Pisco, Wine's Bold Little Sister

September 28, 2018

South American viniculture is growing in popularity. Peru's signature liquor only enhances the trend.

As wineries in Chile in Argentina develop unique and innovative winetasting experiences, and malbec mania infiltrates wine lists around the globe, Peru has brought its own distilled grapes to the potluck. In true Peruvian style, this offering takes a step back from stuffy, and places focus on interaction and fun.

Pisco is a native-Peruvian liquor distilled from grapes, originating in the Pisco region, just south of Lima. Technically a brandy, pisco is in a class of its own. It is hard to compare to any other liquor in terms of taste, although it goes down smooth, as would a fine sipping whiskey. It is the main ingredient in the Pisco Sour, a potent, palate-pleasing cocktail and national drink of Peru. The clear alcohol comes in several subtle varieties depending on the grape used, and each variation is preferred by connoisseurs depending on what, if anything, it will be mixed with.

Bartenders and grandmothers across the country create a rainbow of flavors by soaking various fruits, spices, and peppers in the liquor for months before serving. Informed travelers can find a few pisco bars in Lima where the walls are shelved and stocked as if in a cannery, or a mad scientist’s pickling laboratory. Hefty glass jars suspend myriad mysterious food products in liquor that slowly starts to take on the various colors and flavors of its additive. Pisco tasting can be informally conducted at any such venue, however the true culinary explorer (or traveler with a special liking for libations) will want to head south to a vineyard and distillery for the full experience.

An ideal exploration of Peruvian pisco begins in Lima, where luxury boutique hotel Atemporal’s experience concierge can give the first lesson on pisco grapes and distillation process as well as provide guests with an itinerary of the best local bars and eateries in the city – avoiding the tourists, indulging in the authentic. Ask Ricardo for an in-house, how to Pisco tasting before you head out to explore Lima’s hidden gems.

When traveling to Peru, there are certain things that are absolute must-do experiences. One is wandering the twisting terraces of Machu Picchu. Another is indulging in a freshly prepared plate of ceviche. On that same level, is savoring a tangy pisco sour, and learning a bit about the beverage that Peruvians hold so dear to their hearts.

To find out more about pisco in Lima, contact Atemporal at reservations@atemporal.pe or call +51-1-700-5106 or, if you are in the US, 1-347-713-7030/34.

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