Pisco is best-known in Peru and in Chile, from whence it originates.
Pisco is made from muscatel grapes. The grape is pressed to extract most of the juice and pulp, and the resulting product is fermented to create wine. This differs from most winemaking processes, in which whole grape juice is fermented, and is similar to grappa-making processes. The fermented wine is then distilled and mixed with water to regulate alcohol levels; most pisco I have drunk has been between 30 and 40 percent alcohol.
The origin of the name "pisco" is unclear and subject to debate.
Some brands of pisco commonly available in the United States (in high-end stores or warehouse-style wine shops):
- Pisco Capel
- Pisco Capel Sour (pre-mixed pisco sour drink)
- Inca Pisco
- Don Cesar Pisco
Pricing is between $15-$20 per 0.75-liter bottle.
A couple of popular pisco drinks: