Friday, February 15, 2013

Thinking of Drinking: Pisco Sour

February is Pisco Sour Month and shortly after National Pisco Sour Day, which occurs the first Saturday of February, The Embassy of Peru, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) held their annual "Pisco Sour Day" on the terrace of the Inter-American Development Bank.

Pisco Sour Day featured some of the most renowned producers of Pisco, a grape-based brandy produced in Peru, including Ocucaje, Tabernero, Pisco Porton, Barsol Pisco, Macchu Pisco, La Diablada, Pisco Sol de Ica, Pisco KU and FIO Pisco. The Peruvian American Chefs Association (P.A.CH.A), the Restaurant Cebiche House, the St. Gregory Luxury Hotel and the Restaurant Kikiriki were also on hand to provide guests with a taste of Peruvian dishes alongside unlimited Pisco Sour.

Legally, Pisco must be made from one or a blend of eight specific grape varietals grown in Peru. It must also be distilled to proof with no addition of water, artificial flavoring, wood aging or additives. Though Pisco is often enjoyed straight from the bottle, the clean taste of the spirit acts as a great base for other ingredients, and when combined with sugar, lime juice, egg whites, and garnished with ground cinnamon, you get the wonderfully creamy and frothy cocktail, Pisco Sour.Though each of the Pisco producers at the event served a traditional Pisco Sour, several producers served a slight variation of Pisco Sour alongside the original version of the cocktail.

Macchu Pisco prepared a Pisco Sour made with their La Diablada Pisco. Named after a legendary dance between angels and demons fighting for the perfect balance, La Diablada perfectly balances aromas, body, and bouquet.

Macchu Pisco also poured a Mango Sour served from an ice sculpture of the Macchu Pisco bottle.

Pisco Ku, blended from the mixture of Italia and Quebranta grapes, was used to make a traditional Pisco Sour, along with a Passion Fruit Sour.

Tabernero Pisco was also used to make a Passion Fruit Pisco along with the traditional version.

Samples of Vista Alegre's Soldeica Pisco and Pisco Sour Mix were provided to guests for extending the Pisco Sour celebration at home. 

Pisco Porton, the first mosto verde pisco (an ultra-premium designation) to be widely available in the United States, is made from grape juice that has not completely fermented, keeping some of the natural grape sugars from converting their flavors into alcohol. putting more flavor and aroma into every bottle.

An hour after being offered their first taste of Pisco Sour for the evening, guests were provided with samples of a wide selection of Peruvian dishes.

Quinoa, and Andean dish, was first served in its simplest form before being offered as a Banana Bread Pudding, made with coconut rum, orange juice, and coconut milk.

The iPeruvian Gourmet Catering Company prepared Causa (simply speaking, Causa is anything layered with chilled mashed potatoes), in the form of chicken, crab and tuna wrapped in potato puree (naturally colored through the addition of a variety of vegetables). 

The IPGCC also prepared Butifarra, a traditional pork sandwich made with pork, salsa criolla and onions.

The Cebiche House in Gaithersburg, MD served a Ceviche dish, which included Tilapia and Cancha (roasted kernels, similar to CornNuts)

Kikiriki of Manassas, VA rolled ground beefeggs, and raisins into mashed potatoes, then fried the rolls to make Papa Rellanas for the guests.

Between the Pisco Sour, and the abundance of potatoes found in many of the Peruvian dishes (I really can't talk enough about how much I love potatoes), Peruvian food and drink is something I will continue to celebrate long after Pisco Sour Month officially ends.

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