Chilean pisco started off as liquor, identified mainly with the country’s more working class sectors. For years, the classic “bottle of pisco and four soft drinks” (soda) has been the best way to get together anywhere in Chile, especially in neighborhood bars.
Yet over time, Chile’s pisco has achieved a place for itself among more elegant banquets; including presidential summits and cultural galas. At these events, Pisco Sour, has become “the” aperitif that represents Chile.
The presence of Pisco in the most important restaurants of Chile’s gastronomic circuit and its use as a souvenir for distant and/or foreign friends are rapidly turning Pisco into one of the key products representing Chile’s “national image”, alongside copper, wine, fruit, and salmon. But it is a much warmer, friendlier, more everyday sort of drink. It is also the eternal ambassador that summarizes the aromas and flavours of Chile’s north.
The experts get enthusiastic over pisco. Some chefs suggest serving it as an after dinner drink, so nowadays it’s common on food trolleys of the world’s airlines.
But whether partying or not, pisco is by far the favorite liquor, accounting for more than 80% of total alcohol consumption in Chile. The rest is made up of whisky, gin, vodka, rum, tequila and others.
There is no celebration, get-together, party, cocktail or dinner in Chile where pisco does not have a special place. In other words, no pisco, no fun! Pisco is undoubtedly Chile’s most popular alcoholic drink, a fact confirmed by the country’s most renowned chefs and bartenders. Possible combinations using pisco are limitless, ranging from drinks dating back to the 19th century, such as Pisco Sour and Pisco Punch, to new creations such as Serena Libre and Elqui Verde.
Mixologist and “inspired genius”, Paul Martin, remarked that “although rarely seen on the cocktail lists in major cities around the world, Pisco is usually enjoyed as part of a mixed drink and the classic Pisco Sour remains one of the best kept cocktail secrets.”
Perhaps a secret no more. Pisco ABA’s entry to the UK Cocktail Challenge, organized by Drinks International, has made it to the finals. The month before, Pisco ABA carried away a Gold Label in the April 2002 Vinitaly “7th International Packaging Competition” in Verona.
Looking down to the Valley of Elqui from the world’s largest observatory, you can see that Pisco ABA is clearly a new sign in the skies.
If the Elqui Valley is “The heritage bestowed by God”, Pisco ABA is the lovely child of that heritage.