San Francisco is full of surprises and resources for cocktails, but this time it was a total discovery. I’ve been recently invited by a kind person to Pisco on Market St. and I had to share this experience. Pisco is from Peru and I’ve never heard of it before.
It was invented by Duncan Nicol at a bar named Bank Exchange at the end of the 19th century, in San Francisco, California. It is made from grapes that originated in the Viceroyalty of Peru. It was available in San Francisco since the 1830s when it was first brought from Pisco, Pery via ship by rawhide and tallow traders trading with California towns. During the California Gold Rush of 1849 the brandy was readily available in San Francisco. It was the first alcoholic beverage available in the new world.
The grapes grown are Muscat grapes. They grow on the volcanic soil in and around the port of Pisco. Pisco brandy was the first distilled spirit made in the new world. As there were no glass bottles in the 16th century, the brandy was shipped in ceramic (clay) containers sealed with beeswax. The wax marinated the brandy, giving it a half-tone of honey flavor.
At Pisco, I had the classic Pisco Sour and it as smooth as strong, you can also have it flavoured with Blackberry, ginger, basil…My favourite was the classic one. It comes with egg white which gives a tenderness to the strong basis. The bartender gave me a shot of the original alcohol used to make Pisco Sour (Quebranta) and it reminds me of Italian Grapa.
Right after this sweet cocktail testing, you can walk through the door in the same building and sit at Destino, an awesome Peruvian restaurant. The nice thing is to continue your dinner ordering Pisco sour from the bar. I tried the Ceviche and it was a blast, I had to take a second round, first time in life that I order the same meal twice!
Destino 1815 Market Street, San Francisco, CA (415) 552-4451 – Pisco 1817 Market St, San Francisco, CA (415) 874-9951