Not Sure How to Drink Pisco? Try the Peruvian Favorite - Chilcano

PUBLISHED IN cocktails, recipe, chilcano, pisco
Pisco is one of the most popular drinks in Latin America, and has been pouring into bars across Europe and the US faster than you can shout quiero uno! You may have supped on many a Pisco Sour and enjoyed the sugary kick - but it’s time to up your game.

Pisco is a colourless Brandy made with Peruvian grapes. Pisco Sour has long been the jefe, but there’s another cocktail you’ve been overlooking and its as legendary as it’s big bro. Start and end your night with this cheeky little Pisco potion.

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Chilcano as a cocktail has been around for hundreds of years. Its origins aren’t totally known, but could be linked to the drink Buon Giorno, brought to Peru by Italians that mixed Grappa with ginger ale. Switch that Grappa for Pisco and vrooom, you’ve got one of the most popular cocktails in the country. Quite a happy invention! And this week (12-19 January) marks the Chilcano week, so what better time to try your first.

The punchy proof Spirit and fresh citric pairing means you can’t really go wrong however you prepare it - so what are you waiting for? Read on and get mixing…

Our guide for cracking the perfect Chilcano

Many of the pros say you don’t need to throw too many things in the mix, and Pisco will sing for itself. This classic recipe is so simple and so zingy that even if you’ve never tried Pisco before you won’t go wrong.

Chilcano as they serve it in a bar in Lima, Peru. Image: Dtarazona/Wikimedia

How to?

Grab a Highball glass and then slosh in:
- 2 fingers (2 oz) of Pisco
- 3 fingers of ice on top
- 3 limes squeezed to the max

Fill the rest of the glass with ginger ale. Voila! Your first Chilcano... ...and if you want that extra zing zest some lime over the top of your cocktail.

Level up: Flavoured Pisco

BUT, if you like to veer off on your own path and don’t listen to the pros all that often then try one a twist on the classic.

Create your own flavoured Pisco by infuse with fruit or herbs for 45 days, and soon you’ll be experimenting with Chilcanos all year round.


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We can’t get enough of:

Passion fruit Chilcano

- 2 fingers (2 oz) of Pisco
- 1 or 2 fingers (1 or 2 oz) of passion fruit juice
- 3 drops of angostura bitters
- 3 fingers of ice on top

Fill the rest of the glass with ginger ale.


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Thai style Chilcano

- 1.5 fingers (1.5 oz) of Pisco infused with lemon verbena
- 0.5 fingers (0.5 oz) of Pisco infused with lime
- 1 or 2 fingers (1 or 2 oz) of passion fruit juice
- 0.5 oz ginger syrup or 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 lime squeezed to the max
- 3 fingers of ice on top

Fill the rest of the glass with ginger ale. Decorate with a slice of lemon, lime peel and lemon verbena to decorate.


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Remember there’s just ONE rule - the better the Pisco, the better the Chilcano. ¡Salud! 

READ MORE ABOUT: cocktails, recipe, chilcano, pisco

By Louise Sinnerton

Louise Sinnerton

Louise is a writer, director and content consultant specialising in documentaries, travel and lifestyle. Her passion lies in sharing new experiences, flavours and points of view through stories, films and interviews.



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