The astonishing boom of Peruvian cuisine brought many new ingredients and flavors to the gastronomic stage for the pleasure of palates worldwide. The eternal human seek for the new has seduced travelers from many countries to taste this blessing produced in brewing houses all around the south. Dive into the exquisite route of Pisco, our signature drink.
A brief history of Pisco
Grapes were originally grown in the European continent, therefore the taste of wine came to South America through Spanish conquerors. The first vineyards and related businesses in the new Viceroyalty of Peru date from 1560, just a few years late of the arrival of the invaders. These lands turned to be such a blessing for the seeds of grapes and by the year of 1570, the first evidences of its distillation point out to the former Santa Maria Magdalena port, later renamed to Port of Pisco.
Written records from European chroniclers and journalists in 18th and 19th centuries portray the apogee of the industry reaching vast areas of fertile lands and also the decline of its production due to restriction of exportation and the earthquake of 1687.
The route includes a controversy on the origin of the name of this drink between Peru and Chile. Both countries have produced this beverage since 16th century, both with their own denomination of origin. In the case of Peru, the old port name and the large clay vessels called pisco, depicted in walls of bars, are the roots their claim.
Nowadays, five regions of Peru are authorized to raise pisqueras grapes and distil this unique spirit with no watering down techniques. From north to south, Lima, Ica, Arequipa, Moquegua and Tacna have been established as official denomination of origin. Each year more than 35 million liters are produced, and now, you will be part of this aromatic world.
Inside the soul of a signature drink
First of all, you should have some basic knowledge of this emblematic beverage. Let’s start with the barebones: the four types.
- Puro. The pure type is distilled from just one single variety of grape. Pure flavors in these bottles are a good first step to learn to distinguish between the different grape varieties.
- Aromático. Muscat, Italia and Torontel grapes feature this type, and it is recognized by strong and moving fragrance.
- Mosto Verde. This type is distilled before fermentation, and must is partially fermented. Elegance and a great variety of flavors are their special features.
- Acholado. Cholo is a colloquial word that represents the mix of races and inheritances in the land of the Incas, thus so does acholado. Different grapes are fermented together combining the best of each to accomplish the balance of flavor and aroma.
Stops of the Route in Lima
Where can you have the best Pisco? As any liquor, this depends on the distiller, the grape, and yourself. However, you do not need to be an expert to surrender your senses to the charms of this beverage. Be observant, open your mind to new experiences, listen to the stories and meet the yellowish product of pisqueras grapes in the following places.
- Gran Hotel Bolivar. How to say no to the cradle of the Pisco Sour? One of the landmarks in Lima downtown offers a large tradition of this liquor and other beverages in just one spectacular glass. If you feel brave enough, ask for Catedral, twice the size of the regular serve of sour. Old stories from celebrities like Orson Welles will accompany your stay in the bar of this elegant hotel.
- Hilton Miraflores. The aura of luxury in every ambiance of this hotel can also be found the bar. Carefully crafted Pisco experiences are waiting for you by an attentive bartender as all the staff in this establishment in Lima.
- Museo del Pisco. The walls of this bar are full of the history of the signature drink. The options are such an honor for mixology, in which diverse ingredients of the regions of the country mix together with the fruit of must. Tasting and cocktail classes are available for inquisitive travelers. A must in your route.
- Ayahuasca Resto Bar. The exoticness of the name contrasts with the colonial mansion where it resides. Fruit juices and extracts of herbs from the Andes and the Amazonas complementing the wide range of flavors of the Peruvian gift of grapes.
The blessing mixed
Local creativity is fully demonstrated in every sip. The following list will show you what to expect in your next visit to Lima.
- Pisco Sour. Made with egg white, lime juice, simple syrup and bitters. Powdered cinnamon and a slice of lemon will add elegance to your order.
- Chilcano. Classic drink combining ginger ale. Personalized mixes can include hot pepper, blood orange, pineapple or grapefruit.
- Machupicchu. Born in the highlands in Cusco city, a base of Pisco with layers of grenadine, orange juice and crème de menthe make a delight for sweet lovers.
- Coctel de Algarrobina. Algarrobo tree from northern Peru joins this cocktail along cinnamon, egg yolk and cream.
- Te Piteado. A light drink where hot tea with other herbs and lime juice, spice up a traditional tea-time beverage into a smooth spirit. Perfect to warm up after a walk in the streets of Andean cities with friends.
As you can imagine, this realm is wider than just a single route in Lima. This article just covered Lima, however your taste buds will crave more after this tour. If traveling means experiencing foreign cultures, this is an activity certainly for you. Ask our travel experts for the Pisco Route in your days in Lima and fall in love with the beloved Peruvian signature drink.