Pisco (full name: Aguardiente de Pisco) is Peru's national drink and the pride and joy of every Peruvian. Pisco is a Peruvian grape brandy with an alcohol content of 38% and 48%.
It's distilled from grapes grown only in the regions of Lima, Ica, Arequipa, Moquegua or Tacna.
Some Pisco history
The first grapevines came to Peru when the Spaniards conquered the New World in the 16th century. Due to the favorable climate along the southern Peruvian coast, the grapes prospered and soon a significant wine industry developed in the region.
According to records, Pisco is produced in Peru since the 17th century by fermenting crushed grapes and then distilling the fermented grape juice in copper pot stills. After distillation, the Peruvian Pisco ages at least 3 months in vessels that won’t alter the flavor, such as the traditional amphorae called piskos or today as well stainless or glass containers.
Peruvian Pisco is never diluted with water; no sugar or other additives are added to change the original alcohol level or flavor. It is mostly colorless; sometimes it has a slightly amber tone.
The most popular cocktail made from Pisco is the famous Pisco Sour, a delicious combination of Pisco, lime juice, egg white and syrup. An absolute must for every Peru visitor!
Four main types of Peruvian Pisco
- Pisco Puro is made from one single grape variety, such as Quebranta, Mollar or Negra Criolla. It’s very dry and mostly used for cocktails and mixed drinks.
- Pisco Aromático is only produced from one single grape variety, such as Muscat, Moscatel, Italia or Torontel. It is very fruity, with an intense flavor. This Pisco variety makes a great apéritif.
- Mosto Verde Pisco is usually made of Quebranta or Italia grapes and has a much higher sugar content than other Pisco types, as it is distilled before all the sugar content in the grape juice turned to alcohol. The interruption of the fermentation process creates a very rich and smooth aroma. The sophisticated production process makes it the most expensive Pisco that should be enjoyed in its pure form.
- Pisco Acholado is created from a mix of two or more grape varieties. Each blend tastes differently depending on used grapes and blending process. Pisco acholado is very tasteful and often drunk as shot.