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TIP OF THE DAY: Pisco From Peru

July 26th is National Pisco Day—a day to drink Pisco, and to try Brazil’s national cocktail, the Pisco Sour (recipe below).

We’re about to introduce you to Pisco. Below you’ll find:

  • The History Of Pisco
  • Pisco Cocktails
  • Pisco Sour Recipe
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    But first:
     
     
    WHERE WOULD WE BE WITHOUT THESE FOOD STAPLES FROM PERU?

    Here are some of our favorite foods originated in Peru, all cultivated by the Incas:

  • Potatoes, tomatoes, peanuts and several varieties of beans.
  • The fashionable superfood, quinoa.
  • On the fruit side, cape gooseberry, cherimoya, dragonfruit, prickly pear and tamarillo.
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    CONTEMPORARY PERUVIAN DISHES

    At the end of each of the past four years, food trend analysts have predicted that Peruvian food will be the next hot cuisine in the U.S.

    But it hasn’t happened yet. Although it’s on numerous menus, most people don’t realize that ceviche originated in Peru.

    Peru’s national cocktail, the Pisco Sour, remains the best-known Peruvian food in the U.S.

    For a Peruvian feast, try some of these popular Peruvian dishes (you can find many recipes online):

  • Ceviche, raw seafood cured in citrus juice
  • Shrimp cioppino, a type of bouillabaisse
  • Deep fried mashed potatoes stuffed with ground meat, eggs and olives
  • Beef heart kabobs
  • Grilled chicken or roaster chicken, one of the most consumed foods in the country
  • Green salsa, made with cilantro
  •  

    THE HISTORY OF PISCO

    Back to Pisco: The spirit was developed by Spanish settlers in the 16th century as an alternative to orujo, a pomace brandy that was imported from Spain.

    Not only did they have to wait for the cargo ship to show up; but pomace is not hard to come by.

    It’s distilled from what’s after from pressing wine grapes (what’s left are the grape skins and seeds).

    In Europe, estate owners typically gave this residue from their grapes to their farm workers, to distill for their own consumption.

    The end product, depending on the country, is brandy, grappa, pisco and other firewater*.

    In the late 1550s, the Spanish settlers began to plant quality wine grapes.

    Peruvian farmers did the same as their European counterparts: They distilled a clear liquid from the pressed wine residue given to them.

    Pisco was discovered by sailors in the 18th century, when it became part of the growing Peruvian export trade.

    It was easier to transport Pisco up the West Coast from Peru than to transport whiskey overland from the East Coast.

    Thus, Pisco made its way to San Francisco, where it was enjoyed during the Gold Rush (1848–1855) through 1920, when Prohibition put the cap on alcohol.

    Today there are many Pisco brands available in the U.S., including what has to be our favorite name, Macchu Pisco (get it)? Today, premium brands are distilled from the wine itself, not from the residue.

    The category’s ulta-premium brand is Pisco Portón, an elegant distillate with fruit aromas and flavors; we enjoyed drinking it neat.
     
     
    HOW DO YOU DRINK PISCO?

  • Alga-Robbina: a syrup from the carob tree is the mixer.
  • Beatríz: Pisco, grenadine, cream, crème de cacao and cinnamon.
  • Biblia: Pisco, Port, egg yolk, crème de cacao, Curaçao and cinnamon.
  • Canario: Pisco with orange juice.
  • El Capitán: Pisco and red vermouth (photo #5).
  • Calentito: Pisco with hot tea and lemon.
  • Chilcano: Pisco with ginger ale, lime juice and bitters.
  • Melate: Pisco with sweet wine.
  • Pisco Punch: Pisco with pineapple juice, lime juice and sugar.
  • Pisco Sour: the national cocktail of Peru, made with lime juice, cane syrup, egg white and bitters (recipe follows).
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    RECIPE: PISCO SOUR COCKTAIL

    Peru’s national cocktail (photos #1, #2, #3) is also a favorite in the U.S.

    Ingredients For One Drink

  • 1½ ounces Pisco Portón
  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • ¼ ounce egg white
  • 1 dash bitters
  •  
    Preparation

    1. Combine first four ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake.

    2. Strain into a chilled glass. Add a dash of bitters.

     


    [1] A Pisco Sour has an egg white top and a garnish of bitters (photo © T.78UopXx licensed under CC-BY-SA-2.0).


    [2] A Pisco Sour, served glamorously at Kindred Restaurant in Davidson, North Carolina (photo © Kindred Restaurant).


    [3] The Pisco Sour’s popularity has engendered flavored versions, from berry to mango. This one is flavored with rhubarb. Here’s the recipe from Le Petit Eats (photo © Le Petit Eats).


    [5] El Capitán, a combination of Pisco and red vermouth, is sometimes referred to as a Pisco Manhattan. Here’s the recipe from Imbibe Magazine (photo by Nico Vera © Imbibe Magazine).


    [6] Pisco Portón, an “ultrapremium” brand of Pisco (photo © Pisco Pórton).

     
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    *Firewater is actually a generic term for alcoholic beverages that contain between 30% and 60% alcohol by volume—that’s 60 to 120 prove. The Spanish word is aguardiente, which means “fiery water” or “burning water.”

    Brandy originates from brandywine, the Dutch word for “burnt wine.” The spirit is named from Pisco, a town located on the coast of Peru. Often, products were named for the town from which they were shipped.

      




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