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.

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

meaning of the word pisco

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 historian 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.

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

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 would take more than 300 years for the province and capital of Pisco to be officially created in 1900.

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 Ambassador 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 116 years later.

Pisco As Brandy

In “El pisco, la primera referencia a su nombre”, Gonzalo Gutiérrez presents what is believed to be the first association of pisco as a clear brandy. In a legal document from Lima dated in 1729, containers of “aguardiente de pisco” were the source of a dispute between two parties. This legal document would mark the new nomenclature for the clear spirit we use today.

pisco peruano, peruvian pisco

Credit: Gonzalo Gutiérrez

 

Since 1750, there have been thousands of documentations of the word “pisco”. Here are two examples:

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

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.

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-Columbian tribes and ending in present day with our favorite clear brandy.

 

Sources:

Cieza de León, Pedro. Crónica General del Perú, 1550.

Garcilaso de la Vega, Comentarios Reales, chapter XX, 1609.

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

Gutiérrez Gonzalo. El Pisco, La Primera Referencia a Su Nombre. 2020.

Kipling, Rudyard. From Sea to Sea: In Two Volumes. Tauchnitz, 1900.

Mellet, Jullien. Voyages dans l ‘interieur de la Amérique Meridianale, 1808- 1820, 1824.

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

 

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

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