With more Peruvian restaurants in New York City comes more Peruvian cocktails. With more Peruvian cocktails comes more happy hours at Peruvian restaurants. Here are my recommendations.
I randomly met Romina Puente-Arnao at a famed fried yucca stand in Lima, Peru’s Mercado Palermo earlier this year while filming for the Travel Channel’s Street Eats International and was excited to learn that she was helping launch her family’s pisco label in the United States this year. While most Peruvian piscos are far less mass produced than those in Chile, the brands that have made the trip north thus far are some of the largest labels and are no longer family owned and operated, which is a generally a defining characteristic of Peru’s, mostly small batch, piscos. The brand is called Capurro Pisco in the US and Nazca Pisco in Peru. While Nazca Pisco has been around for decades in Peru, Capurro just launched in Miami this September and has plans to make its way up the East Coast later this year. It’s a much needed addition to the American Pisco market. Puente-Arnao was kind enough to give us a detailed story of Capurro:
To understand Pisco Porton, you must first understand Mosto Verde Pisco. Pisco Porton is probably the most highly anticipated pisco to hit the US market in the past few years, amid a slew of other new Peruvian pisco brands. It’s crafted by Master Distiller Johnny Schuler (considered a top pisco expert in Peru) at Hacienda la Caravedo in Ica (the oldest distillery in the Americas). It is the only pisco readily available on the US market to be Mosto Verde.
Besides the Pisco Sour, Algarobbina, and Chilcano, the El Capitán (the Captain) is one of the most common Pisco based cocktails you will find in Peru. There is no exact date that the cocktail can be traced back to in Peru, though it was likely created by Italian immigrants in Lima with the arrival of vermouth (Cinzano Rosso) in 1854. The name, as the legend goes, is derived from military captains who rode on horseback in the altiplano near Puno and asked for a drink of pisco mixed with vermouth. Basically, the El Capitán is the Pisco version of a Manhattan.
At Cusco restaurant Limo Cocina Peruana & Pisco Bar I sampled this fruity cocktail that has quite a powerful kick thanks to the Aji Limo, a flavorful Peruvian chile pepper.
Ten years ago there were no good restaurants in Cusco, Peru. About five years ago came along Cicciolina, Map Café, and Inka Grill. Two years ago came Rafael Osterling’s Bistrot 370 and Gaston Acurio’s Chi Cha. Now it’s Coque Ossio’s Limo, which I consider on par with Bistrot 370 as the best restaurant in Cusco.
The Pisco Sour is the national drink of both Peru and Chile and who makes the better cocktail is fiercely debated among both countries. In Chile, the drink isn’t blended, but shaken, lacks egg whites, and is served in a flute. Chilean Pisco is also sweeter.
Living in Peru has a translation of an article from Lima, Peru’s El Comercio newspaper about Johnny Schuler, the founding member and president of the National Tasters Guild of Peru and a member of the Peruvian Academy of Pisco, who is part of a big pisco project in Ica that is being targeted at… Read More →
I’ve never liked tomatoes much, even though I was born in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, the birthplace of the tomato (debatable). I think it has something to do with my Italian mother serving us Spaghetti with marinara sauce three times a week. However, I’ve become accustomed to Bloody Mary’s at Sunday brunches in Brooklyn. It’s such a pick me up after a late night, though I’ve searching long and hard for some sort of an alternative sans tomato. A sort of green drink Bloody Mary.
The Chilcano de Pisco is one of Peru’s classic cocktails, right up there with the Pisco Sour and Algarobbina. For many foreigners visiting Peru, it is the drink that starts their love for Pisco and is one of the easiest pisco based cocktails to make.