On the road to Pisco

On the road to Pisco: Founding director of BarSol Pisco, Diego Loret de Mola brought Dale, Leo, and Jill DeGrof and Aisha Sharpe on an unforgettable trip to Peru last month that took them from the highest point in Cuzco, all the way south along the coast to Ica, where they visited several pisco distilleries and were introduced to a dedicated group of growers who are transforming the country and producing the best Pisco ever. Here are a couple of the fabulous cocktails they were treated to by bartender Jorge La Torre Muñoz , Freddy Ramirez, Jesus Avilar, and Jose Antonio Chavez.

PISCO LOUNGE COCKTAIL

  • 2 oz. BarSol Quebranta Pisco
  • 0.5 oz. fresh passion pulp with seeds
  • 2 fresh strawberries
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar
  • Fresh Orange Juice

Preparation:
Cut strawberries in small pieces and add them to a highball glass and muddle with passion fruit pulp and sugar. Add BarSol Quebranta pisco, fresh ice cubes and top with fresh orange juice.

PISCO SOUR

  • 1.5 oz. Pisco (we recommend Barsol Pisco Quebranta)
  • .75 oz. fresh lemon
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • Several drops of Angostura Bitters
  • One small egg white

Preparation:
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a small cocktail glass. Garnish with several drops of Angostura Bitters on top of the foam.

We left the lovely posh area of San Isidro in Lima early in the morning. Passing the Parque de Amor, on the waterfront, we took the route south along the coast and over the next 4.5 hours would view many contrasts and a wide variation in terrain. After a couple of hours the land became arid, sand dunes and desolate areas with shanty towns that had sprung up haphazardly on unclaimed land in the desert, or beside a manufacturing plant. Our host, Diego Loret de Mola explained how when a community begins to establish itself beside an area of commerce, the government will eventually build roads and bring in electricity.

Evidence of last August earthquake is everywhere; with many people living in tents and makeshift corrugated shacks beside crumbled decrepit concrete remains of what had been their home. South of the desert, still traveling along the coast we eventually entered the valley of Pisco. Here it is green and no longer arid.

During the Reform from1968-1970, property was extradited from the landowners and given to the peasants who were neither trained or provided with the necessary resources to work the land efficiently. Production ceased and nothing more than sustenance farming replaced what had been productive enterprises. Twenty years later the landowners were trying to buy back their land from the peasants little by little but often this was impossible – most would not sell, so instead, producers began to buy up the arid land that was available and irrigate it and turn it into productive land.

Diego pointed out the ways in which many growers we visited had survived during Reform- although their land was confiscated, they still had their homes , around which they would plant asparagus, sugar cane, potatoes and whatever else they could survive on. Through their perseverance and hard work, these farms are beginning to thrive once again as Pisco is now making its mark in the global marketplace.


On the road to Pisco: Aisha Sharpe, Leo DeGroff

Our host, Diego Loret de Mola, and his partner Carlos Ferreyros at Bodega San Isidro, preparing to d a Pisco tasting

Pisco stills

Freddy Ramirez, Jesus Avilar, and Jose Antonio Chavez at Malabar in Lima.

Photo credit: Jill DeGroff

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