Booze News: Pisco Party in the Windy City
(Photo: Pisco Control C)
I learned everything I needed to know about Chilean pisco during a recent event at Double A. But I won’t bore you with the tedious distillation process (three times, by the way) or its origin (the Spaniards, in 1732), but it’s important to note the high quality of grapes used to produce the spirit.
Harvested by hand, the grapes include several varietals: Moscatel de Alejandria, Moscatel Rosada, Moscatel de Austria, Pedro Jimenez and Torontel. The quality of these premium grapes bring out the intense flavors in the spirit, making it a great alternative to gin, tequila or vodka.
In particular, Pisco Control C, which comes from Chile’s Limari Valley, has been around since 1931. It’s been in Chicago since June 2013, and bartenders are having fun playing around with it beyond the traditional Pisco Sour (pisco, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, egg white).
For example, Double A’s Paul Sauter has created Ma Serena. The unique concoction includes passion fruit, lime juice, honey, liquefied habanero, egg white and cranberry-infused ice cubes—which give the cocktail a completely different flavor profile as they melt. Sterling Field (formerly of Carriage House, RPM Italian and Sable Kitchen & Bar) pays homage to Pisco Control with 1931. Its ingredients of mescal, orgeat, lime juice, mole bitters and Angostura bitters give it a smooth, smoky flavor.
Looking for additional places where pisco gets play? Here’s a list of restaurants and bars around town carrying it: