In the mid-to-late 1800s, pisco was all over San Francisco, shipped up the coast from Peru to quench the thirst of hopeful gold miners who moved west in 1849. Pisco Punch was the most popular cocktail at the time, and in general, life was good for pisco producers until Prohibition ended its rampant supply. Since then, pisco has taken a back seat in America as other spirits like whiskey and gin – and eventually, vodka – dominated the market. But pisco is making a comeback, led in part by great producers like Portón.
Pisco Portón ($45) is distilled at Hacienda la Caravedo in Ica, Peru by Master Distiller Johnny Shuler, who doubles as the company’s CEO. Under Shuler’s guidance (he’s the former president of the National Taster’s Guild of Peru, so he knows his stuff), Pisco Portón is crafted as a premium pisco for the U.S. market. And it’s not just marketing hype; this is seriously good stuff.
Pisco Portón is a mosto verde pisco, which means that it’s distilled from partially fermented grape juice. Since the fermentation isn’t complete, the spirit has a lower sugar content, making it dryer than many piscos. It’s distilled in copper pot stills right to 86 proof, so it’s not diluted with water like many spirits. On the nose it’s rich and musty with a hint of tropical fruit notes, and it has flavors of malty fruit and fresh bread. The mouthfeel is velvety smooth, making it a very decent sipper, though where it really shines is in cocktails like the always-tasty Pisco Sour.
Score some for yourself; the bottle alone is a worthy conversation piece.
Buy Now: $45