Pisco is mostly known for its role in the famed Pisco Sour cocktail. But this spirit has a personality all its own. We love Pisco in big batches of punch for all sorts of summertime soirees. So we're kicking off the 4th of July with a Star- Spangled Chilean Pisco Punch perfect for toasting the occasion.
Made from grapes Pisco's characteristics vary depending on where they were grown and how they were aged, for example in stainless steel or oak barrels.
Piscos can range in color from crystal clear to pretty shades of gold and amber. The color often indicates what you'll be tasting. For example clear versions bring everything from tropical fruit flavors to floral and herbal aromas suitable to citrus flavors while the darker colored Piscos can bring vanilla and raisin notes and can add a little more spice to your drink.
Whichever style Pisco you pick, one thing is for sure, the Pisco pouring out of Chile is increasing in quality. Made strictly in single batches these Piscos are artisanally crafted and it shows in the glass. Since many are double or triple distilled that translates to a much smoother sip for us.
So if you're setting up the bar for the summer, grab a bottle for your bar. Pisco Sours are excellent with sushi and
Chilean Pisco Star-Spangled PunchRecipe courtesy of David Wondrich and Pisco Chile. Serves 12
The peel of 3 lemons, each cut in a 1/2 inch wide spiral with a vegetable peeler
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh-squeezed, strained lemon juice
1 750-ml bottle Chilean Pisco
1 quart cold water
1 star fruit, sliced into 1/4- inch thick slices
Muddle the lemon peels and the sugar together and let sit for at least 90 minutes.
Muddle lemon and sugar again and stir in the lemon juice.
Add the pisco and the water and stir.
Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Before serving, cut star fruit into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices.
To serve, pour into a 1 gallon punch bowl with a 1-quart sized block of ice in it and float star fruit slices.
• For more information on Chilean Pisco and where to find near you, check out http://www.piscochile.com/
Maureen C. Petrosky writes what she knows, food, booze and parties. Author of The Wine Club, she appears regularly on The TODAY show to share her vices (and advice) with the world. For more info check out www.maureenpetrosky.com or follow her on Twitter @maureenpetrosky
(Image: Pisco Chile)