Myth #6- It doesn’t matter what grape variety of Peruvian pisco you use in cocktails

This is the 6th post of a series of mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian pisco.

 

pisco types, peruvian pisco, piscologia

 

 

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.  

Myth #5- The best pisco comes from Ica

This is the 5th post of a series of mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian pisco.

 

terroir peru, caraveli, pisco, piscologia, peruvian pisco

 

It is not true that the best pisco comes from Ica. The other 4 regions all produce equally impressive, high-quality brandies.

 

We have heard the misconception that the best pisco comes from Ica, the largest Denomination of Origin in Peru.  Many good piscos are produced in Ica, but we would like to tout the caliber of brandies from the other 4 regions: Lima, Arequipa, Moquegua and Tacna.  

Pisco is a distilled wine. Just like wine, many factors will determine a pisco’s quality, including the viticulture practices used to raise the grapes, the skill of the producer and the terroir of the vineyard.

Peru’s unique terrain lends itself to diverse terroirs. For example, the highest vineyards with pisco grapes are found in the Caravelí Valley at 1,779 meters in the D.O. of Arequipa. Vineyards at this altitude in the Andes are endowed with limestone soils and cool nights, very different conditions than the coast, where nights are warmer, soils are sandy and ocean salinity affects the grapes. When you add in more variables like distillation techniques, one can see how Peruvian pisco displays such a broad gamut of aromas and flavors. 

We would encourage people to train their palates to discover how different terroirs shine through in Peruvian pisco. Instead of associating quality with entire regions, we want to change the conversation and start evaluating how viticulture practices, the distiller’s techniques and terroir express themselves in the bottle. In the end, the consumer gets to decide which pisco is the best for him or her.

 

Myth#4- Quebranta is the best pisco for a pisco sour

This is the 4th post of a series of mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian pisco.

 

pisco sour, pisco cocktail, peruvian pisco, piscologia

 

We think Acholado is the best pisco for a pisco sour.

 

Contrary to the belief in Peru that pisco sours should be made with Quebranta pisco, we prefer a sour made with pisco Acholado. It’s even better when the Acholado is blended with an aromatic grape like Italia. The floral, fruity notes of the aromatic variety pair well with the citrus in the cocktail.  

In a recent blog post we discussed the benefits of highlighting the characteristics of each pisco type when mixing cocktails. To do this, Kami envisions the 8 pisco varieties on a spectrum, drawing a parallel between their flavors and their sense of warmth. To her, the more aromatic the pisco, the cooler it is: “I love an Acholado or one of the aromatics for a pisco sour. I tend to think of Quebranta as warm, while Italia and Torontel are cool. I like my cool/floral/bright piscos with citrus and the “warm” Quebranta on its own or mixed into a Capitán or another booze-forward classic like a Negroni”.

With this advice from Kami, we encourage you to experiment by making pisco sours with different types of pisco. We are confident that you will agree- the floral, fruity notes of an Acholado work best with the sweetness and acidity of Peru’s most iconic cocktail.  

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/.

Myth #2: The 3-1-1 recipe is the best for pisco sour

This is the 2nd post of a series of mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian pisco.

 

  pisco cocktail, pisco sour, piscologia, 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:  

 
Pisco Sour
 

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

 

Myth #1- Peruvian Pisco & Chilean Pisco Are Interchangeable

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

Both Peruvian pisco & Chilean brandy are distillates made from grapes, but their flavors and aromas are not similar.  This means they should be treated very differently when mixing in cocktails.

Peruvian pisco vs. chilean, is pisco peruvian

 

Peruvian pisco and Chilean brandy have very distinctive aromas and flavors because their production processes are different. The single distillation method of Peruvian pisco concentrates the characteristics of each grape variety, whereas the double or triple distillation of Chilean brandy masks the original flavor and aroma of the grapes. This makes Chilean brandy a more neutral spirit that is more easily altered during the aging process.

When aged, Chilean brandy picks up butterscotch and vanilla nuances from the barrels. On the other hand, Peruvian pisco sits in neutral casks, so the grapes’ flavors and aromas maintain their original identity.

The ingredients of your cocktail should match the type of pisco and the grape variety you are working with. For example, the citrus flavors of a Quebranta pisco pair beautifully with the gingery lime tang of a chilcano. Or, the green olive hints of an Uvina pisco make the perfect match with the ingredients of a martini. You wouldn’t want hints of vanilla and butterscotch in a martini, but those flavors of Chilean brandy would work well in a Sidecar or Brandy Smash.

A conscientious bartender recognizes that Chilean brandy and Peruvian pisco should not be interchanged in cocktails. As a discerning consumer, you can challenge the notion that Peruvian pisco and Chilean brandy are substitutable. Drinking a cocktail with ingredients that complement the flavors and aromas of the South American brandy of your choice will maximize your pisco-drinking experience.

Pagapu, Dando Gracias a Pachamama

peruvian pisco, pisco, piscologia, pachamama

Cada año en el mes de agosto, en una noche de luna nueva, el mismo ritual se repite, Don Lucho, el chaman del pueblo es convocado un día martes o jueves para realizar el “pagapu” o pago a la tierra.

A la media noche, Don Lucho nos acompaña a recorrer el viñedo, rezando calladamente antiguas oraciones que aprendió de sus mayores. Él quema incienso y palo santo para purificar la viña, agradeciendo a Pachamama o madre tierra por su generosidad al permitir una abundante cosecha y pidiendo para el año siguiente que los frutos de la uva se conviertan en pisco para nuestro deleite.

