Pisco is a brandy
that is the national spirit of both Peru and Chile, and fierce debate over who has appellation of origin rights continues to this day. Although Peru claims pisco must come from Peru to be labeled as pisco, the world’s largest importers allow the Chilean version to be called pisco as well.
At least one thing is certain: pisco originated in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru, which contained Peru, Chile, and much of South America at the time. In the 1500s, the Spanish planted grapevines in both Peru and Chile, creating a nascent wine industry. Many of the grapes were fermented into wine and then distilled into the type of brandy now called pisco. The word translates into “bird," “river”, "valley" and “clay pot”, but when translated to mean “liquor”, it likely derived from the port town of Pisco, Peru, that once exported viticultural products.