Summer is here and so is Pisco, the ideal spirit for the season. Actually, all seasons… but back to the matter at hand. Here is your guide to 10 innovative Pisco cocktails in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Pisco is incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks and as the base for so many cocktails, from sweet to spicy, fruity to savory and more. This Peruvian distillate, coming from 8 particular grapes, can be aromatic or non-aromatic, and always pure in its process, without any additives not even water, is a mainstay on menus in restaurants and bars around NYC and the world! Add in the craftmanship and creativity of bartenders, the resulting drinks are marvelous.

The experts say…

Perhaps start with a classic, the Pisco Sour, yet with a twist.  The influential chef José Andrésrecently shared his recipe for the vegan Pisco Sour with Ellen DeGeneres on her TV show.  Traditionally, it’s made with Pisco, simple syrup, egg whites, lime and a couple of dashes of angostura bitters.  For his new vegan version, Chef Andrés replaced the egg whites with aquafaba, which is chickpea juice.  Outstanding. Check out the recipe in his new cookbook.

The Trade Commission of Peru in NY has developed a great relationship with the famous King Cocktail, Dale DeGroff, who was one of the first bartenders to serve Pisco Sours at the Rainbow Room in Manhattan and is highly regarded today as a talented mixologist. He is also author of “The Craft of the Cocktail” book with the New York Times calling him, “one of the world’s foremost cocktail experts.”

Dale has created 3 Pisco cocktails for this summer and will present themto industry executives in June at Bar Convent Brooklyn: Blueberry Pisco Sour, Pisco Punch (his special version combines pineapple with Peruvian ginger liqueur) and Pisco Tropical Spritz, quite fresh with the inclusion of mango (see recipes below).

Dale recommends Bar Convent Brooklyn (June 11 & 12)as one of the best shows for bartenders. On Pisco, he says “it’s so versatile that you can mix it with fresh fruits, making shrubs for a more complicated version or just muddle the fresh fruit in the cocktail glass. Pisco always brings something to the party, giving bartenders a basic layer of taste and complexity to start any extraordinary cocktail.”

Pisco & the city…

For you and me, there are so many bars and restaurants serving Pisco. The hip L’Avenue at Saks Fifth Avenue, and its bar and lounge, Le Chateau, have interesting (and tasty!) Pisco cocktails on their menus. There’s also the famous Mexican restaurant Cosme in the Flatiron district or the bar at the Baccarat Hotel, on West 53rdStreet. If you prefer bars -or even speakeasies- you could try Bathtub Gin, The Dead Rabbit, Osamil Upstairs, The 18thRoom, The Wayland or Leyenda. For Peruvian inspired fusion restaurants, must visits are Nobu, Sen Sakana or -in Brooklyn- Llama Inn. There you can find the ever-popular classics, Pisco Sour, Pisco Punch, Chilcano -or Pisco Mule-, but also the latest creations their talented mixologists.

Below are just 10 Pisco cocktails to rock your spirits world.  Enjoy this summer with *Pisco spirit of Peruaround town… or pick up a bottle of Pisco at a fine liquor store and make some magic at home with your favorite fruits, mixers or simply neat. Pisco, the spirit of summer!

1. Pandanabananarama @ L’Avenue at Saks 5th Ave.: Pisco, creme de banane, pandan, lime, egg white, angostura bitters.

2. Telenovela part II @ Cosme: Pisco infused with hibiscus, Pimm’s N1, Dolin Blanc, pineapple, lime.

3. Hell-Flower @ Sen Sakana: Pisco, elderflowers liquor, lemon juice, egg whites, Hellfire bitters.

4. Dragnet @ The Dead Rabbit: Pisco, Rhum Agricole Blanc, Manzanilla sherry, tamarind, almond, watermelon, lemon, celery bitters.

5. Passion Fruit Forever @ The Bar at the Baccarat Hotel: Pisco, egg white, passion fruit and matcha green tea.

 

6. Hermoso Pisco @ Nobu 57: Pisco, lime juice, Monkfruit syrup, thyme, Tulsi Hibiscus Tea.

 

7. Tipsy Tassel @ Bathtub Gin: Pisco, Mastiha, St. Germain, almond orgeat, pressed lime & cucumber, organic egg white.

8. Bell Pepper @ Osamil Upstairs: Pisco, Aldez reposado tequila, peach liquor, bell pepper syrup, fresh lime, fish sauce.

9. Kiwipedia @ The Wayland: Pisco infused with chamomile, Italicus, kiwi, lemon, honey, egg white.

10. Snap the Magic Gimlet @ The 18th Room: Pisco infused with dill, Gin mare, sugar snap peas, lime shrub.

Boost your Pisco knowledge with these videos!