My brother Grant is a sometime contributor here at Sippity Sup. He’s been pairing some of the recipes with an appropriate wine ever since this blog started. What you may not realize is that Grant is also a graduate of the French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center) in New York City, and is also recognized as a Certified Specialist of Wine by the Society of Wine Educators. What this means of course is that I trust his palate. So when my brother points me in the direction of something delicious I usually take notice. Today’s Pisco Smash was inspired by Grant.
Grant recently introduced me to Fontana Pisco, which is just starting its roll-out to the US market in Florida. I’ll bet it will someday soon be available to the rest of the country– that’s the way these things work. So consider this post a Fontana Pisco heads up.
The timing of this product couldn’t be better. Pisco is definitely making itself known lately, and here in Los Angeles, it’s been popping up on menus everywhere. That’s because Food & Wine’s 2011 Best New Chef Chef Ricardo Zarate is leading the way at his Los Angeles restaurant Picca by introducing the breadth of Peru’s culinary culture to the city. No exploration of Peruvian cuisine would be complete without a nod to Pisco. It’s a brandy made with a South American grape and is produced in the wine-making regions of Peru and Chile. At Picca mixologist Julian Cox is serving up Pisco classics like Pisco Sour, Pisco Punch, and Chilcano. The menu boasts less expected choices as well, which is where I got my inspiration for this Pisco Smash.
A smash is a broad category of cocktail and has been popular for over a century. Like many cocktails, the exact definition of a smash is a question of semantics. Typically it will have some sort of seasonally or locally appropriate herb or fruit element. This element is smashed into a spirit base. There is also usually some sweet element involved. It could be simple syrup or it could be a liqueur. In this case, I’m taking the hint from Pisco and making my Pisco Smash with all things grape. Remember I said that Pisco is a brandy made from indigenous South American grapes. I’ve taken the grape theme one step further by choosing grapes as my fruit element and sweetening this Pisco Smash with a touch of Riesling wine. After all, wine is made from grapes. GREG