The theme for Mixology Monday this month is 19th-century cocktails. Living in San Francisco, naturally I was drawn to Pisco Punch. This famous cocktail came to be due to the large amount of Pisco available after the Gold Rush.
What is Pisco? It is a grape brandy from Peru. Just like French brandies, varieties range from rotgut to super premium. The main difference is that Pisco is aged, but not in barrels, rather ceramic or metal. The resulting spirit is clear.
So with all this potent Pisco around it became quite popular in San Francisco. This prompted owner, Duncan Nicol, of the Bank Exchange to create Pisco Punch a mix Pisco, pineapple juice, lime juice, simple syrup and Gum Arabic, and ingredient that helps it fizz. Unfortunately, the original recipe went to the grave with Ducan and Prohibition closed the bar. So there are several variations of the recipe as bartenders try to recreate the original.
This recipe comes to us from the makers of Inca Gold Pisco. I had the pleasure to meet the proprietor, who schooled me on the history of Pisco and Pisco Punch. In fact, he believes that San Francisco should make Pisco Punch our civic cocktail. With so many cocktails, like the Martini, I am staying out of politics.
3 parts Pisco
2 parts pineapple juice
1 part lime juice
1 part simple syrup
3-4 drops gum arabic
Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a shaker with ice. Pour into a punch or tall glass and garnish with pineapple.
For a party, make a batch in a large punch bowl. Just use the same proportions.
Looking for gum arabic? This gum syrup from Small Hand Foods does the trick.