Whenever I score a new bottle of booze, I always start with a couple of classics to see how an unfamiliar brand holds up in a few familiar cocktails. When this bottle of Piscología arrived, I knew the first two cocktails I had to try were the timeless Pisco Sour and San Francisco staple, Pisco Punch.
In short, Pisco is Peruvian grape brandy (although it can also be from Chile, but we'll save that for another day). Pisco is a wonderfully versatile spirit and we love Piscología for its floral nose and tropical finish -- think ripe banana and pecan.
In his 1951 book, The South American Gentleman's Companion, Charles H. Baker begins his chapter on the Pisco Sour by stating, "Now for the Internationally famous Pisco Brandy Sour, which is by long odds South America's most famous and original mixed drink and founded on Pisco Brandy from Peru."
He goes on to share his recipe for the iconic drink and even mentions "spotting the foamy surface [of the cocktail] with 5 - 7 drops of Angostura bitters, which was the finishing touch put-on by the talented bar-maestro of the wonderful and luxurious Lima Country Club."
We're shaking our go-to adaptation of the recipe below!
- 1 egg white
- 3/4 oz lemon & lime juice (combined)
- 3/4 oz simple syrup
- 2 oz Piscologia
*Combine ingredients in a shaking tin. Dry shake (without ice), add ice, shake and strain into a chilled sour glass. Garnish with 5 drops of Angostura bitters.
Pisco had made it's way to San Francisco by the 1849 Gold Rush, largely by South American trade ships. Duncan Nicol, owner of the Bank Exchange & Billiard Saloon in San Francisco, is credited as the creator of the famous Pisco Punch. Unfortunately the Bank Exchange closed in 1919 due to Prohibition and Nicols is said to have taken the original recipe to his grave.
To this day, like many of the classics, it's a largely debated drink, and while we're not giving out our house recipe for this one, the original is said to have consisted of Pisco brandy, pineapple, lime, sugar, gum arabic, and distilled water. The punch was so strong that one writer of the day wrote “it tastes like lemonade but comes back with the kick of a roped steer.” Good luck!
Photos by Marie Buck Photography