Peru and Chile have beef about this and both claim Pisco as their national drink - we wouldn't usually take sides, but we're with Peru on this one. Mainly 'cos they've set up a whole week of celebrations in London every year and roped in the best of the best to get everyone trying this kick-ass drink.
But wherever this punchy South American spirit hails from, BarChick digs it - especially in a Pisco Sour. If you’ve never heard of it, no sweat, here’s what you need to know and where you need to get it:
Pisco is a South American brandy made from grapes that are fermented and distilled to make an aguardiente. Basically it’s bloody good. Pisco can be made using a variety of grape types and can be distilled using different methods, this means that like all booze, the taste and the aroma can change, as can the viscosity (think thickness and texture) of the finished product.
Well, like pisco, really. But if you wanted to know what you’re in for imagine a mix of vodka and tequila. Punchy, but fresh. There are herbal notes in there as well as hints of tropical fruits, and if you really get into it you’ll realise how the taste of pisco keeps evolving in your palate.
Try it out at these kick-ass Latin-American bars and see for yourself. Then thank us later.
This was London's first pisco bar created by Martin Morales (aka. Peruvian Pisco legend) so you know these guys mean business. To prove it there’s nothing but this delicious grape brandy in the cocktails. Now that’s dedication. There's plenty of Sour varieties, but the Strawberry Pisco Sour made with Quebranta grape Pisco, Creole Bitters, strawberries, lime, sugar syrup, egg white is a bit of us.
17 Frith Street, London W1D 4RG
Morales didn’t stop at Ceviche. Spitalfields recently got the sexy sister, Andina, and this is where to get Pisc-coed in the best possible fashion. This basement bar is bringing the Peruvian flavours to East London and the result is an upbeat, vibey joint oozing with sass, soul and tons of South American spirit. Try: ‘Calentito’ Cinnamon, ginger and honey-infused Barsol pisco, white wine, spiced syrup - served warm.
60-62 Commercial St, London E1 6LT
Drink pisco in style at super sexy Coya. Expect a Peruvian fusion fantasy in here with bright walls, long marble tables and grand gold details. The Pisco Sour menu is a banger, with 10 epic infusions to choose from. Tricky to choose, but it's the Kumquat that came out on top for us.
31-33 Throgmorton St, London EC2N 2AT
Pachamama is a bar and kitchen in Marylebone that delivers a Peruvian-inspired menu of small plates, so naturally pisco is what they suggest to wash it all down with! Pachamama means ‘mother earth’ and was sacred to the Inca people. Pisco and good times are sacred to us, so it fits well.
18 Thayer Street, Marylebone, W1U 3JY
This slick sushi fusion hangout is loco about pisco! Their ‘Holy Water’ takes you from Tokyo to lima with La Diablada Acholado Pisco, Kappa Chilean Pisco, citric acid, simple syrup and kaffir lime spritz. Amen to that!
11 - 13 Frith St, Soho, London W1D 4RB
Theatre Land's best underground secret. Below the jungle of Covent Garden's chain restaurants (and more specifically, directly beneath Lima by Floral) is this basement party gem where there's good vibes on tap and 2-4-1 Pisco Sours every Happy Hour.
14 Garrick St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9BJ
If your Gap Yah took you to the highest elevations of Peru, you'll know the feeling of drinking at high-altitude. Replicate it all on the 38th floor of the Heron Tour where Sushi Samba shakes up theirs up with a modern twist for the modern Pisco Sour drinker: BarSol Primera Quebranta pisco, Maraschino liqueur and turmeric, shaken hard with Japanese citrus and egg whites.
110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY