pisco Archives • Piscologia
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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.

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.

 

Myth #7- Italia pisco is too aromatic to mix in cocktails

This is the 7th post of a series of mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian pisco.

monoterpenes, aromatic wine, aromatic pisco

 

 

We couldn’t disagree more that Italia is too aromatic for cocktails. In fact, we think it is one of the more exciting grapes to use.  While Italia can be quite floral, it can brighten up an Acholado by creating an interesting blend with the two (or more) grape varieties.

 

Let’s first talk about what aromatic means. If a wine or pisco is aromatic, it means it has higher levels of terpenes, which are the same scents found in flowers (Puckette). More specifically, if you can sense aromas of rose, lilac, lavender, orange blossom or geranium in a wine or pisco, it means it has monoterpenes, which are compounds found in the essential oils extracted from many plants, including fruits, vegetables, spices and herbs (Loza-Tavera). The Italia variety is classified in the aromatic category, along with Riesling, Albariño, Pinot Gris, the 3 other aromatic Peruvian pisco grapes and many others.  

 

Monoterpenes create special aromas, so how should you use Italia pisco in a cocktail? One suggestion would be to try it in a pisco colada because the Italia variety pairs well with the sweet flavors of coconut. Or, you can highlight the orange blossom notes in a citrus-based cocktail. If you’re drinking it on its own, an Italia pisco will enhance the flavors of a Thai curry or Tandoori Chicken.  

 

Whether or not you like Italia pisco in cocktails will come down to your personal preferences. However, you  shouldn’t take someone else’s word for it that it is too fruity or floral. We encourage you to try it with different ingredients to see which combination is best for you.   

 

 

Sources:  

 

Loza-Tavera, H. “Monoterpenes in Essential Oils. Biosynthesis and Properties.” Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1999, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10335385.  

 

Puckette, Madeline. “What Are Aromatic White Wines?” Wine Folly, 27 Mar. 2019, winefolly.com/review/what-are-aromatic-white-wines/.

Myth#3: Pisco grapes are considered aromatic because they have muscat DNA

This is the 3rd post of a series of mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian pisco.

peruvian pisco, pisco, pisco types

 

There are also Muscat-derived grapes in the non-aromatic category.

 

Before discussing this subject, let’s do a quick refresher on Peruvian pisco grapes. There are 8 grapes used for pisco production in Peru and they are divided into 2 categories: aromatic and non-aromatic. You can see the 4 grape varieties that fall into each category in the chart above.

There is a misconception circulating in the industry that the term “aromatic” applies exclusively to grapes with DNA from the Muscat family. While the four aromatics, Moscatel, Albilla, Italia and Torontel, are indeed derived from the Muscat grape, there are also two non-aromatic grapes with Muscat DNA: Negra criolla and Quebranta. Both of these red grape varieties come from Muscat of Alexandria (Moscatel de Alejandria in Spanish).  

The DNA of all the Peruvian pisco grape varieties is best explained in the chart created by Nico from Pisco Trail:  

 

pisco types, DNA pisco grapes, piscologia, peruvian pisco, pisco grapes 

Now if you hear the rumor that aromatic pisco grapes are the only grapes with DNA from the Muscat family, you can disprove it. Muscat of Alexandria gave life to the aromatic Italia variety, but it also deserves credit for giving us lovely non-aromatic Quebranta and Negra Criolla!

 

 

Source:

 

Vera, Nico. “Genealogy of Pisco Grape Varietals.” Pisco Trail, 2018, www.piscotrail.com/.

Mai Nikkei Tai, Peruvian Mai Tai

mai tai, nikkei,

The influx of Japanese immigrants to Peru at the end of the 19th century greatly enhanced Peruvian cuisine through the development of Nikkei, the fusion of Peruvian and Japanese food. New ingredients such as ginger, soy, wasabi and raw fish and seafood slowly assimilated into Peruvian cuisine, eventually creating delectable dishes such as tiradito, pulpo al olivo and acevichado sushi.

