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.
2 oz PiscoLogía Pisco Acholado
3 Lime wedges
2 dash Angostura bitters
Muddle lime wedges, build over light ice, top with ginger beer
This is the 6th post of a series of mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian pisco.
It does matter what variety of pisco you put in your cocktail. Every pisco type displays unique flavors and aromas that should pair with what you’re mixing.
Once again, we will turn to Kami to bust this myth about Peruvian pisco. She confirmed that each variety of pisco is unique, stating: “There are 8 grape varieties that can be used to make pisco, not to mention an infinite amount of Acholados, which are blends, that can take on any number of characteristics when combined. Blends aside, each of the 8 varieties offer us different flavor profiles”.
Kami continued to give us specifics about how different types of grapes are expressed in cocktails. “Uvina, for an example, is not a pisco I want to put into a pisco sour. It is one of the rare non-aromatics. It has vegetable, olive-like flavors – it’s really interesting. A cocktail made with Quebranta or Negra Criolla, two of the non-aromatics, are going to drastically change the profile of a cocktail originally crafted with the very-aromatic Italia. Aside from producers and brands of pisco, it is important to craft a drink around the explosive flavors of each grape variety. It’d be like pairing a sweet rose wine with a steak – no gracias”.
This confirms what we have said before- the type of pisco you put into your cocktail should be carefully chosen to match the ingredients. In doing so, you will create a harmony of flavors and appreciate the full potential of the clear Peruvian brandy.
This is the 2nd post of a series of mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian pisco.
We think the best recipe for the pisco sour is: 2 oz. Peruvian pisco + 1 oz. lime juice + 1/2 oz. simple syrup
Many people claim that the traditional 3-1-1 recipe (3 oz. pisco + 1 oz. simple syrup + 1 oz. lime juice) is the best for the pisco sour. However, we believe less booze is better for the most classic Peruvian cocktail.
When consulted about the 3-1-1 recipe, our favorite award-winning bartender Kami said: “3 ounces of pisco is too much booze. I like to use only 2 ounces of pisco in my sours”. The alcohol in a cocktail serves to provide a nice buzz, but it’s most enjoyed when it pairs well with the flavors of your drink. In the case of a pisco sour, you want the pisco to be in harmony with the sweetness of the simple syrup and the acidity of the limes, not overpower them.
Kami elaborated on the subject further, saying “you also need to take in account your location and the origin of your ingredients when making cocktails. Peruvian limes are very acidic, so in Peru, I use the 2-1-1 recipe. In the USA or Canada, the regular lime isn’t as pungent, so I use 1 ounce of lime juice and 1/2 oz of simple syrup, creating a 2:1 ratio of sour to sweet”.
One must also consider the alcohol content of a cocktail to drink responsibly. A cocktail with 3 shots of liquor will put a woman of average weight at or above .08 percent of blood alcohol concentration (the legal limit to drive in Washington State and Canada). The sugar and lime will mask the high level of alcohol, so you may not realize just how much you are consuming as you enjoy the smooth, delicious cocktail. Why not enjoy your pisco sour with less booze to slow down the pace of drinking? It is safer and better for your health.
On that safety note, here is Kami’s classic pisco sour recipe, to be adjusted according to your geographical location:
2 oz PiscoLogía Pisco
1/2 oz simple syrup
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 egg white
Dry shake, shake again with ice & vigor, serve up, Angostura bitters