This week is Semana del Chilcano in Peru, a week for celebrating the chilcano de pisco cocktail. The drink is featured at all the restaurants and bars, and Peruvian ice cream shops even sell chilcano de pisco ice cream. A classic chilcano de pisco is made with Pisco (a unique brandy produced in Chile and Peru), ginger ale, and lime juice, and served on ice. It's not to be confused with chilcano de pescado, which is a type of fish soup.
The Pisco sour is the most well know Pisco cocktail, but the chilcano is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. According to an article about chilcanos in EL Comercio, the Lima newspaper, the chilcano cocktail might have been created by Italian immigrants in Peru, as a version of the Italian cocktail "buon giorno". Whatever its origin, the chilcano may be the best way to enjoy the unique taste of Pisco - the ginger pairs well with Pisco's fruity grape notes. Pisco is quite strong, from 60 to upwards of 80 proof, and I find it hard to taste the subtleties of the different kinds, but connoisseurs can recognize exactly which of the seven varieties of grapes (or combinations thereof) were fermented to make the pisco. Bartenders are getting creative with the cocktail - making chilcanos topped with pisco sour foam, for example, or adding flavor extras like mint and chile peppers.
Next time you're in the mood for pisco, try a chilcano instead of a pisco sour and see what you think.
Recipe: Chilcano de Pisco
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All About Pisco
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¿Cuál es el origen del chilcano? - from Peru's El Comercio
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