Pisco: Perú vs. Chile

Pisco tasting in Chile’s Elqui Valley.

I may never be allowed into Perú again for what I’m about to say.

I like Chile’s pisco sours better than Perú’s. Yes. Perú may have better food, but Chile takes the gold for this fiery grape brandy.

It’s a touchy subject. Perú and Chile rival each other in more ways than one. From territory disputes and battles lost, the two countries have a simmering rivalry.  And pisco is a matter of national pride for both countries.

To be fair, the Spanish  originally brought the grapes to Perú and began making pisco there. But they also began making pisco in what’s now Chile. Both countries claim pisco as their national drink. (Nowadays, Chile is the main exporter of this potent liquor.)

However, after trying the pisco sour, both country’s signature cocktail, I realized that they’re very different. From the way the pisco is made to the very ingredients in the cocktail, you can barely call it the same drink.

Anyway, some photos from my field research…

A Chilean pisco sour

A Peruvian pisco sour

Distilling pisco in Chile’s Elqui Valley region.

Pisco bottled by hand in Chile’s Elqui Valley. “Fuego”, on the right, is sold exclusively in Chile. 40 Pisco is exported internationally.

Chilean pisco sour recipe:

  • 3 ounces of Chilean pisco
  • 1 ounce of lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 egg white 
  • 3-4 ice cubes

Put everything into a blender and blend on high speed until ice is crushed. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Salud!

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