Ginger ale is a workhorse ingredient that is commonly merged with vodka or whiskey to create a buck, a style of cocktail that contains a spirit, citrus and ginger. Pisco is a type of brandy distilled in Peru and Chile. What do these ingredients have in common? They both inhabit the Chilcano, a Peruvian drink that has been refreshing local palates since the 1800s.
Though lesser known than famous bucks like the Moscow Mule and the most famous pisco drink, the Pisco Sour, the Chilcano predates both classics by decades. It features the tart snap of lime alongside earthy pisco and the refreshing fizz of ginger ale. It’s cooling on a hot day and a fun deviation from pisco’s traditional use in its eponymous sour. Factor in how easy it is to make, and this is a pisco cocktail you need to know.
The Chilcano shares its name with chilcano de pescado, a fish soup that is a popular remedy for hangovers in Peru. It’s believed that the drink was given the same name for its own restorative properties.
Pisco is a diverse spirit, with several designated varieties that describe the types of grapes and production processes used to make it. Naturally, different bottles show differences in flavor, aromatics and body. So, depending on which pisco you choose, you can experience variations from one Chilcano to the next. Pair your pisco with fresh lime juice and good ginger ale to maintain the simple drink’s elegance and quality. A couple drops of bitters lend additional spice and complexity with each sip.
- 2 ounces pisco
- 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- Ginger ale, to top
- 2 drops Angostura bitters
- Garnish: lime twist
Fill a highball glass with ice, then add the pisco and lime juice.
Top with ginger ale and add the drops of bitters.
Garnish with a lime twist.