A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg
I wasn’t too familiar with Pisco (defined by Wikipedia as a colorless or yellowish-to-amber colored grape brandy produced in winemaking regions of Peru and Chile) last fall, when someone gave me a bottle of KAPPA Pisco, a new Chilean Pisco from the House of Marnier-Lapostolle, producers of Grand Marnier. But since then, this exotic beverage has been showing up more and more. Especially in Montecito, where it’s behind the bar at Cava Restaurant and Bar and the Biltmore’s Ty Lounge and on the shelves at The Bottle Shop, among others.
A Pisco Sour is the Peruvian national cocktail, prepared with egg white, lime juice, simple syrup, and bitters. (Do we have one of those? How can I get on the national cocktail committee?) The Chilean version of a Pisco Sour sometimes has no bitters. And keep in mind, as Epicurious bartender Ryan McGrale writes, “Chilean and Peruvian Piscos are not interchangeable. Chilean Pisco is sweeter and has a slightly lower proof. So if you use the Peruvian stuff, adjust the amount of lemon juice and simple syrup accordingly. Both kinds are available at many good liquor stores.
Chilean Amargo bitters are virtually impossible to buy in the U.S., but easy-to-find Angostura Bitters make an acceptable substitute. They are “sharper and spicier, go a little lighter on the bitters if you’re using Angostura.”
KAPPA Pisco offers a recipe for a variation called the KAPPA Rico:
1 ½ oz KAPPA Pisco
1 oz Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
¾ oz fresh lemon juice or fresh lime juice
¼ oz simple syrup
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Shake vigorously and strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Terrific for a sunny afternoon, as is their KAPPA Krush:
2 oz KAPPA Pisco
4 lemon chunks (quartered half lemon)
2 tsp raw sugar
In a shaker, muddle lemons and grapes with sugar. Then add KAPPA Pisco and fill mixing glass with partially cracked ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a rocks glass over crushed ice. Garnish with halved grapes.
Another variation is this Pisco Smash from Food & Wine chef Nick Fauchald, also quite delicious and refreshing.
Click here for more cocktail corner columns.
When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”