What is Pisco?

Most people have tasted or heard of Pisco. Well, if you have not, don’t worry just read on. What is pisco? Pisco is a clear or amber-colored brandy produced from grapes. It has its origin in Chile and Peru. Pisco is one of the best liquors in the world produced from the distillation of grape wine. It was made as a substitute of a pomace brandy (orujo) by the Spanish settlers in the 16th century.

Pisco is produced in two varieties; Peruvian, from Peru, and Chilean, from Chile. The two types are radically distinct, from the grape varieties to the processing. Peru and Chile both claim pisco as their national drink and pride, but both countries have a sour war over the brandy. What’s the debate all about?

Which country can rightly claim Pisco as its own? This is the core subject of the debate. Peru and Chile dispute over the association of the term “Pisco” with the aguardiente produced in Peru’s Viceroyalty. Peru claims that pisco was named after the port city of Pisco in the Ica Valley, which was home for the first vineyards planted by the Spanish settlers.
Rodolfo Lenz, a Chilean linguist, hypothesises that the term “Pisco” originated from Quechua connotative with a bird. Mario Ferreccio, a Chilean linguist, disputes Lenz’s claim and theorises that the term pisco originally meant a mud container. The clay jugs, which were lined with beeswax and used to store and transport pisco, are also called pisco or pisquillos.

The two countries also debate over which pisco variety tastes best and which pisco sour is superior. To me both pisco varieties taste pretty good.
How do you drink pisco? The beverage can be enjoyed in many different ways and recipes. Most people tame the brandy into special cocktails such as the pisco punch, pisco sour, Algarrobina, serena libre and pisco flip, and others drink it straight. Moreover, pisco can be mixed with other drinks such as canario, piscola and pisco sorpresa.

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