I have the honor of being the celebratory guest blogger for my good Twitter pal and birthday gal Iliana Ewen. That in mind, this drink comes with wishes for another great year ahead. Should she wish to hide from her special day, this tasty beverage is certain to erase her memory when combined with laughter, friends, family and a bit of cake!
Three years ago, I met a young gal from Peru named Rosa. We became friends and through that friendship she introduced me to all things Peruvian. While the cuisine is amongst my favorites I must also confess that I have often indulged in the native alcohol — pisco [prounced PEES-KO]. You should know, I have a soft spot for both Rosa and pisco. These two key instigators blended with my Italian heritage are responsible for this seemingly innocent concoction.
But like all bar drinks, this one must have an interesting story and that story is rooted in the origins of pisco.
Pisco- Drinkology 101- facts to impress your friends while under the influence:
– Pisco is both a city and an important port on the Peruvian coast.
– The name originates from the Inca word for a ‘bird’
– Pisco is made from a special grape in the Andes Mountains and dates back to the 1500s
– It is a South American brandy-like liqueur distilled from grapes and is 45% alcohol
– Both Chile and Peru claim pisco as their national drink and are still fighting over who has sole ownership (Rosa says it is Peru that owns it!)
– Most common pisco drink is a pisco sour (but that’s a whole ‘nother story!)
In conclusion, pisco is some serious stuff.
Note Secret Measurement: 2 parts liquid K.O. Be sure to read over both ingredients lists.
Lemon Simple Syrup Ingredients
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
12 strips of lemon zest (approx 2 lemons)
Lemon Simple Syrup Directions
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest (or peel) off of lemons before juicing them as directed in the remainder of the drink recipe (called The Blur- see below).
In small saucepan, on medium-high heat mix together sugar, water and zest. Stir occasionally until sugar dissolves. Let stand 20 minutes, until cool. Syrup can be refrigerated up to one week – and is also good over berry flavored sorbets.
The Blur Ingredients
¾ cup lemon simple syrup
¼ cup pisco (or ouzo), chilled
½ cup + 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
6 sprigs basil (or mint for the less adventurous)
The Blur Directions
Stir together the simple syrup, pisco (or ouzo), and the fresh lemon juice.
Fill six small glasses with ice, fill to the brim and add a sprig of basil.