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!
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
This is the 7th post of a series of mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian 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.
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.
In Peru, the eight grapes used in pisco production are separated into 2 categories: aromatic and non-aromatic. While the latter categorization might imply that some piscos lack aromas, we would like to clarify that all varieties of Peruvian pisco are highly aromatic. This is due to the production methods required by the Denomination of Origin in Peru. First, Peruvian pisco is distilled one time, which helps bring out the unique aromatic profile of each grape variety. Then it is aged in neutral casks, which enhances the aromas while preserving the original identity of the clear spirit.
In this post, we will list the flavors and aromas of each grape variety used in the production of Peruvian pisco: Quebranta, Negra Criolla, Uvina & Mollar (non-aromatic) and Italia, Torontel, Moscatel, and Albilla (aromatic).
Note: These are general tasting notes, as every pisco is different, depending on the region, the terroir of the vineyards and the methods of the distiller.
Origin: The Quebranta grape is a cross between Negra Criolla and Mollar grapes. It is the most common grape used in pisco production in Peru.
Pisco flavors: Lime, mandarin, flowers, orange blossom & tropical fruit
Origin: Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. AKA Torrontés.
Pisco aromas: Flowers such as geranium, jasmine and magnolia, citrus, orange blossom & tropical fruit
Pisco flavors: Citrus, honey, tropical fruit & toffee
Origin: There is dispute about the origins of Peruvian Moscatel grapes. One theory is that it comes from the Muscat Rose à Petits Grains grape (Jiménez). This muscat grape is not to be confused with Italia, even though they are from the same family.