When you attend Spanish school in Peru, you will quickly realize that Pisco is a rather big deal. This delicious drink is the pride of the country. However, if you were to learn Spanish in Chile, you would find the exact same thing! The fact of the matter is that there is currently a dispute between Chile and Peru as to which country can claim the rights to this drink. Both countries say that theirs is the “real” Pisco.
It is interesting to note the history of Pisco, as the drink has been in production for hundreds of years. It became popular among sailors who traveled between South America and the early US colonies, and was well known in California at the time of the gold rush.
Pisco is made from grapes and is very similar to brandy. In Peru, the Pisco sour is a very popular drink that you will see served in many bars and restaurants. It is made with Pisco, lime, sugar and some egg yolk.
Whether you learn Spanish in Chile or Peru, you will find that this ancient drink is taken extremely seriously. In fact, there are laws governing how it is made. As a result, there are some serious differences between Chilean Pisco and Peruvian Pisco.
Types of Pisco in Peru include the following categories: Pure, Aromatic, Green Must and Acholado. The type of Pisco that is made depends on the type of grape that is used. For example, the Pure Pisco is usually made from the Quebranta grape, the aromatic Pisco is made from the Muscat grape, and the Acholado Pisco originates from grapes that can be aromatic or non-aromatic. Green Must Pisco has a different type of fermentation process that results in a mellow drink. Additionally, Pisco from Peru must be aged at least three months and no additives can be used in its production.
In Chile, most Pisco comes from the Muscat grape. Chileans place great emphasis on how strong the Pisco is, so bottles are marked with different proofs. When you learn Spanish in Chile, you will have the opportunity to taste a variety of types of Pisco including Yellow Muscat, Alexandria Muscat, Pink Muscat, Pedro Jimenez, and Torontel, to name a few. In Chile, the drink usually ages for just a few months. It is not mandatory for it to be aged for three months like it is in Peru. In Chile, Pisco is aged in wood, whereas in Peru, it is aged in glass or stainless steel containers.
Chile currently produces and exports Pisco, but Peruvians are seeking to keep the name “Pisco” solely for their country. In fact, they are looking into international patents on the name. If Peru succeeds, Chile will no longer be able to market and export this drink. When you attend Spanish school in Peru, you may hear locals discussing this controversy. A word to the wise— if you decide you like Chilean Pisco better, you just might want to keep that opinion to yourself!
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