And while the place is miles away that feeling is sure to come up in New York with a talented bartender. A few hidden spots that make Pisco Sour exist in Queens, but not as savory as what’s served back home.
Pisco itself is a clear alcoholic fruit juice originating from the distilled fermented grape juice from selected grapes grown in the traditional rich wine region of the Ica Valley of Peru. Though still hard to find in liquor stores, it is available online and at shops like www.astorwines.com.
Increasingly Manhattan and Brooklyn bars are offering better quality Pisco Sour and Pisco- inspired drinks, showing a stronger presence in New York.
One place spreading the word is Pio Pio, the Peruvian chain with already 8 locations and a full bar in the 43rd and 10th Avenue spot in Manhattan, where you can freely indulge on Pisco Sour and other creations like Pisco punch and Peruvian kiss to name a few.
For those not wanting to travel far, you are advised to check out Amaru, which get this, is an actual Pisco bar that opened last week in Jackson Heights.
The official grand opening was on Peru’s Independence Day, July 28. For Pisco enthusiasts this was a long time coming for Queens.
We sat with owner and manager of Pio Pio and Amaru, Rodolfo A. Mayor, to explain the idea behind Amaru.
CV: Why did you decide to open Amaru?
RM: We started with a Pisco bar over on 10th Avenue and there was an opportunity to open here. We decided to do a Latin lounge with a Peruvian influence. All cocktails are Pisco based.
CV: What kinds of drinks do you serve?
RM: We have traditional drinks like Maracuya (passion fruit) sour, Chilcano, and a version of mojito we call “viejo verde.” We gave it an original name. We have Pisco martini with coconut, one drink with rosemary and another with an herbal syrup. We’ve made over 30 drinks. On the menu there are 11.
CV: Do you think a Pisco bar could succeed?
RM: Knowing the cocktail culture in New York and I was in New Orleans in a cocktail seminar, Pisco is [a type of] liquor that is really starting to come out in the American Market. There are 16 types of Pisco in the market; two or three years ago there were only about 4.
CV: Can you tell us the process of making Pisco?
RM: Pisco comes from the distillation of wine, why is that? because they use the grape’s juice to make Pisco. Other countries [that make] Brandy and Grappa only use parts of the grape. The difference in Peru, by law you have to use the whole grape.
The color is from the distillation process. It’s not aged for too long, not stored in a wooden casket and no liquids are added after.
Ingredients (8 servings)
2 cups of Pisco
1 cup of jarabe de goma (syrup) or 1 1/2 of whie sugar
2 egg whites
4 fresh limes
1 cup of ice cubes
Angostura Bitters and a sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
Measure all ingredients and add to blender except the bitters and cinnamon. Blend well until liquid has a frothy texture serve in glass. Drop the bitters on the surface of the drink to create a circular pattern. Drag a toothpick through the droplets to swirl. Lastly, add a sprinkle of cinnamon to each glass.
Pisco Sour is traditionally made with Jarabe de Goma (Peruvian syrup), which replaces sugar and allows for a faster combination of all ingredients. It’s often used with Pisco because it gives great body and consistency. Several online recipes exist to make Jarabe de Goma at home. Simple syrup or sugar also works. The key is to mix everything well and use the right proportions.
Amaru is located on 84-13 Northern Blvd, Queens.