Not to be confused with chilcano de pescado (a fish soup), a chilcano de pisco is a refreshing cocktail made with pisco, a unique brandy produced in Peru. It's simpler to make than the well-known pisco sour—you just pour the ingredients over ice and they mix themselves.
Pisco is a grape brandy that's popular in Peru and Chile. It's available in a range of sweetness from dry to semi-sweet, and the flavor can vary greatly depending on the quality, style, and region. High-quality pisco is very smooth, while lower-quality can be funky. It has herbal, almost smoky notes comparable to tequila. Pisco puro or pisco acholado tend to be best for mixed drinks.
Chilcanos are surprisingly good for such a simple drink. The lime, pisco, and ginger ale are combined to make something new and better. The sweetness and effervescence of the ginger ale marries nicely with the tart lime juice and herbaceous pisco. They're the perfect drink on a hot summer evening.
- 2 ounces pisco
- 1/2 lime (or 1 tablespoon key lime juice)
- 4 ounces ginger ale
- Garnish: lime wedge or wheel
Gather the ingredients.
Fill an 8-ounce tumbler with ice cubes. Pour the pisco over the ice.
Squeeze the lime juice into the glass.
Fill the glass with the ginger ale, and garnish with lime.
This refreshing cocktail is easy to make as a pitcher drink. Scale up the ingredients and combine the pisco and lime juice. Add the ginger ale just before serving and serve in glasses full of ice. If desired, serve with a lime wedge or wheel.
How Strong is a Chilcano De Pisco?
Peruvian pisco can range from 38 to 48 percent ABV and is the only alcohol in a chilcano de pisco. Thanks to the addition of ginger ale, lime juice, and ice, the cocktail is a light one. If a 40 percent ABV (or 80 proof) pisco is used, this recipe will yield a cocktail with about 12 percent ABV, similar to a glass of white wine, making it a nice summertime drink.