By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer
Pisco, just the very word creates a thirst for knowledge. As Americans, we don’t usually go to bars and ask for it… Most people don’t even know what it is!
Pisco is a distilled product from up to eight different varieties of grapes depending on the producer. These grapes happen to be less attractive for wine, yet more polished when distilled as a type of brandy. Pisco is gorgeous when accompanied by food, especially seafood. Pisco also works beautifully in creative mixology.
A popular drink for Pisco is the classic Pisco Sour. Sweet/Sour mix from 2 parts simple syrup to one part fresh lemon or lime juice is combined with an egg white along with a portion of Pisco. This drink is shaken with ice until the egg white is a foam.. then the drink is strained into a coupe. Bright green in color, if you use lime or a pale yellow if you use lemon, a Pisco Sour is a thing of rare beauty.
along with crushed ice and a bit of gum Arabic for mouth-feel. There is a new product, tangerine syrup that I’ve discovered from Fruitations in Massachusetts. They also do gorgeous cranberry syrup that just smacks of New England fruit. At any rate, the tangerine syrup from Fruitations when combined with Pisco Porton is most marvelous and thirst quenching. Of course this drink is not complete without the Absinthe wash, nor the Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters. (for balance) I complete the drink with Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water; the Pink Grapefruit adds just the right amount of lip-smacking crispness.
The Wunderkammer Cocktail (Cabinet of Curiosities)
3 oz. Pisco Portón
¼ oz. Absinthe (I used Tenneyson)
1 oz. Fruitations Tangerine Syrup
¼ oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 dashes Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
½ oz. Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water in Pink Grapefruit essence
Lemon zest cut with a knife, never a peeler!
To a Boston Shaker:
Add the Pisco Portón and the Fruitations Syrup
Fill the shaker ¾ with ice
Shake for 10 seconds
Pre-chill your coupe with the Tenneyson Absinthe and ice, pour out when chilled (preferably into your mouth, so not to waste the fine spirits)
Strain into a coupe
Add the Perrier Sparkling Water
Add the Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
Twist the lemon zest over the top
I asked Vanessa Sobers of Pisco Portón to answer some questions about this gorgeous and highly expressive spirit. Enjoy!
1. Why Pisco? What makes it unique in the market?
Porton uncompromising quality is what makes us unique. We use a “techno artisanal” process that integrates century old Peruvian Pisco making technique with modern distillation technology. Today, one of the grapes is fermented, distilled and processed using the original distillery and our new distillery takes inspiration from the original with its gravity fed process.
There are not many white spirits that can claim that they derive taste/flavor naturally, without additives. Porton can. And we have been rewarded for it. We continue to win spirit competition worldwide and to date we are the most the most awarded white spirit.
Porton adds complexity and character to cocktails and the bartending and mixology community are looking for spirits that helps them take their cocktails to the next level. With the Peruvian culinary movement taking US by storm, our genuine authenticity and our mixability; Porton is poised to continue to generate excitement and to continue to reign as the #1 pisco brand in the US.
2. What is Pisco made of? What is the history of the product?
The three grape varietals that give Portón its flavor are the Quebranta, Albilla, and Torontel grapes. These grapes are 100% from our vineyards at La Caravedo in Ica, Peru. Portón is distilled to exactly 86 Proof at Hacienda La Caravedo, the world’s oldest distillery established in 1684, in custom-made copper pot stills using the Mosto Verde method. This means that our distillate is made from 100% must (grape juice) that has not completely fermented. This serves to keep some of the natural grape sugars from converting into alcohol, thus putting more flavor and aroma into every bottle.
Porton is handcrafted in small batches and each bottle requires approximately 15pds of grape.
3. Does a company like Pisco Porton use Social Media? What are your links, Facebook? Twitter?
Yes, we do. We have focused most of our efforts are geared towards Facebook and Twitter. These are platforms for us to engage with our fans and to showcase our cocktails and events.
4. What is the best way to serve Pisco Porton? How do YOU like it best?
Pisco Portón is a highly mixable white spirit that can be added to any cocktail to take it to the next level. It gives off an earthy aroma with floral complexity and a touch of sweetness. Given its versatility and mixability, there are many ways to serve Porton…In classic Peruvian cocktails like the Pisco Sour or in a Pisco classic like the Pisco Punch. I personally, love it in the classic Pisco Punch that dates back to the 19th century. I’m a fan of it in the Porton Mate that features jalapeno peppers and most recently I was pleasantly surprised to have in a tasty warm cider prepared by a mixologist at a pre-holiday event.
5. Pisco and food. What is a good paring?
Due to earthy aroma and floral complexity, Portón pairs extremely well with seafood dishes such as Ceviche
Cheers from DrinkUpNY!
Article by Warren Bobrow, a nationally published food and spirits columnist who writes for Williams-Sonoma, Foodista and the Beekman Boys.