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25 October 2012 / leggypeggy

Pisco, Peru’s national beverage

Pots for pisco

Pisco being aged

No trip to the Pisco Region of Peru is complete without a side trip to a pisco vineyard.

This grape brandy has been being produced in Peru and Chile since the 16th century when Spanish settlers developed it as an alternative to a brandy being shipped from Spain.

The first vineyards were planted in Peru, with plants from the Canary Islands. There is plenty of disagreement about the origin of the name pisco. It may be named after a town, a river, a bay, a valley, a Quechua word for bird or a Spanish word for mud container. The latter has some merit in that the vineyard we visited still ages its pisco in earthenware pots.

Pisco vineyard

Pisco vineyard

Bottled pisco

Plenty of pisco choices

Peru claims the exclusive right to the use of the pisco label name (in the way that France holds the exclusive right to use the term champagne), but large-market countries such as the USA, Mexico, Canada and Australia allow Chilean products to be identified as ‘Chilean pisco’.

Our visit included a tasting of various kinds of pisco, including some already mixed to cocktail stage.

I was tempted to buy a bottle of a pre-made pisco sour which is, not surprisingly, the sourest of them all. This drink is Peru’s national cocktail and is prepared with egg white, lime juice, simple syrup and bitters.

Many years ago, our dear friend, Ken, introduced us to pisco sours. I had forgotten that they were so tasty, but I won’t forget again.


Leave a Comment
  1. Rhonda Vang / Oct 25 2012 7:25 am

    Oooh – lucky you. I love Pisco Sours! It was the first thing I thought of when you mentioned going to Pisco. 🙂 Our good friend Alan who grew up in Peru, introduced me to them – after making absolutely sure that I really do like sour lemon. Hey, I regularly ate whole lemons from the tree when I was little. Bring them on!.


    • leggypeggy / Oct 25 2012 7:38 am

      I can see we’ll have to arrange a pisco sour afternoon.


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