The Pisco Sour got its start in Lima in the 1920s. Like 99% of all things in Peru, an alternate origin story gives credit to Chile. But the frothy egg white Pisco Sour loved the world over is 100% Peruvian.
Pisco is a clear 38-48% ABV brandy grown and distilled around Ica, Peru.
Fun fact: producing 1 litre of wine takes 1.5 kg of grapes; 1 litre of Pisco requires 6–8 kg
The word Pisco comes from pishku, Quechua for bird. In the 16th century Colonial growers began exporting their brandy back to Spain from the Port of Pisco, and the name stuck. The town of Pisco was all but leveled in a 2007 earthquake, and the region has yet to fully recover. We visited some Pisco producers whose vineyards resemble those in Napa Valley, but the surrounding terrain is much more desert-like.
There are two main types of Peruvian Pisco: Pisco Puro (non-aromatic Pisco made from common black grapes) and Pisco Aromatico (from Italia grapes). Pisco Aromatico is more enjoyable to drink neat, while Pisco Puro was made for the Pisco Sour.
Enough history, let’s drink.
Peruvian Pisco Sour Recipe
4 oz Pisco
1 ounce lime juice (key lime or Peruvian limon if you have them)
1 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce egg white
1. In order, combine … Read More »
Pisco Sour, the national drink of Lima.
It’s hard to think of a more ubiquitous city–drink pairing than Lima and the Pisco Sour.
The traditional Peruvian Pisco Sour combines Peruvian Pisco, lime juice, egg whites, simple syrup, bitters, and ice. In a bizarre twist, bartenders across Lima mix their signature renditions in a blender and not by hand in a martini shaker. We can’t say we condone their behaviour, but we can’t say it stopped us from drinking our fair share either.
You can sip on a Pisco Sour at just about every corner bar in Lima. But if you’re looking for a true cocktail bar experience, these five spots are for you.
1. Bar Inglés at the Country Club Lima Hotel
The one to write your grandma about; she probably has a great story about her visit
Blame all the Great Gatsby ads circulating Lima, but we couldn’t resist a trip to Bar Inglés at the Country Club Lima Hotel.
Bar Inglés is steeped in Pisco Sour history and lore. The Pisco Sour was invented just down the road by American ex-pat Victor Morris. After Morris lost his good health, good bartenders, and ultimately his bar and Pisco Sour Empire, the competition took over. Today, Hotel Lima Country Club and … Read More »
You say tomato, I say tomahto. We say ceviche, Peruvians say cebiche. In Peru ceviche/cebiche rules supreme.
Apart from its omnipresence, the defining flavour in Peruvian ceviche/cebiche is its evocatively named marinade, leche de tigre. Since time eternal, Peruvian men have devoured heaping plates of ceviche/cebiche and then taken their plates in both hands and gulped down the remains, believing that the so-called tiger’s milk gave them superhuman vigor and sexual prowess. The notion (coupled with the fact that it’s damn delicious) became so popular that cevicherias started serving leche de tigre on its own as a shot or full glass.
When we first rolled into Lima, we didn’t know it was the norm but were instinctively drawn to drain our plates. Odd as it sounds, the fishy, limy, runny cream really draws you in.
Peruvian ceviche/cebiche includes all the basics (fresh fish, salt, lime, black pepper, chile pepper (traditionally aji limo), garlic, and onion). But the “leche” aspect of leche de tigre gets a little controversial. Every chef has an opinion on what makes the best marinade and therefore the best leche de tigre. For some evaporated milk is the way to go. Others say that puréeing the lime, garlic, fish stock, and onion is enough to create the desired milky effect. (Using fish stock … Read More »
Ceviche is the Peruvian national lunch. In Lima, we could (did, and will continue to) eat it morning, noon, and night. Here are five of our favourite spots to enjoy the real deal.
1. Canta Rana, Barranco
Located in Lima’s bohemian Barranco district, aka our favorite neighborhood in Lima, Canta Rana is one part cevicheria, one part sports bar (there’s only one 27” TV from 1991, but good luck getting a table on game day).
Canta Rana has been a neighbourhood stronghold for over 25 years. It has all the trappings of true institution: sky-high walls decorated with endless newspaper clippings and (possibly priceless) sports memorabilia; career waiters and waitresses that move through the crowded dinning room like ballerinas; and the Argentine owner who no longer heads the kitchen, but is always on hand to greet pretty ladies with a kiss (at least Natalie always gets one).
Like clockwork locals and tourist line up daily at 11 am for a lunch rush that lasts long into the afternoon. This cevicheria screams authenticity and has you yelling over flavorful food and atmosphere.
The Canta Rana menu can be intimidating. With hundreds of dishes to choose from we took the “order now, ask questions later” approach. We can recommend the Ceviche Mixto, Camarones Ajillo or … Read More »
What do you get the man who has nothing, and likes it that way? An action-packed, boy toy filled day in Peru’s desert oasis, Huacachina.
Coastal Peru is a total desert. With its emerald lagoon and native palm trees, Huacachina is a literal oasis. 5km from the Pisco and business center of Ica, Huacachina is many weird and wonderful things, namely southern Peru’s adventure capital and a very cool venue for Cliff’s 29th birthday.
Like many things in Peru, lore prescribes healing powers to the lagoon’s green waters. But most visitors skip the eerie oversized puddle and divide their time between their hostel/hotel pool and the adrenalin-charged activities that abound on Huacachina’s sprawling sand dunes.
We pulled together our entire day through local tour company Desert Nights, the only game in town that lets you pilot your own vehicle across the Huacachina dunes. Through google searches, Desert Nights appears a simple restaurant, but they also rent quads, book dune buggies, and supply sand boards. Just like a mullet: restaurant business in the front, dunes party in the back.
They took our cash (but didn’t bother with credit card insurance), hooked us up with a “guide”, and sent us off into the noonday sun at full throttle.
Good, hot and sandy, we snuck into a … Read More »