Al terminar la ceremonia, don Lucho pide permiso a los apus o cerros tutelares para abrir el vientre de la tierra y entregar sus ofrendas. Así, con una pequeña lampa ceremonial, en el lugar más alto de la viña, cava un agujero en la tierra y entrega respetuosamente sus presentes: hojas de coca, una botella de pisco,  golosinas y tabaco para devolver a la tierra lo que ella nos entregó y que también se alimente.

Las ofrendas brindadas son cuidadosamente cubiertas con tierra y finalmente una pequeña cruz de madera adornada con flores es colocada sobre este entierro simbólico. Año tras año con amor, dedicación y respeto a la tierra, así se produce PiscoLogía.

Mai Nikkei Tai – El Mai Tai Peruano

mai tai, nikkei cocktail, pisco cocktail, piscologia

La gastronomía peruana se enriqueció inmensamente con la llegada de inmigrantes japoneses al Perú a fines del siglo 19. Se desarrolló la cultura Nikkei, que es la fusión de las culturas peruanas y japonesas, cuyo principal representante fue la comida Nikkei. Aparecieron nuevos ingredientes como el kion (jengibre), sillao, (salsa de soja), wasabi y pescados y mariscos crudos en la cocina peruana, creando platos exquisitos como el tiradito, pulpo al olivo y el sushi acevichado.

En su coctel Mai Nikkei Tai, Kami modificó la receta tradicional del Mai Tai para celebrar este movimiento culinario. Un toque de kion y sésamo representan lo Nikkei y el pisco quebranta reemplaza el ron, creando una mezcla perfecta de sabores japoneses y peruanos. El resultado es un coctel delicioso y sumamente peruano.

Mai Nikkei Tai 

  • 2 onzas PiscoLogía Pisco Quebranta 
  • .5 onza Jerez Fino
  • .25 onza jarabe de Orgeat de sésamo
  • .25 onza  jarabe de kion (muy concentrado)
  • .75 onza  zumo de limón

Agita y cuela sobre hielo. Adorna con menta, limón y fruta de temporada.

Fuente:

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

Pachamama, Giving Thanks

In conjunction with careful viticulture, Nati uses a spiritual practice to ensure a plentiful harvest: giving thanks to Pachamama, the Mother Earth of the Incas. The indigenous people of Peru pray, give thanks and offer sacrifices to Pachamama in exchange for a successful harvest.  It is believed this powerful deity sustains life because She presides over planting and harvesting.

There are many ways to honor Pachamama. Our first blog post described Pagapu, when Azpitia’s shaman, Don Lucho, gives thanks to Pachamama in PiscoLogía’s vineyards. Many people across Peru complete this ritual every August when there is a new moon. This takes place before sowing season and during the coldest month, when crops are most vulnerable to nature’s volatility.

People also give thanks to Pachamama on a daily basis. This display of gratitude can be manifested through introspective prayer or in social settings. In the Andes it is a common practice to appease Pachamama before drinking chicha, a fermented corn beverage. The Peruvian Mother Earth receives the first sip when chicha is poured on the ground. After the chicha soaks into the earth, the offering is complete.  

Through her ritual of giving thanks to Pachamama, Nati reinforces the importance of being grateful, not only for a successful PiscoLogía harvest, but for every aspect of our business. Now we frequently stop and give thanks, conjuring the spiritual guidance of Pachamama to help forge our path to the future.

Sources:

“Pachamama.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 June 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pachamama.

“Pagapu • Piscologia.” Piscologia, 3 Nov. 2017, piscologia.com/pagapu-thanks-to-pachamama/.

El Capitán, El Manhattan Peruano

capitan cocktail, manhattan peruano, capitan pisco, piscologia

Hoy presentamos otro coctel clásico peruano, el Capitán. También conocido como el “Manhattan Peruano”, esta mezcla de vermut y pisco representa la fusión de las culturas italianas y peruanas en Perú.

Según John Santa Cruz en ¡Que Pase El Capitán!, el vermut italiano se importó por primera vez al Perú en el año 1859. Sin embargo, no llegó a su cima de popularidad hasta después de la Primera Guerra Mundial, cuando los inmigrantes italianos en Perú empezaron a tomar el vino fortificado con pisco peruano. El trago económico fue nombrado por su precio, 20 Centavos.

Cuando el coctel 20 Centavos se puso popular fuera de los círculos de inmigrantes italianos, su nombre cambió a “Capitán”. En las alturas de los Andes en la ciudad de Puno, los capitanes militares paraban en bares durante sus patrullas en caballo cada noche y pedían el coctel 20 Centavos. Los bármanes les pasaban los tragos a sus clientes uniformados, diciendo: “Para usted, mi Capitán”. El  nombre “Capitán” pronto empezó a usarse, reemplazando el nombre 20 Centavos. Desde entonces, ha sido parte de la cultura coctelera en Perú´.

Nuestra socia Kami creó su versión del Capitán con PiscoLogía Pisco Acholado, vermut seco y vermut dulce:

Capitán Perfecto 

  • 2 onzas PiscoLogía Acholado 
  • 1/2 onza vermut seco
  • 1/2 onza vermut dulce
  • Aceituna negra envuelta en nori

Mezclar todo. Servir con la guarnición de aceituna con nori.

Fuente:

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

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