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Pisco Punch

Cotswold Cocktail School - Pisco Punch Cocktail Recipe

ABV 15% / 2.4 alcoholic units

Primary spirit: Pisco

A Brief History of a Pisco Punch

Pisco Punch origins are shrouded in the mist of cocktail lore, tracing back to the late 19th century in San Francisco. It’s believed to have been concocted by the legendary bartender Duncan Nichols at the Bank Exchange Bar. 

From the gold rush until Prohibition, this secret concoction was the preferred beverage of discerning tipplers. But when the legendary bar where it was invented closed (1920), and the bar’s equally storied bartender refused to divulge its recipe, Pisco Punch vanished from the Earth. It remained in cocktail limbo for half a century, until an enterprising historian exhumed what he claimed was the original recipe.

Taste and Flavour Profile:

The Pisco Punch is a symphony of vibrant and tropical flavours:

  • Pisco Elegance: At its core is Pisco, a grape brandy with floral and fruity notes, offering a smooth and sophisticated foundation.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice brings a vibrant and tangy citrus punch that balances the drink's sweetness.
  • Tropical Nectar: Pineapple syrup, the nectar of the tropics, adds a sweet and luscious dimension, complementing the citrus and Pisco with a touch of paradise.
  • Champagne or Sparkling Wine: The crowning jewel, Champagne or sparkling wine, lends effervescence, elegance, and a touch of fruitiness.

The result is a drink that dances on the palate—a refreshing symphony that transports you to the shores of South America with each sip.

Food Pairings:

  • Ceviche: The bright acidity of the Pisco Punch complements the freshness of ceviche, creating a perfect harmony.
  • Grilled Shrimp Skewers: The tropical notes in the cocktail enhance the flavours of grilled shrimp, creating a delightful pairing.
  • Mango Salsa: The fruity and citrusy elements of the Pisco Punch align with the vibrant flavors of mango salsa.

Bar Equipment

  • Cocktail shaker
  • Hawthorne strainer
  • Collins/Rocks glass
  • Jigger

Ingredients

  • 50ml Pisco
  • 30ml Pineapple juice
  • 15ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 15ml Freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 15ml Sugar syrup/20ml Pineapple gum syrup*
  • 20ml Champagne/Prosecco top
  • Garnish with pineapple wedge lightly dusted with ground cloves
  • Ice

Method

  • Add ice and all ingredients bar the sparkling wine and shake until cooled 
  • Strain into a chilled glass with ice and top with either Champagne or Prosecco
  • Garnish with pineapple wedge lightly dusted with ground cloves

*Sugar syrup - 1 part sugar to one part water. Gently heat in a pan until sugar has dissolved and allow to cool. Alternatively, Pisco Punch is traditionally made with pineapple gum (gomme) syrup, made with acacia gum powder (thickening agent). Pineapple gum syrup is simple to make but it takes time and preparation. It does however raise your Pisco Punch to the next level adding a touch of viscosity that allows the intensified pineapple flavours to cling to your tongue for just a bit longer.

Ingredients/Method:

Add 57g of arabic/acacia gum powder to 57g of cold water. Whisk (don't worry about any lumps, these can be left), cover and allow to sit overnight (do not mix any further). The next day prepare and dice half a fresh pineapple/435g tin of pineapple and add to 114g of water (if using tinned pineapple, there will be sufficient juice in the can, so you can omit the water) and add 170g granulated sugar to a saucepan. Stir, muddle and gently bring to a simmer. When all the sugar has dissolved allow to cool for 3 hours. Reheat and simmer for 5 minutes and fine sieve into the acacia gum mix. Press all the juice out of the pineapple and gently whisk the syrup. Leave to rest for 5 minutes, whisk again and store in sterilised bottles. Pineapple gum syrup will last up to 8 weeks if stored in the fridge. 

What's the best Pisco for a Pisco Punch?

Selecting the best Pisco for a Pisco Punch cocktail can depend on personal preferences, as well as the availability of Pisco brands in your region. Pisco comes in various styles, each with its unique characteristics. Here are some well-regarded Pisco options that are commonly recommended for crafting a delicious Pisco Punch:

  • Barsol Mosto Verde Quebranta Pisco: Barsol's Mosto Verde Quebranta Pisco is made from the Quebranta grape using the mosto verde method, resulting in a richer and more full-bodied Pisco. It brings a robust flavour with hints of tropical fruits and a smooth finish.
  • Macchu Pisco: Macchu Pisco is a Quebranta Pisco with a clean and crisp taste. It features notes of ripe fruit and a subtle floral quality, offering a well-balanced foundation for a Pisco Punch.
  • La Diablada Pisco: La Diablada is an acholado pisco from Peru, which means it is made from the first pressing of three different types of grapes. It's more floral than the regular Macchu Pisco, and originally created to be a sipping pisco. Between the floral and sweet notes, this is easily one of the best piscos out there.

When choosing a Pisco, consider the grape varietals used, the production methods, and the flavour profiles that align with your preferences. It's often a good idea to experiment with a few brands to find the one that suits your taste best. Additionally, if possible, seek advice from knowledgeable spirits retailers or bartenders who may provide insights into regional or artisanal Piscos available in your area. 

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