We’ve been especially interested in Pisco since our fantastic experience at La Mar. Last week we featured a foolproof Pisco Sour. This week we are featuring a San Francisco classic, a perfect Pisco Punch. You can find variations on this cocktail all over town, but we’ve distilled it to the most basic poolside cocktail you’ll ever need.
The history and mystery of the Pisco Punch is fascinating. According to Duggan McDonnel in Drinking the Devil’s Acre: A Love Letter from San Francisco and her Cocktails, it originated in San Francisco and dates back to the Gold Rush.It was made famous and perfected by Duncan Nicol of the Bank Exchange. At the time, pineapple was rare and exciting, so of course it was one of the most expensive drinks in the city. It’s said that Nicol also originated the idea of a two drink maximum because his punches were so potent. Sadly, Nicol passed away, took his recipe with him, and the bar closed. If you want to visit the site, make you way to Trans America building where the bar was located. If you want to learn more about the history of Pisco Punch check out this book.
On one of our unseasonably warm Saturdays in San Francisco a few weeks ago, we made a Pisco Punch poolside. If you like margaritas, we think you will love the Pisco Punch as well. Clayton was devastated when he spilled his punch and we didn’t have enough lemons on hand to make another one.
An important secret to the perfect Pisco Punch is to use gum arabic in the drink, which binds the ingredients together and smoothes the texture. We use Small Hand Foods Pineapple Gum Syrup. You have a few options on how to serve this cocktail. For a dinner party cocktail, shaken and strained into a martini glass like these fun ones (on sale now) would be ideal, but for a lazy Saturday afternoon by the pool, we think that strained in a tumbler like these or these over ice is the way to go. We prefer it garnished simply with a slice of lemon.
- 2 oz Pisco
- ¾ oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ¾ oz Small Hand Foods Pineapple Gum Syrup
- Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake with ice until well chilled.
- Strain into a chilled martini glass or into a tumbler over ice.
- Garnish with lemon slice.
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