December heralds the end of another eventful year, and the beginning of the festive season. In this month of high spirits, Delhi and Mumbai are hosting a weekend of celebrations with the Pisco is Peru Festival. For the first time ever, pisco-based cocktails and Peruvian culture are coming together at five of the best bars in these two cities, which is great news for all discerning drinkers, pub-trotters and bartenders.
The Piscois Peru Festival is a three-day long celebration of pisco, a Peruvian liquor that is now widely recognised and available in India. This first-of-its-kind event is a celebration of this versatile drink that has now been around for over 400 years. As vodka is synonymous to Russia, pisco is integral to Peruvian culture. Made from grapes, pisco too, quite like vodka, is a drink that packs a punch and must be enjoyed responsibly.
Shilaj Banerjee, Head of Operations, Lima, had this to say to Guardian 20 about the festival: “Being the first ones to introduce pisco to the city, We at Lima are very excited to be a part of the Pisco is Peru Festival. The highlight of the event is our signature Pisco Sour, Peru’s national drink, portraying the joie de vivre and fun loving attitude of its people. Our bartender at Lima has created his take on this cocktail with Cuatro GS Quebranta, egg protein, and sweet-and-sour mix. Other exotic pisco cocktails available are Asian Sour, Fallen Angel, Copa De Peru.”
The festival is a treat for alcohol connoisseurs of Delhi and Mumbai, giving them an opportunity to savour pisco sours. The festival aims to celebrate the uniqueness of pisco at prominent Delhi and Mumbai venues, including One Street Over (at Bandra West) and Lima (Bandra Kurla Complex) in Mumbai; and Lock and Key (Gurugram), Perch (Khan Market and Vasant Vihar) and PCO (Vasant Vihar) in the NCR.
Luis Cabello, Commercial Counsellor at The Commercial Office of Peru in India, said, “I am very excited about the Pisco is Peru Festival finally coming to life. We are very excited to introduce pisco to India, and it is great to see the festival taking shape in two of the most buzzing cities in India. Pisco is Peru and Peru is pisco. Pisco is in Peru’s blood and I am thrilled for Indians to celebrate it in all its glory. Salud!”
The three-day festival, which opened on Friday and concludes this Sunday, is also a celebration of culture and music from Peru. Organisers say that expected footfall is around 3,000 people over the weekend.
Some of the highlight drinks of the festival at the Perch Bar include Pisco Sour which is made from pisco, lime, sugar, egg; Peruvian Owl, which is made from pisco, cold brew, orgeat, orange juice; Huerta, which is made from pisco, white wine, apple juice, peach syrup, soda; and Lima Rush, which is made from pisco, honey syrup, ginger syrup, lime.
Delhi’s PCO bar will be serving Peruvian Grass (pisco, lemon juice, honey-lemongrass syrup, egg white), Mamasita (pisco, cherry liqueur, lime juice, grapefruit juice, orange bitters), Martini de Peru (pisco, dry vermouth, elderflower cordial), Morning Star (pisco, lime, orgeat, cilantro, egg white) and Piscola (pisco, cola, lime wedge).
One Street Over’s cocktail highlights will be pisco sour, chilcano and peruvian bramble.
Lima is serving Pisco Sour (Peru’s national drink—cuatro GS quebranta, egg protein, sweet and sour mix), LIMA Sour (pisco on the rocks with sweet and sour egg white foam), Asian Sour (cuatro GS quebranta, egg protein, lemon grass, kaffir lime, ginger, sweet and sour mix), Copa de Peru (footballer’s drink - cuatro GS quebranta, fresh pineapple juice, melon and coconut syrup), Fallen Angel (cuatro GS quebranta, apple juice, cucumber, basil and lime juice), Passion, Chilli and Rosemary Sour(pisco, passion fruit, rosemary and amarillo chilli), Peruvian Sunset (pisco, peach ice tea, orange juice and red wine) and Spiked Chicha Morada (peruvian cold purple corn drink spiced with cinnamon and spiked with pisco).
Rakshay Dhariwal, Managing Director, Pass Code Hospitality, PCO spoke to Guardian 20 and said, “I am very excited for the Pisco is Peru festival taking place at PCO from the 8-10 December. We have crafted some delicious Pisco-based Cocktails that we will be offering at a special price for the festival. Don›t miss this chance to feel as though you›re in Peru.”
Legend has it that Pisco came into existence in the 16th century, and was named in honor of the city located on the coast of Peru where the first seeds of vine were first sown to produce this drink. Pisco is technically an un-aged brandy obtained from the distillation of recently fermented Peruvian grape musts and juices. Some say it’s like grappa because both are made from grapes. Others relate it to tequila because of its similar herbal and almost earthy flavours. The truth is, comparisons to other liquors often fall flat because pisco has its own unique personality. As it is made from different grape varieties, different kinds of piscos will have different characteristics. It is classified into three groups depending on the grapes’ selection: Puro (pure), Acholado (grapevines mixture) and Mosto Verde (green grape must).
The distilled spirit of Pisco has established itself in the emerging cocktail culture, giving its name to classics such as Pisco Sour and Pisco Punch. It is a highly versatile distilled spirit that can be enjoyed pure, in cocktails, paired with meals or desserts, or even as an ingredient in various recipes. Pisco has picked up many plaudits in the past few decades. In 1988, Peru’s National Institute of Culture declared pisco part of the country’s national heritage.
At the festival, the most demanding of palates will relish the variety and quality of Peruvian cuisine, which offers the best combination of flavours in the world. Peru has won the Best Culinary Destination in the World at World Travel Awards numerous times, highlighting all that it has to offer in terms of gastronomic delights.