Move over mojitos, there’s a new Latino libation shaking up Somerville’s summer scene: The Pisco Sour.
Peru and Chile argue fiercely about which country invented Pisco, a clear liquor made from grapes grown in designated coastal valleys from Lima southward. Sorry Chile, but Pisco was most likely invented in southern Peru (where there is still a city named Pisco) in the 1500s by colonizing Spaniards. According to a recent New York Times article, this South American liquor is experiencing a renaissance in the U.S. and, we think, Union Square represents this new Pisco craze well. On a recent ArtsUnion/Nibble tasting tour of the square, we stopped in at Machu Picchu (307 Somerville Ave.), where a waitress decked in traditional Peruvian attire served us all Pisco Sours, a delightful mix of Pisco, lime juice, sugar, whipped egg whites and a dash of bitters. Purists among us had the traditional Pisco Sours, while others sampled more exotic versions, including Passionfruit and Mango Pisco Sour varieties. Que Rico! We recommend sampling these splendid concoctions on a Friday night when Machu Picchu has live Andean music.
Or perhaps you’d like to make your own Pisco Sour: Es facil! First, head to Jerry’s Liquors (329 Somerville Ave.), where you’ll find two different brands of Pisco: Cesar from Peru and Capel from Chile. Next, watch the Nibble video below where Peruvian native and Union Square resident Silvia de la Sota demonstrates how to make a Pisco Sour. If you’re looking for a Peruvian dish to serve with your Pisco Sours, check out this Nibble cooking video for Aji de Gallina, a delicious Peruvian chicken dish.
[vimeo width=”570″ height=”420″]http://vimeo.com/25155625[/vimeo]
Local cultural producer and master mixologist Brother Cleve reports that an excellent new brand of Pisco, Macchu Pisco, is now available throughout the square, at the Independent and Macchu Pichu; and Inatio at Jerry’s Liquors may be stocking it soon. Cleve, who produced the fab “Wild Side of Bollywood” ArtsUnion event last winter, is not only partial to Pisco, he’s currently obsessed with all things Peruvian. So, we’re scheming with Cleve about an ArtsUnion event at Machu Picchu in late fall/early winter that would celebrate Chicha music (Peruvian surf music)—and, of course, Peruvian food and drinks. Cleve will be heading to Peru this fall to trawl for Chicha records at Lima flea markets. While mixing surf beats at the Chicha and Pisco Party, Cleve may also mix some of his own Pisco Sours, a version infused with coca leaves and orange liquor. From Bollywood to Chicha to exotic elixirs, we thank you Cleve for exposing us to the more obscure aspects of global culture. If you’d like to be kept in the loop regarding upcoming Pisco Parties & other Arts Council events, please sign up for our digital newsletter on the SAC web site.