As Tom Downey discovered in “The Grapes of Wrath,” pisco brings out the competitive spirits of Peru and Chile. But the provenance of the liquor, a brandy made from distilled wine, is not the only point of contention. Each country also claims the pisco sour as its national cocktail, complete with a legend of origin. In Peruvian lore, an American named Victor Vaughen Morris opened a bar in Lima in 1916 and came up with a concoction of pisco, lime juice, sugar syrup, and ice. In the late 1920s, it is said, one of his Peruvian bartenders (who later moved to the Hotel Maury, sometimes cited as the drink’s birthplace) added egg whites to create the foamy drink we know today, and threw in a dash of Angostura bitters. Chilean folklorist Oreste Plath asserted that an English ship steward, Elliot Stubb, invented the pisco sour in 1872 in Iquique; other sources allege that Stubb in fact created a whiskey sour. In any case, it is Peru that celebrates Día Nacional del Pisco Sour as an official holiday on the first Saturday of February.

PERUVIAN PISCO COCKTAILS

Portón Pisco Sour
(Makes one cocktail)
Recipe by Pisco Portón

INGREDIENTS
1 ½ ounces Pisco Portón
1 ½ ounces lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup
1 egg white
Ice cubes
A dash of Bitters

MAKE IT
1. Combine the Pisco Portón, lime Juice, simple syrup, and egg white in a cocktail shaker with several ice cubes.
2. Shake well.
3. Strain into a cocktail glass.
4. Sprinkle the bitters onto the foam.

Portón Punch
(Makes one pitcher)
Recipe by Pisco Portón

INGREDIENTS
1 fresh pineapple
8 ounces simple syrup
16 ounces distilled water
10 ounces lemon juice
1 750 ml bottle (24 oz.) of Pisco Portón
Ice cubes

MAKE IT
1. Cut the pineapple into ½-by-1 ½–inch squares and put into a bowl of simple syrup to soak overnight.
2. In the morning, mix the water, lemon juice, and pisco in a large bowl.
3. Prior to serving, pour the punch into a large pitcher with generous amount of ice.
4. Serve 3 to 4 ounces of punch per glass, adding a square of the soaked pineapple to each.
5. More lemon juice or simple syrup may be added to taste. Serve very cold.

CHILEAN PISCO COCKTAILS

Pisco Sour
(Makes one cocktail)
Recipe by mixologist Luis Felipe Cruz

INGREDIENTS
3 ounces Pisco Waqar
1 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce lemon juice
½ egg white (optional)
several ice cubes

MAKE IT
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker.
2. Shake well and strain into a chilled flute.

Pisco Punch
(Makes one cocktail)
Recipe by mixologist Luis Felipe Cruz

INGREDIENTS
¾ ounces pineapple marinade
2 ounces pisco
2 orange slices
3 marinated pineapple wedges
Ice cubes
Club soda

MAKE IT
1. Muddle the orange slices and 2 pineapple slices in a cocktail shaker.
2. Add the pisco, pineapple marinade, and several ice cubes and shake well.
3. Strain into and ice-filled goblet.
4. Top with no more than 2 ounces of club soda.
5. Garnish with a pineapple wedge on the goblet rim.

Pineapple Marinade

INGREDIENTS
1 ripe pineapple
30 cloves
1 quart simple syrup

MAKE IT
1. Core and remove the rind from the pineapple.
2. Cut the pineapple into rings and then into wedges.
3. Place the pineapple wedges in a deep container.
4. Add the cloves and simple syrup, and marinate for 24 hours.

Photograph by João Canziani.