The History of Pisco

Peruvian Pisco Sour is a national cocktail that you must try as soon as you arrive to Peru. It has become a welcome drink of our country. If you want a taste, you can also try a shot of its base liquor Quebranta Pisco.

What is the history behind this Peruvian grape-based liquor?

Spaniards brought the grapevine to the New World from Europe in the 16th century. According to the records, the production of the grape brandy and its export to Spain and its colonies began in the 17th century. They also believe that locals already consumed it many years before that.

There are several theories about where the name Pisco comes from, but its origins are undeniably Peruvian. Some historians say it got its name by the port from which it was shipped. The port is located 290 km south of Lima.

Pisco means bird in Quenchua, the language of the Incas. In addition, old settlers stored alcoholic drinks in containers called Piskos, which were later also used by Spaniards. Over time, the liquor adopted the name of the container.

You might be wondering what makes Peruvian Pisco different from fruit brandy produced in other countries. The fine liquor is obtained from the distillation of fresh spirits and is produced by the fermentation of crushed grapes using methods from traditions of the Peruvian coast.

Taste is more important than aroma, therefore the grape varieties go beyond aromatic Muscat grapes. They mainly  consist of Quebranta grapes (a Peruvian variety) and a small amount of Common Black and Mollar non-aromatic grapes. You need 7 kg of grapes to make 1 liter of Pisco.

But what is the Pisco Sour? The cocktail appeared in the 20s in downtown Lima and is believed to be inspired by Whisky sour. It was prepared for the very first time at Bar Morris, which closed in 1933. You can still enjoy an original Pisco Sour at the Maury Hotel located in Ucayali Street or Bolivar Hotel in San Martin Plaza.

An important tip: Pisco Sour National Day is celebrated every February 6th. There couldn’t be a better opportunity to try this recipe.

Original Pisco Sour

3 ounces of Pisco

1 ounce of lime juice

1 ounce of cane syrup

1 egg white

6 ice cubes

1 or 2 drops of Angostura bitter

Shake the mix in a cocktail shaker until the ingredients combine and enjoy!


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