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Peru and Chile both claim pisco as their national spirit – and both have distinctive takes on the pisco sour – but there's more than one way to sip this tasty grape-distilled brandy. Two experts from western and eastern Canada offer their unique takes on the pisco cocktail.

Team Peru:

"Pisco comes from the Pisco region in southwestern Peru, where it's made using the same distillation process as grappa. Chile's version is more dense and fruity. I used Peruvian pisco, of course, to create the Mezcla Caesar, as well as a special ingredient: leche de tigre, the leftover ceviche juice from the scallops or fish, plus lime, coriander, ginger and ají amarillo pepper paste. The drink is a combination of flavours: sweet, acidic, spicy."
Peruvian-born Marcel Olivier Larrea, one of the two chefs at Montreal's Mezcla restaurant

  • Mezcla Caesar
  • Blend of celery salt and Japanese shichimi togarashi spice mix
  • 5.4 oz Clamato
  • 2 oz Peruvian pisco
  • 1.5 oz leche de tigre
  • Cilantro
  • Cancha (Peruvian toasted corn)

Rim a glass with celery salt/togarashi spice mix. Add Clamato, pisco and leche de tigre. Fill with ice; garnish with cilantro and cancha.

Team Chile:

"In B.C., we get mainly Chilean pisco brands, and local bartenders rarely make anything with pisco beyond a sour. A light pisco can be as flexible as gin, tequila or light rum. Aged pisco develops character not unlike reposado tequila. I recently created a cocktail with Kappa, a premium Chilean pisco made from Muscat of Le Muscat d'Alexandrie. It's sophisticated and complex with vivid, spirit-driven aromas."
Jay Jones, executive bartender and brand ambassador at the Donnelly Group (Granville Room, Blackbird Public House & Oyster Bar and other venues) in Vancouver

  • Grand Kappa
  • 1.5 oz Kappa Pisco
  • 1.5 oz Lapostolle Casa Merlot
  • .75 oz Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
  • 3 dashes Bittered Sling Plum & Rootbeer bitters
  • Mists of La Fée Absinthe

Mist a clean, dry coupe glass with absinthe. Combine pisco, merlot, Grand Marnier and bitters in a mixing vessel. Stir with ice; strain into the misted coupe. Spritz drink surface with absinthe.

Blackbird Public House & Oyster Bar
905 Dunsmuir St., Vancouver
1251, rue de Champlain, Montréal




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