What Cognac is to France, pisco is to Peru – a brandy distilled from grapes, not grain. In fact, Peru is the birthplace of pisco; but don’t mention that in neighboring Chile, which claims the incendiary clear brandy at its national spirit. The drink is thought to have been created from muscat grapes in the 16th century. In Peru, pisco is produced in coastal valley regions, where conditions are perfect for developing extremely sweet grapes. Unlike whiskey or gin, Peruvian pisco must be single-distilled to proof (that is no water can be added after distillation). Pisco can be sipped neat, or used in cocktails like the summertime favorite: Pisco Sour, made from pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, egg white, and bitters.

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