Peru is so proud of its famous Pisco grape brandy that it boasts two national holidays: Pisco Sour Day on the first Saturday of February, and National Pisco Day on the fourth Sunday of July. This year, it falls on July 22nd.
Pisco, the only brandy made from pure grape juice as opposed to the skins and pressing, is aromatic with a complex taste. Pisco grew in popularity and renown during the 16th & 17th centuries as the Peruvian Viceroyalty became South America´s main wine producer, thanks to the robust production of Ica in the fertile Pisco Valley. As time passed, the production of Peruvian grape brandy increased. The Jesuits hawked it throughout Peru, and when the famous pirate Sir Francis Drake took hostages from the Port of Pisco in the 16th century, he extorted a handsome ransom of 300 bottles. Today, it is the national drink and a component of the country’s most iconic cocktail, the Pisco Sour.
You can toast the capital (after all, this is the week of Peru’s Independence Day!) by sampling a glass from the Plaza Mayor’s fountain. On this day, rather than water, it will be spouting more than 2000Lt of Pisco. It’s a unique way of celebrating the day, so stop by and, resisting the urge to jump in, have a taste.
Drinks will be flowing all over Lima, so look for freebies from promoters in the parks and plazas as well as half-priced specials in the bars and restaurants. Cusco is an excellent city for Pub Crawling, since most of the major bars and clubs are concentrated around the Plaza de Armas. If you’re interested in getting a group together, let them know in reception so we can go en masse!
3. Mix Your Own at the Hostels!
If you feel like staying in and testing your bartending skills, take advantage of our self-catering kitchens in our hostel locations to experiment a bit with the most classic Pisco cocktails!
- Pisco Sour: Pisco, Lime, Cane Syrup, Egg White, Ice, and Aromatic Bitters
- Canario: Pisco with orange juice.
- Capitán: Aromatic Pisco with Vermouth.
- Beatríz: Pisco, Granadine Syrup, Cream, Cinnamon & Cacao cream
- Melate: Sweet Wine & Pisco
- Biblia: Pisco, Port, Egg Yolk, Cacao Cream, Curasao, Cinnamon & Ice
- Calentito: Pisco with lemon & hot tea
- Chilcano: Aromatic Pisco with Ginger Ale, Aromatic Bitters, Lime & Ice
- Pisco Punch: Pineapple, Lime Juice, Sugar, Acacia, Distilled Water
…..If things don’t work out, those of you staying in hostels with in-house bars such as Pirwa Inclan B&B, Pirwa Prada Backpackers, Pirwa Colonial Backpackers, and Pirwa Puno Backpackers have an easily accessible back-up plan at good prices!