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On a recent trip to Peru, I was told by friends who've visited of all of the places that I needed to check out, all the restaurants I had to eat at, and all of the historical sites that I needed to explore. The one thing that was missing from that list, for someone who's a cocktail aficionado, is to try the Chilcano—a modernized twist on the classic Pisco Sour.
While it isn't that hard to come by, it's a regional staple that you can't pass up. Almost every restaurant or bar offers their own version of the Chilcano with a handful of variations, but they all generally stick to the same recipe: 2 oz. Pisco, 4 oz. ginger ale, 1/2 oz. lime juice, 2 drops of Angostura bitters, and served over ice in a rocks glass.
Pisco, usually associated with its namesake cocktail the Pisco Sour—made with Pisco, egg whites, simple syrup, lime juice, and Angostura bitters—is a Peruvian brandy made from fermented grapes. It's subtly sweet and when mixed with ginger, makes for a wonderfully balanced cocktail. And this isn't the only updated take on the classic cocktail, there are a handful of variations that include local fruit juices. Try supplementing the lime juice with one ounce of mango, passion fruit, dragon fruit, or guava juice, for a different take.
Wondering where to get a Chilcano in Lima? Head to La Picantería in the Surquillo neighborhood for one of the best in town. You can also get great versions of the drink at Central and Maido, both of which landed on The World's 50 Best list for the best restaurants around the globe.
In recent years, the country has become one of the most traveled for foodies around the globe. With a handful of internationally celebrated restaurants and chefs between Lima and Cusco, it's the perfect destination for anyone looking for a culinary vacation.