Pisco is a liquor distilled from Muscat grapes and is considered the national drink of Chile.
There is a debate as to whether Pisco has its origins in Peru or Chile. While we are unable to clearly define a winner we will comment that Peruvian Pisco has a very bold alcohol flavour while Chilean Pisco has a much stronger sweet grape overtone.
A pisco sour is the most common way to drink it in cocktail form. It is made with lemon juice, powdered sugar and ice cold pisco. Commonly made with whisked egg whites for the froth on top, it is always served in a champagne glass. We recommend that you start every great Chilean dinner with a glass, although after two the drink seems to lose its light freshness. A relatively new phenomenon in Chile is the mango sour, a much sweeter version of the pisco sour. It is possible to buy both in premixed forms at supermarkets, although the taste doesn't compare with the freshly made drink.
If you are out clubbing in Santiago or at a local barbecue, chances are you will be sipping down piscolas, a basic combination Pisco and Cola. A less common combination is served with ginger ale. Piscola can be a deadly combination for new tourists as the alcohol ratio is much higher here than in the United States, most of Europe, Australia or New Zealand. Don't be surprised to find your glass more than half filled with Pisco and then topped up with Cola. In some cases your entire glass is filled with Pisco and ice and you have a small bottle of cola on the side to add to it. The problem is that there's no space for it in the glass so you have to start sipping pure pisco to make some room for the cola (or ask for another glass, but that's cheating)!
Some Chileans sip Pisco neat or on the rocks, but we have yet to meet any foreigners who drink it this way.
To learn about the Pisco making process while in Chile go to the Elqui Valley located just a few hours north of Santiago where they have a number of Pisco factories.
Did you know that the 15th of May is officially the national day of Pisco in Chile!
Coming soon... a Pisco Sour recipe. But first we have to experiment as many as possible to see which combination is the best and then pass it on to you... (the sacrifices we have to make).
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