With this week’s planned Pao Pisco Pilgrimage (how’s that for alliteration?) through SF, figured I’d kick it off with a tasty recipe showcasing the primary ingredient.
This libation comes to us from my go-to resource, Chow.com
It is referred to as the “Inca Trail Cocktail,” which raises the question: Where does Pisco really come from? Peru (home to the Inca Trail) or Chile? This is a long-standing debate between Peru and Chile, who have engaged in legal battles over this claim. The verdict is still to be determined and is definitely dependent on who you ask.
The first time I tasted Pisco was back in 2003, when I lived in Santiago, Chile for 6 months. Pisco is to Chile what vodka is to the US in terms of its abundance. It is a liquor distilled from grapes, and has a yellowish/amber color that is a product of the wood-aging process. Do not be fooled by its subtle, smooth alcoholic flavor…this concoction packs a punch that is often felt too late for the inexperienced Pisco drinker. Probably a good idea to Pao Sip.
Pisco is generally served in the well-known cocktail, the Pisco Sour, a blend of pisco, lemon juice, egg whites (which add that frothy element), simple syrup and bitters. I’ve also had a Serena Sour, which is from the Northern coastal region of Chile known as La Serena – one of the prime manufacturers of Chilean pisco. The Serena Sour mixes Chilean green papaya juice that has been boiled, with pisco. SF is actually home to a third pisco beverage: Pisco Punch. Duncan Nicol invented this cocktail at the Bank Exchange in SF back in the 1800s. Its ingredients include pisco, pineapple, lime juice, sugar, gum arabic and distilled water.
As you’ll see with most Pisco cocktails, they are often blended with citrus-oriented mixers that help bring out the natural flavors of the liquor. Pisco is one of my favoriate alternatives to Tequila and can be found at a number of bars/restaurants in SF. This week I plan to test out Pisco at Pisco Latin Lounge, NOPA, and a few other spots TBD at a later time. Take a peek at the Inca Trail Cocktail recipe below. I think your palette will thank you.
Total Time: Under 5 mins
Active Time: Under 5 mins
Makes: 1 drink
2 orange slices, 1/4 inch thick
1 lime slice, 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 ounces pisco
1 ounce orange-flavored liqueur, such as Cointreau
2 to 3 dashes orange bitters
Place orange and lime slices in a Boston shaker or cocktail shaker and muddle until the pulp is broken up. Add pisco, orange-flavored liqueur, and bitters and fill the shaker with ice. Pour between the shaker and a glass 2 to 3 times to incorporate all ingredients.
Pour into a large (8-ounce) rocks glass and serve.