Peruvian Drinks

Peru produces an enviable quantity and variety of fruits, and with the help of innovative experts, so many exotic combinations have been produced that its hard to know where to start!

Besides restaurants and cafés, small juice shops can be found in cities and markets, as well as specialized chains in the capital’s districts and provinces.

Corn represents a historic and basic raw material and is included in the preparation of drinks like the traditional “chicha de jora” and the creole drink “chicha morada”.

“Chicha de jora” is made from corn fermented with fruits, and was used by ancient Peruvians in special ceremonies, while “chicha morada” is made from corn boiled with fruits and mixed with sugar and lemon to taste.

Pisco and Pisco Sour

Pisco is the national drink of Peru, a spirit made from grapes that emerged in these lands during the colonial era, after the Spanish introduced the first vineyards in the country.

The word ‘pisco’ forms part of the name of a large number of Peruvian towns, counties and hamlets, such as Piscohuasi or Piscopampa. From mid-way through the 16th century, the Spanish began using the name “pisco” to describe a river, a town and a port south of Lima.

The first reports of the production of this grape spirit in Peru can be traced back to the start of the 17th century. Today “pisco” is only produced on the coast (up to 2,000 masl – 6,562 fasl) in the departments of Lima, Ica, Arequipa, Moquegua and Tacna with the aim of protecting the designation of origin.

A long list of cocktails are based on “pisco”. However, the most emblematic is the “pisco sour”, an entirely Peruvian drink that combines the taste of grapes with the sharp acidity of lemon.

Pisco can be enjoyed on its own or in a long list of cocktails, including Chilcano, Algarrobina or – most emblematic of all – Pisco Sour.

The basic “pisco sour” recipe uses home-made sugar syrup:

Ingredients:

To make the syrup:

  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 3 spoonfuls of water

To make the drink:

  • 7 1/2 ounces (225 ml.) pisco
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 1/2 ounces (75 ml.) of lemon juice
  • Ice.

To serve:

  • Angostura Bitters

Preparation:

Syrup:

  • Put 1/2 cup of sugar in a small pot with three spoonfuls of water, just enough to dampen the sugar. Cook on a slow fire, stirring with a spoon, until the sugar is entirely dissolved. Take it off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.

Pisco Sour:

  • Add the lemon juice and the “pisco” to the warm syrup and beat firmly until the ingredients have been mixed well. Pour the mixture into the blender and add ice until the liquid volume has been doubled.
  • Blend at top speed for approximately 30 seconds, until the ice has completely dissolved. Add an egg white and blend again at top speed for 1 minute. Pour the mixture into a jar and serve immediately, in “old-fashioned” glasses or in white wine glasses. Traditionally, a drop of Angostura Bitters is added to each glass, in the middle of the foam.
  • The basic mix is 3 parts “pisco” for 1 part lemon juice and 1 part syrup, proportions which can be used to multiply the recipe as many times as needed.

Tip: For a stronger drink, add a quart (38 oz) of Pisco. If you want a softer drink, add a bit more syrup.

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