardiente. Esas uvas son:

uvas pisco, uvas pisqueras, pisco peruano, piscologia

Para hacer un pisco peruano, el jugo de las uvas se fermenta para hacer un vino. Luego ese vino se destila una vez, por lo general en un alambique de cobre, en el proceso que se explica aquí. La destilación nos da un licor transparente y concentrado, con un porcentaje de alcohol entre 38%-48%.

No se le añade nada al pisco peruano, ni siquiera agua. Eso lo hace muy diferente a otros licores como el pisco chileno o el whiskey, que se destilan más de una vez y luego se les pone agua para bajar el alcohol al porcentaje deseado y los añejan en barrica.

 

Chilcano-The Peruvian Moscow Mule

chilcano, pisco cocktail, peruvian pisco, piscologia

 

Unrivaled in its simplicity, the chilcano is perhaps Peru’s most iconic cocktail. The origin of this delicious mix of pisco, ginger ale and lime is a mystery. While some believe this famous cocktail has Italian roots, others dispute that notion. We may never know how the chilcano came about, but we can most definitely enjoy its effortless preparation and refreshing, delicious tang.

Here is Kami’s recipe for the chilcano, Peru’s version of the Moscow Mule, which uses ginger beer, giving it a unique spiciness for your enjoyment.

 

CHILCANO

2 oz PiscoLogía Pisco Acholado

3 Lime wedges

2 dash Angostura bitters

Ginger beer

Muddle lime wedges, build over light ice, top with ginger beer

 

 

Can you drink pisco straight?

Can you drink pisco straight? Absolutely! In fact, we encourage you to drink pisco straight to appreciate it like a fine wine. To guide you, here are 4 questions you can ask yourself when tasting:

 

pisco tasting, can you drink pisco straight, piscologia, peruvian pisco

1) What descriptors and characteristics can I identify?

There are more than 300 descriptors for wine. When you distill wine to make pisco, you concentrate those flavors and aromas even more. See if you can pick out different nuances in the pisco. For example, our Quebranta tastes like toasted almonds, pecans and tart green apples.  If you’re tasting an Acholado, distinguish the characteristics of each of the blended varieties.

2) How is the terroir of the vineyards expressed in the pisco?

We have discussed the terroir of our vineyards and how it differs from other regions and vineyards in Peru. For example, our pisco has been described as briny, which is due to salinity on the grapes from the Pacific Ocean. Our soils are sandy, which create very different conditions than vineyards in the Andes, where soils are predominantly limestone. Pisco is greatly influenced by terroir, so see if you can appreciate how the conditions of the vineyards influence the flavors and aromas of the brandy.

3) How does the pisco pair with food?

Like wine, the clear Peruvian brandy pairs beautifully with food. We have given you some pairing suggestions in this blog post: http://piscologia.com/pairing-your-favorite-peruvian-food-with-pisco/, but pisco pairings go way beyond Peruvian food. There are endless opportunities with any cuisine. For example, try an Italia pisco in a snifter with Thai curry. You can play around with different varieties and food flavors to see what you like best.

4) Are there certain aspects of this vintage that make it different than others?

Just like wine, the conditions of each harvest vary each year, making every vintage unique. For example, if a year is especially hot, the wine and pisco will have higher alcohol percentages because the grapes will have developed more sugar. Or, if rainy season arrives earlier than expected, the grapes must be harvested early to avoid diseases on the fruit such as botrytis. Sometimes this means that the grapes might not ripen enough, meaning they will have less aromas and flavors.