PISCO: Brandy of Peru & Chile


Pisco is a South American brandy that’s exported from both Peru and Chile.  Both countries claim to be the original producers and the 400-year-old debate continues today.  At the time of its creation, what now is Chile was part of Peru.


After Spanish conquistadors arrived in South America, they discovered that the Peruvian valleys south of Lima would be ideal for grape growing. They planted various grapes from Spain because after all, they had to have their wine after all that conquering (sarcasm inserted here). The grapes are fermented and then distilled into the potent spirit.

It must be aged for a minimum of three months in vessels made of copper, glass or stainless steel, which cannot alter the natural flavor.  Peruvian pisco must be bottled directly after aging, without any additives or dilution and must have an alcohol content between 38 – 48% (76* to 96* proof). In Chile, pisco is sometimes mixed with distilled water to reach the desired alcohol content.


There are four categories of pisco, made from eight varieties of grapes:

1) Pisco puro is made only from black, nonaromatic grapes. These were the original grapes brought over from Spain.

2) Pisco aromático is made from one of four more fruity and aromatic varieties: muscatél, italia, albilla, and torontél.

3) Pisco acholado is made from a blend of a nonaromatic grape and one or more of the aromatic varieties.

4) Pisco mosto verde is made from partially fermented grapes. Pisco puro and pisco acholado are the varieties most often used to make pisco sours.


Tons of cocktails include Pisco but the most famous is the Pisco Sour:


  • 3 ounces pisco
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ounce key lime juice
  • 1 egg white
  • Angostura bitters (2-3 dashes)
  • Ice cubes


  1. Mix the pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add ice, shake, strain into an old-fashioned glass, and sprinkle the Angostura bitters on top of the foam.
  3. Drink ASAP.

Doesn’t this look super refreshing?  Try it some time!