Pisco PortĂłn/Facebook

The 5 Best Piscos Available in the U.S.


Pisco isn’t your typical brandy—at least not for those who are more familiar with European-style brandies. Like its cousins, Cognac and Armagnac, pisco is distilled from grapes. But unlike those oaky offerings, it’s not aged in wood (in fact, regulations forbid it). Instead, the spirit, which can be made only in Chile and Peru, must age or “rest” for at least three months in glass, stainless steel or other materials that don’t alter its chemical makeup, and must also remain additive-free. The resulting spirit is grassy, vegetal and earthy with a pale straw color.

Though pisco was popular with American bartenders in the late-1800s, it fell out of favor during the 20th century. It’s only recently started showing up in U.S. liquor stores and cocktail bars once again. And we couldn’t be more excited. Not only does the abundance of pisco inspire the return of classics cocktails like the Pisco Punch and Pisco Sour, but it also opens the door for new innovations.

Whether you’re in the mood for a pitcher of Pisco Punch or simply want to expand your spirit knowledge, here are five pisco brands available around the U.S. worthy of a spot on your home bar.

Pisco PortĂłn

With flavors of citrus and spice, Pisco Portón wonderfully complements a bitters-topped Pisco Sour. It’s made near the coast of Peru at Hacienda La Caravedo, which claims to be the oldest distillery in the Americas, in operation since 1684. At $40, the stately bottle will look impressive on any bar.

Barsol Pisco/Facebook

Barsol Pisco

Barsol is the pisco you’re most likely to find in bars around the country. The brand produces four cocktail-worthy expressions (Primero Quebranta, Selecto Italia, Selecto Acholado and Supremo Mosto Verde Italia) at Bodega San Isidro in Ica, Peru. While all of Barsol’s bottlings hover around the more affordable $25 range, we like the Primero Quebranta best for its balanced flavor and versatility.

Macchu Pisco

La Diablada

Unlike many other piscos out there, this delicate bottling, which sells for about $40, leans hard on its floral notes and is meant for sipping, rather than mixing. That said, it’s also a terrific substitution for gin in cocktails like Gimlets and Negronis.

Encanto Pisco/Facebook

Campo de Encanto

Campo de Encanto’s Grand and Noble Pisco is an acholado, or a blended pisco, made from five different grape varieties (moscatel, quebranta, mollar, italia and torontel). It has a rich and fruity flavor with a crisp finish, making it perfect for sipping or mixing into classic pisco cocktails. A bottle of it goes for about $38, a fair price considering the bevy of delicious concoctions it will help create.

Pisco Control C

Control C Pisco

The only Chilean pisco on this list, Control C hails from the Limarí Valley in north-central Chile. It’s made primarily from Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel grapes, and has a slight spice on the nose, but a sweet and citrusy flavor. Though it makes a great cocktail—top it with Coke for a Piscola, a popular Chilean drink—this $25 pisco is also incredible neat or on the rocks.

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