The Peruvians and Chileans have long been in a head-to-head battle over which country is the true home to the white, grape-based distillate, pisco. History, and a little town named Pisco, seem to be in the Peruvians favor, but bartenders in both countries pretty great interpretations of the drink. The good news is that pisco sour enjoyment isn't restricted to just Latin American destinations. So here's an inside look into some of the best renditions of this drink in the United States.
Located in Portland's the Pearl District, Andina has long been a temple of authentic Peruvian food and cocktails. Classic ceviches top the menu followed by causas and tiraditos of raw fish to snack on with your drinks. The cozy wood and brick-laden interior keeps the vibe warm inside.
The cocktail list includes Latin rum-based favorites as well as pisco classics. The pisco sour is simple and balanced. But if you're looking for something spicier, try the Kuong Tong, made with pisco, ﬁve spice syrup, and agua de chirimoya and topped with frothy custard-apple foam.
The sprawling Latin-influenced restaurant Mizado, just outside the City of New Orleans, is home to patio dining and a great mescal, rum, tequila, and pisco selection. Ceviches mix up the food selection with tacos and salsas as nibbles to accompany the drinks. The restaurant's tag line, as it abuts the City's many famous cemeteries, is "Live a Full Life!" No doubt a great pisco sour contributes to guests' well being.
Not only South, and inventive, North American restaurants have the lock-up on this refreshing drink. Copenhagen, Denmark's innovative food capital is home to the Pan-Latin restaurant Llama, serving everything from a classic ceviches to Brazilian feijoada. Rum, tequila, and mescal feature prominently on the cocktail menu, as does lots of pisco options. A classic pisco sour, made with egg whites can be enjoyed until a relaxing 2:30am. The space is sleek, dark and low-lit.
Destino is located right on Market Street, the North boundary of the Mission District, which has historically been the heart of the Mexican community in San Francisco. Destino is a stalwart destination for great Peruvian food and pisco-fueled drinks.
Cocktails run the gamut but focus on Pisco-based drinks and Chicha-Inca—the Peruvian alcohol-free purple corn punch—is even on the menu. The restaurant’s sibling Pisco Lounge serves the Pisco Punch, the pineapple-infused pisco punch that was invented in San Francisco.
Washington, D.C. is home to the newly opened China Chilcano, the brainchild of noted Spanish Chef José Andrés. The bar program features a wide pisco selection to complement the Japanese- and Chinese-influenced Peruvian food, inspired by the country's shifting immigrant population.
The classic Pisco Sour is on the menu as well as more inventive drinks such as the Déjame Querete, made with pisco, persimmon, and lemon. Red neon lights are reminiscent of ancient designs found in Peru’s Nazca desert and a 300-gallon fish tank touts the menu’s extensive seafood offerings.