Peru produces an enviable quantity and variety of fruits, and with the help of innovative experts, so many exotic combinations have been produced that it is hard to know where to start!
Besides restaurants and cafés, small juice shops can be found in cities and markets, as well as specialist juice chains in the capital's districts and provinces.
Corn is an historic and basic ingredient and is used in the preparation of drinks like the traditional "chicha de jora" and the local drink "chicha morada".
"Chicha de jora" is made from corn fermented with fruits, and was used by ancient Peruvians in special ceremonies, while "chicha morada" is made from corn boiled with fruits and mixed with sugar and lemon to taste.
Pisco and Pisco Sour
Pisco, the national drink of Peru, is a liquor made from grapes that emerged in these lands during the colonial era, after the Spanish planted the first vineyards in the country.
The word "pisco" forms part of the name of a large number of Peruvian towns, regions and villages, such as Piscohuasi or Piscopampa. From mid-way through the 16th century, the Spanish began using the name "pisco" to describe a river, town and port south of Lima.
The first reports of the production of this grape liquor in Peru can be traced back to the start of the 17th century. Today, pisco is only produced on the coast (up to 2,000 masl - 6,562 fasl) in the departments of Lima, Ica, Arequipa, Moquegua and Tacna, with the aim of protecting its designation of origin.
Pisco can be enjoyed on its own or in a variety of cocktails, including Chilcano, Algarrobina or, most typical of all, Pisco Sour.
The basic Pisco Sour recipe uses home-made sugar syrup:
To make the syrup:
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 3 spoonfuls of water
To make the drink:
- 7 1/2 ounces (225 ml.) pisco
- 1 egg white
- 2 1/2 ounces (75 ml.) of lemon juice
- Angostura Bitters
- Put 1/2 cup of sugar in a small pot with three spoonfuls of water, just enough to dampen the sugar. Cook on a low hear, stirring with a spoon, until the sugar is entirely dissolved. Take it off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
- Add the lemon juice and the pisco to the warm syrup and beat firmly until the ingredients are well mixed. Pour the mixture into the blender and add ice until the volume of liquid has doubled.
- Blend at maximum speed for approximately 30 seconds, until the ice has completely dissolved. Add the egg white and blend again at maximum speed for 1 minute. Pour the mixture into a pitcher and serve immediately, in "old-fashioned" glasses or in white wine glasses. Traditionally, a drop of Angostura Bitters is added to each glass, in the centre of the foam.
- The basic mix is 3 parts pisco to 1 part lemon juice and 1 part syrup. These proportions can be multiplied to make as much as you need.
Tip: For a stronger drink, add a quarter of a measure of Pisco. If you want a softer drink, add a bit more syrup.