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Subject: Santiago #30 - Pisco Potation Punch-Up
(Posted on Feb 7, 2015 at 11:21AM ) Tags:
So, Bob finds himself  at a wedding In Santiago just before Christmas 1996, and one of the reception hour beverages being plied is that classic cocktail, the Pisco Sour. It’s pushed proudly as being Chilean in origin, when out of the crowd, some cat jumps out to have a say on that  matter.

“Actually, there is some debate on this matter of the pisco sour and where
it comes from,” said a dark-haired fellow with black-rimmed glasses in a
blue suit beside us. “I don’t mean to curtail your enjoyment, so please excuse
me, but Peru believes it is the originator of the cocktail.”

Antonio Díaz Villamil introduced himself. Bolivian, he lived here in Santiago, and
was a friend of the Glüschitz family. “Both Peru and Chile consider it their national
drink and there are two competing tales of its origin.”

The Peruvian story behind the cocktail was that it was invented in Lima by a
Salt Lake City expat, Victor “Gringo” Morris, in the early 1920s at the bar he
ran called Morris’ Bar. The cocktail was essentially an alternative to the whiskey
sour. The challenging Chilean version of the tale attributed the concoction to an
Englishman, Elliott Stubb, a ship steward  who disembarked at the port of Iquique
in 1872 to open a bar where he supposedly unveiled the drink.

So what’s up with all that, and who’s right? There is some debate between Chile and Peru about the origin of the drink; both countries have their own version and claim ownership rights, it can even be a source of friction between the two nations as explained some more here. Wars have probably been started for less. Another little thing to note and factor into all of this, is that back in 1872, Iquique was actually part of Peru at the time, and after the War of the Pacific in 1879, it became part of Chile. 

The history of the base alcoholic spirit, pisco, dates from 16th century Spain and more details can be found here.
There’s a lot more on the drink’s dueling origins here, as well as some differences in the ingredients and preparation therein. And if limes may not be around on some occasions, folks substitute in lemon instead. Reminds one of that whole gin and tonic lemon versus lime debate which got covered here.

No matter whether you want to make the cocktail the Chilean or Peruvian way, you may also elect to try it a la  Anna Kendrick style. There is deffo some “different” ad-lib recipe action going down.


Unless our gal was confused and thinking salad dressing with the yolk, she was probably just having some fun on porpoise [sic]. Either that or trying to be some pisco sour experimentalist cum crazy cocktail scientist. Go on and get creative with your own version. 
 


Here’s another take on it from our outgoing bubbly bartender cum mixmaster of the moment, courtesy of Tipsy Bartender. Note their tagline philosophy of "Shake it and keep it sexy!"


Note she uses lemons, and says that Pisco is from Peru—but hey, we know it also comes from Chile. Oh well—we’ll let that slide. It's all kinda like the stuff they tell you on the news and getting the real truth on what's going down out there in the world. You gotta go and dig for the real deal yourself from multiple sources, and ones that are out of the mainstream media. 

Bob’s seen a bunch of different variations as regards the ingredient quantities as well, so you may want to fiddle around a bit if you try making this puppy at home. Here are two variations alone. Maybe more booze per serving is better. I mean, it 's not like you ever really typically see a recommended serving size on a bottle label of any spirit out there generally, right? 


On another note, Chile produces WAY more of the base spirit than Peru does, almost 14x according to 2013 figures, but it’s made a little differently. Peru seemingly goes to a little extra trouble to manufacture it in smaller artisanal batches and classify it a little more painstakingly by denomination, quality and strength as well.


There’s even a National Pisco Sour Day in Peru (or Día Nacional del Pisco Sour), held on the first Saturday of February since 2007 per this current Forbes piece, and as this ad below from a few years ago plugs.


Uhhmm, yeah, that happens to be today actually. by pure coink-e-dink. Naturally! One would never time the writing of this post so as to tee up with this annual cocktail celebration. Regardless, it’s a damn good excuse to take down one or two of these puppies.

And just when you think the origin battle was solved, something like this creeps into the mix, and introduces some added doubt and mystery, as seen below, and elaborated on in more detail here and here about the origins going back to at least 1903 in a regional cookbook. 



Despite what the evidence may show, and whichever side you want to pick, Adal Ramones, Mexican television show host and comedian, found some politcal pisco punch here, as linked to the 2009 Chile-Peru espionage scandal:

“What do the Chileans want to spy from Peru?
How to make a good Pisco Sour?” 

Will we ever know the cocltail's real origins?  Maybe not.  And which version is better? It seems many prefer the Peruvian version to its Chilean counterpart.  Best you decide for yourself. This piece navigates the middle ground, basically saying both are different. Our globe-gallavanting guy, Anthony Bourdain, throws out his two cents on the Chilean variant in a 2009 episode (5 - 11 to be exact) from his No Reservations series. Caveat potator, as one may say in Latin.


Back in 1996 at the wedding, a younger Bob was just some happy-camper, single wedding guest, going with the flow, open to learning more about the matter and the country's history, and drinking in the scene.