Since I’ve got that bottle of pisco open, I might as well continue down that road. Today’s drink was invented sometime in the 1850s or 1860s at the Bank Exchange (good name for a bar…) in San Francisco. If you know your history, you know a lot of Chileans traveled up the west coast of America to California during the Gold Rush. They brought pisco with them. And some enterprising bartender, probably John Torrence, came up with this drink.
You can find many, many recipes for Pisco Punch, but according the David Wondrich, this is the “real” version, and while he suggests you whip up a big batch, punch-style, he also says that for authenticity’s sake, they should be made up one at a time, as Torrence did at the Bank Exchange.
This one takes a little bit of pre-preparation. First, soak some pineapple chunks (fresh, not canned) in some simple syrup overnight (keep it all refrigerated). Then you’re ready to go.
2 oz. pisco
1 oz. water (the original recipe called for distilled, but given that it’s not the 1850s anymore, I feel ok using plain ol’ water)
2/3 oz pineapple-infused simple syrup
3/4 oz. lemon juice (freshly-squeezed as always)
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled glass; garnish with a chunk of the syrup-soaked pineapple.
Because lime juice is vastly superior to lemon juice, this isn’t quite as good as the Pisco Sour we recently reviewed. But, it’s a pretty solid drink. It leans more toward the sour than the sweet, but is nicely balanced. The flavor of the pisco does not stand out as much as it does in the Pisco Sour, and of the two, this is the sourer drink, names aside. Oddly, it went very well with spicy food, something I find cocktails rarely do.