Peruvian Independence Day Cocktails

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Pisco Sour Day might be in February but Peruvian Independence Day, on July 28, is a good opportunity to further acquaint ourselves with Peru’s unique style of pisco.


The South American country begins its national day with a 21 cannon salute in Lima, and then everyone heads to Mass. But it's after the trip to church that the parties, known as Fiestas Patrias begin, and for a nation that claims the origins of pisco, you can be sure there will be generous pouring all day long.

Guillermo Toro-Lira, a Peruvian pisco historian, remembers growing up in Peru and arguing with his grandmother, who was Chilean, over where pisco was from. "It is pretty important to Peruvians, it has been in their history forever and the Peruvians are very proud people."

Pisco cocktails


If sipping neat pisco isn't quite your cup of tea then there is one great classic cocktail to make; the Pisco Sour, said to have been created in the early 1920s at Bar Morris located, 847 Calle Boza, Jiron de la Union, Lima, Peru.

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Glass Coupette
Garnish: Three drops of Angostura bitters
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.
2½ shots pisco
1 shot lime juice
½ shot sugar syrup
½ fresh egg white

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Pisco Punch
Glass Collins
Garnish: Pineapple wedge
Method: Muddle cloves in base of shaker. Add other ingredients except for champagne. Shake with ice and strain into ice-filled glass. Top with champagne.
4 dried clove
2¼ shots pisco
1¾ shots pineapple juice
¼ shot orange juice
½ shot lemon juice
½ shot sugar syrup
Top up with champagne brut

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Pisco Bell Ringer
Glass Coupette
Garnish: None
Method: Rinse chilled glass with apricot brandy (swirl liqueur round inside of glass to coat and then shake out excess). Shake other ingredients with ice and fine strain into apricot rinsed glass.
⅛ shot apricot brandy liqueur
2 shots pisco
½ shot lemon juice
¼ shot sugar syrup
1 dash orange bitters
2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters

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Dulchin
Glass Martini
Garnish: Orange zest twist
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.
2 shots pisco
½ shot Grand Marnier Liqueur
½ shot apricot brandy liqueur
¼ shot lime cordial
¼ shot pomegranate (grenadine) syrup

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Pyramid Punch
Glass Collins
Garnish: Pineapple wedge
Method: Muddle cloves in base of shaker. Add other ingredients except for champagne. Shake with ice and strain into ice-filled glass.
2 dried clove
2 shots pisco
1 shot elderflower liqueur
2 shots pineapple juice
½ shot grapefruit juice (pink)

Peruvian pisco facts


1. Peru believes its pisco first originated in the 1500s when Spanish settlers were evolving from traditional wine-making. This argument claims that Chilean pisco didn't emerge until after the War of the Pacific (late 1800s), thus making Peru's claim a stand-out winner.

2. In Peru, pure pisco is made using one grape type, usually Quebranta, a non-aromatic yet strongly-flavoured variety whose crushed liquid is fermented until it's a young wine. This fermented musk is then distilled, with the heads and tails discarded. Peruvian pisco has to be distilled to 40% or higher.

3. Apart from pure pisco, or puro pisco as the classification is known, Peurvian pisco can also be pisco acholado, which is a blend of different grapes, or pisco mosto verde, a pisco distilled from a must that has not been totally fermented, and is thus much sweeter.

4. Legally, Peruvian pisco cannot be sold in Chile, instead it is sold under the name Aguardiente de Uva.

5. Peru doesn't acknowledge 80% of Chile's pisco - as it is sold under 40% alc/vol.

6. Pisco Valley, and the seaport of the same name are both located in Peru, another factor the locals point to as evidence that pisco was firstly theirs.

7. Eight local grape varieties can be used. Non aromatic grapes include Quebranta, Negra Criolla, Mollar and Uvina whilst the aromatic varieties are Italia, Torontel, Moscatel and Albilla.

8. Only stainless steel and glass can be used to store Peruvian pisco. This is while is rests for a minimum of three months after distillation. Peruvian pisco can never come into contact with wood.

9. Peruvian pisco may be distilled only once.

10. Absolutely nothing can be added after distillation, not even water, so pisco has to be bottled at the strength it is distilled to.

Click here to read about the Pisco Wars between Chile and Peru.

Five Peruvian piscos to try


1. Pisco Porton Mosto Verde

Pisco Portón is a mosto verde pisco distilled from a blend of 3 grape varietals (Quebranta, Torontel and Albilla) in traditional copper pot stills and is rested 5 to 8 months before bottling.

Difford's Guide rating: 4.5/5

Click here for our full review of Pisco Porton Mosto Verde.

2. BarSol Quebranta

Barsol is made in one of the oldest alembic stills in South America, dating from the late 1800s. Like all Peruvian pisco, it is distilled to bottling strength and not reduced with water after distillation.

Difford's Guide rating: 4.5/5

Click here for our full review of BarSol Quebranta.

3. Campo De Encanto

This Peruvian pisco was conceived not in Peru, but in San Francisco by a bartender (Duggan McDonnell), a sommelier (Walter Moore) and a Peruvian distiller (Carlos Romero). Together, they have produced an acholado (blended) Pisco from Quebranta (76%), Torontel (6%) and Italia (18%) grape varieties.

Difford's Guide rating: 4.5/5

Click here for our full review of Campo De Encanto.

4. Soldeica Pisco

Incorporated in 1857, Vista Alegre is the oldest pisco producer in Peru and has the largest vineyard holding too. This brand is made exclusively from Quebranta grapes from the noted Ica area.

Difford's Guide rating: 4/5

Click here for our full review of Soldeica Pisco.

5. La Diablada Pisco

La Diablada is a blended 'acholado' pisco named after an Andean dance that re-enacts a legendary fight between angels and demons. It is made from the first pressing of Quebranta, Moscatel, Italia and Torontel grapes.

Difford's Guide rating: 4.5/5

Click here for our full review of La Diablada Pisco.

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