Thursday, August 14, 2008

Destination Peru #2: Pisco and Our New Super Drink

Arriving in Lima, my family met up with our airport pick-up. We had a semi-tour, several days and meals on our own, with transportation services to our destinations and occasional guided tours. Our guide in Lima introduced us briefly to some sites around the city and also Peru's role as a culinary mecca in South America. More on that in the following entries. But today, my focus is on Peru's treasured nectar.

The national drink is Pisco, a brandy-like liquor distilled from grapes. It's got quite a kick at 43% alcohol, but it's deceptively sweet and delicious. It even has Denominacion de Origen protection, the Spanish equivalent of the Protected Destination of Origin label for Champagne. At our first hotel, Hotel Embajadores in the affluent suburb of Miraflores, we received vouchers for free Pisco Sours at the bar. This cocktail, a combination of Pisco, lemon or lime juice, simple syrup, egg whites and bitters has a distinctive look. The egg whites creating a foam that sits above the liquid and a few drops of bitters that float on the cloud of foam. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of it, but rest assured I will one day make one myself and upload the picture here.

On my return from Peru, I bought two bottles of Pisco, one for myself and one as a gift at the duty-free stores. If you're curious, you're allowed to bring up to 3 litters of alcohol through US customs. Last night I had dinner with my old and new roommate at Restaurant 2117 and came back to my apartment to make some drinks. Besides finishing off a bottle of Nanbu-Bijin sake at the restaurant, I suggested we try to make cocktails out of my new bottle of Pisco. Remember, you saw it here first, created by Aaron Chan, Azriel Ghadoosashy and Abhijeet Joshi. Introducing the Piscaloe Vera (aka Verde Vera):

1 part Pisco
4-5 parts Korean Aloe Vera drink with pulp

There it is, simple and effective! We're relatively sure we're the first people ever to mix these two together and so we claim naming rights. As a variation, you can also mix any alcohol with the aloe vera drink and create Vokda Veras, Sake Veras, Rum Veras, etc.

So next time you're in Peru, or Chile apparently, try a Pisco sour. Remember, it's stronger than you think.


gourmetpigs said...

I had soo much pisco sour when I was in Peru, it was amazing! (naturally I also brought a bottle or two back with me ..)
I wish I can also find the Cusquena Negra in the US though

Aaron said...

I only had a Cusquena which I found too light for my tastes. I don't remember seeing the Cusquena Negra. I'll have to try that next time I'm in the country.