In her Mai Nikkei Tai, Kami twisted the traditional Mai Tai recipe to nod to this culinary movement. A touch of ginger and sesame represent the Nikkei and Quebranta pisco replaces rum, embodying a delicious blend of Japanese and Peruvian flavors. The result is a truly Peruvian cocktail.

Mai Nikkei Tai 

  • 2 oz PiscoLogía Pisco Quebranta 
  • .5 oz Fino sherry 
  • .25 oz Sesame Orgeat 
  • .25 oz (strong brewed) ginger syrup
  • .75 oz fresh lime juice 

Shake & strain over ice

Garnish with mint bouquet, lime & seasonal fruit 

Source:

Walhout, Hannah. “How Japanese Immigrants Shaped Peruvian Food.” Food & Wine, 17 Apr. 2019, www.foodandwine.com/chefs/nikkei-peruvian-japanese-food.

Following the etymological trail of pisco

linguistic pisco, pisco meaning, pisco quechua, pisco bird

The word “pisco” and its many variations (pisku, pisccu, phishgo, pichiu etc.) have been documented in Peru for almost 5 centuries. We have summarized the research of historians Guillermo Toro-Lira Stahl and Gonzalo Gutiérrez in this blog post, following the evolution of the word since its first inscription to its current connotation: the clear brandy we drink today.

Quechua Word For Bird

The Incas had no formal written language; instead they used knotted strings known as khipu. Consequently, the Quechua word “pisco” (bird) wasn’t recorded in Peru until the arrival of the Spaniards. Here are two of the first references to winged creatures:

«Piscos […] that is the name of birds […]». Pedro Cieza de León, Crónica General del Perú, 1550.

«There are some small birds […] they call them Pichiu […]».Garcilaso de la Vega, Comentarios Reales, chapter XX, 1609.

Quechua speakers in the Andes still describe birds using different forms of the word “pisco”. “Pichinko” (sparrow) and “piscala” (bird) are two examples. In addition to associations with avifauna, the word has acquired many other meanings over the years.  

Geographical Region

Because of the sheer quantity of birds that populated the coastal waters near Ica, people began to call the entire area “Pisco”. The earliest evidence of this is a map of Peru drafted in 1574 by geographer Diego Méndez, where the port of Pisco is clearly delineated. However, it wouldn’t be for more than 300 years later in 1900, when the province of Pisco was officially created with a capitol of the same name.  

Pisko People and Clay Vessels

The people who lived in the geographical area of Pisco were also called “piskos”. They transported chicha and other alcoholic beverages in clay pots (seen below). Over time, the vessels also took the name “piscos”. To this day, some producers use these pots to age their pisco.

clay pots, piscos, tinajas, traditional pisco method

The Spaniards started distilling wine in Peru at the end of the 16th century/early 17th century, but the clear brandy wasn’t called “pisco” for quite some time. According to Gonzalo Gutiérrez, the oldest documentation of brandy production seems to be from 1613, in a will of a man named Pedro Manuel. Among the deceased’s possessions were several containers of aguardiente (brandy). This proves that brandy production had started in Peru. However, the first reference to “pisco” as a brandy didn’t appear until 200 years later.

Pisco As Brandy

Guillermo Toro-Lira Stahl discovered what he believes to be the first association of pisco as clear brandy. In a customs document from Lima dated in 1808, 42 containers of pisco were received from Ica. Below you can see the diminutive word, “pisquitos”. Mr. Toro-Lira Stahl believes this document marks the new nomenclature for the term we use for the clear brandy today.

pisquito, pisco, pisco customs document
Credit: Guillermo Toro-Lira Stahl

From that point on in the 19th century to present day, there are thousands of references to Peruvian pisco as a brandy. Two examples are below:

Pisco […]  is so good and much stronger than Cognac” Jullien Mellet, Voyages dans l ‘interieur de la Amérique Meridianale, 1808- 1820, 1824.

