Unlike tequila, another Latin American spirit, pisco hasn’t made as big of a splash in the U.S. — but one big producer of the grape-based liquor in Peru is hoping to change that with the release of La Caravedo, a more affordable pisco than the producer’s lauded Pisco Porton.
Both of the white spirits are made at Hacienda La Caravedo in Ica, Peru, where master distiller Johnny Schuler has been transforming pisco into a spirit increasingly recognized worldwide for its versatility and its distinct sense of place. The distillery from which the new pisco gets its name took care to make La Caravedo a very different grape spirit from Pisco Porton, setting it apart not just in price point but in flavor as well, according to a press release.
Pisco La Caravedo is a “pisco puro,” meaning that it’s made from one of the only eight grape varietals allowed by Peruvian law to make pisco (which is one of the few spirits with a Denomination of Origin, a law that dictates it must be produced in a specific region and under strict guidelines). The Quebranta grape, a non-aromatic varietal from Peru’s coast, is known for its body and fullness of flavor, and it helped to impart the elegant, full-bodied La Caravedo with notes of botanicals and dried fruits, according to the press release.
Approximately 8 lbs. of grapes are used to make each bottle of the new pisco — a venture Pisco Porton LLC, the makers of the pisco at Hacienda La Caravedo, decided was well worth the effort.
“We enjoy many different styles of pisco in Peru and each style offers a unique flavor profile,” Brent Kallop, president of the company, said in the press release, adding that La Caravedo was introduced as a high quality and well-priced pisco puro “to give people who are curious about pisco a new opportunity to taste and enjoy a different expression of Peru’s native spirit.”
(Pisco Porton is an “acholado mosto verde pisco” and contains even more grapes, a whopping 18 lbs. of four estate-grown grapes per bottle: Albilla, Italia, Torontel and Quebranta, the press release said.)
Already, more bars are responding to the lower price tag of Pisco La Caravedo by incorporating it into their drinks. Among them is Drink.Well in Austin’s North Loop neighborhood. The bar created the Sun Worship, featuring La Caravedo, passion fruit juice, Cocchi Americano, creole bitters, lemon and grapefruit, for their current seasonal cocktail menu.
But if you’re looking to experiment with pisco at home, rather than at a bar, here’s a recipe that showcases more of La Caravedo’s tropical potential. The pisco has the suggested retail price of $24.99.
La Caravedo Cooler
2 oz. La Caravedo
1 oz. Fresh lime juice
1 oz. Simple Syrup
Fresh mango juice
Add ice and all ingredients except the mango juice and soda in a mixing tin. Shake and then strain into ice-filled Collins glass. Top with mango juice and a splash of soda. Garnish with a lime twist.
— Pisco Porton LLC