Pisco Punch is “compounded of the shavings of cherub’s wings, the glory of a tropical dawn, the red clouds of sunset and the fragments of lost epics by dead masters.” Rudyard Kipling, From Sea to Sea, 1889.

 

The name “pisco” has had many connotations over the course of 5 centuries. Chronicling the etymological trail of the word leads us through an interesting historical journey in Peru, starting with Pre-Colombian tribes and ending with our favorite clear brandy.

Sources:

Gutiérrez, Gonzalo. El Pisco, denominación de origen peruana. 19th ed., vol. 10, Agenda Internacional, 2003, pp. 245–298.

 

“Quechua.” MustGo.com, www.mustgo.com/worldlanguages/quechua/.

 

Toro-Lira Stahl, Guillermo, Luis. (17 may 2019) In Facebook [Personal Page]. Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://web.facebook.com/guillermo.torolirastahl

 

 

PiscoLogía Pisco Quebranta Tech Sheet

A RICH PERUVIAN TRADITION

Artisanal production. Estate grown in Azpitia. Terroir driven.

Our vineyards are located on the northern precipice of the lush Mala River Valley, a short distance from where the Mala River meets the Pacific Ocean. This proximity to the sea means the grapes are nourished year-round by a certain level of salinity, adding to their complexity. Our Pisco Quebranta has aromas of grass, herbs, and sweet caramelized banana with hints of toasted almonds, pecans and tart green apples.

GRAPE USED: 100% estate-grown Quebranta

PROCESSING: Grapes are harvested from estate vineyards, first pressed traditionally by foot, then with an automated press without the seeds.

FERMENTATION: The freshly pressed grape juice drops directly into a cement well where the wild fermentation begins. Contact with the grape skins (approximately 24 hours) and vintage yeast strains jump-start fermentation. Once active, fermentation completes its cycle in neutral vats.

STILL TYPE: Copper Pot Still

STILL SIZE: 300 Liters; direct flame heated

DISTILLER: Nati Gordillo

DISTILLATION: Single (Peruvian Pisco must be distilled to proof)

ALCOHOL: 42.0 %

FORMAT: 750 ml

COUNTRY: Peru

REGION: Lima

SUB-REGION: Azpitia, “Mala” River Valley

Capitán Cocktail, the Peruvian Manhattan

capitan cocktail, pisco, pisco cocktail, peruvian manhattan

Today we present to you another classic Peruvian cocktail, the Capitán. Also known as the “Manhattan Peruano”, this mix of vermouth and pisco represents the fusion of Peruvian and Italian cultures in Peru.

According to “¡Que pase el Capitán!”, vermouth was first imported to Peru from Italy in the year 1859. However, its popularity peaked after WW1 when Italian immigrants in Lima started consuming the botanical fortified wine with Peruvian pisco. The economical cocktail was named after its price, “20 centavos” (20 cents).  

When the 20 centavos’ popularity spread beyond the circles of Italian immigrants, its name evolved to Capitán. High in the Andes of Peru in the city of Puno, military captains used to stop in bars during their nightly patrols on horseback and order the 20 centavos cocktail. The bartenders would pass the drink to their uniformed customers saying, “For you, my Captain” (“Capitán” in Spanish). The name “Capitán” soon caught on and has been a part of Peruvian cocktail culture ever since.

Now you can now ponder that bit of history while savoring Kami’s version of the Capitán with PiscoLogía Pisco Acholado and sweet & dry vermouth.

 

Capitán Perfecto 

  • 2 oz Pisco Acholado 
  • 1/2 oz. Dry Vermouth 
  • 1/2 oz. Sweet Vermouth 
  • Nori Wrapped Kalamata Olive 

Stirred, served up 

Source:

Santa Cruz, John. “¡Qué Pase El Capitán! Crónicas Desde Perú .” Gastronomía Alternativa, www.gastronomiaalternativa.com/ga-23_19-que-pase-el-capitan.html.