viernes, 27 de marzo de 2015

In the land of Pisco... Pisco Cocktails

We would like to thank Giovanna Lopez Muñoz, the Director and Manager of Giodrink & Cocktails Catering / Organización de Eventos  de Bar / for allowing us to publish her recipes.

1.-Chilcano de Lima  "New Tendency Cocktails "
2 ounces of Italia Pisco or Torontel soaked in lime peel
1/4 ounce of fresh lime juice
A few drops of angostura bitter
1 slice of lime, finely chopped and without seeds
Ginger ale piccadilly
10 to 12 ounce glass
In a 10 to 12 ounce high ball glass add ice until about ¾ the way full. Later add the Pisco which has been soaked in lime peel, the fresh lime juice, the angostura bitters, an optional ¼ ounce of cane syrup. Fill the rest of the glass with ginger ale. Decorate with slices of lime inside the glass, and a small fresh sprig of mint. Stir and serve with a smile. 

2.-Millka Moka   "Signature and Creative Cocktails by the Author"
1.5 ounces of pure Pisco, Quebranta or Moscatel variety, soaked in cinnamon
1 ounce of Moka Millka Liqueur (Pisco, cream, chocolate and coffee)
½ ounce of coconut cream hak
½ fresh banana
1 ounce of evaporated milk
1 red cherry
1 slice of fresh fruit (anything that is in season)
6 ice cubes
Decorative 12 to 14 ounce glass.
Add all the ingredients in the order listed into a blender. Blend for 25 to 30 seconds, until it is a uniform and compact mixture. Later serve in a pear-shaped glass or a decorative long drink glass (12 to 14 ounces). Decorate with two straws, 1 cherry or any colorful fruit. Drink with pleasure.

3.-Aguaymanto  Shake "Novo-Andina Cocktails "
2 ounces of Italia Pisco, soaked in golden raisins
6 to 8 aguaymantos, clean and fresh
½ ounce of aguaymanto cream hak
½ ounce of artisan french vanilla syrup
1 ounce evaporated milk
Shaved white chocolate
1 aguaymanto with peel for decoration
6 ice cubes

Decorative 12 to 14 ounce glass.

Add all the ingredients in the order listed into a blender. Blend for 25 to 30 seconds until it is a uniform and compact mixture. Serve in a champagne glass or a decorative long drink glass (12 to 14 ounces). Decorate with the aguaymanto and its peel, forming a beautiful flower on the edge of the glass. Finally, top with a dusting of white chocolate and enjoy this noble combination. Cheers!

Translated by Katrina Heimark

Pisco bilingual magazine

viernes, 20 de marzo de 2015

In the land of Pisco... Illustrious Pisqueros

Ricardo Palma (1833-1919) reknown for his “Peruvian traditions”  that brings us close to our national identity.

The Achirana del Inca is 18km northeast of the city of Ica and approximately 15 minutes by car. It is an irrigation canal constructed during the Incan empire during Inca Pachacutec’s government. It is more than 500 years old. We want to share with you this “Peruvian Tradition” written by the great Ricardo Palma which explains why the canal has its name. You can’t miss it!

The Achirana del Inca
(Dedicated to Teodorico Olaechea)

In 1412 the Inca Pachacutec, accompanied by his son, the Imperial Prince Yupanqui and by his brother Capac Yupanqui, began  the conquest of the valley of Ica. The inhabitants of Ica, while they may have had a peaceful nature, they were not short on effort and weaponry for war. The sage monarch understood this and before they turned to their weapons, he proposed to the people of Ica that they submit to his paternal government. Accepting this, the Inca and his forty thousand warriors were, cordially and respectfully received by the locals.
When Pachacutec visited the fertile land that he had just added to his domain, he stopped for a week at the farm called Tate. The owner of the farm was an old woman who was accompanied by a beautiful maiden, her daughter.

The conqueror of the town thought it would be easy to win over the heart of the young woman; but she was in love with a gentleman from the area. Therefore, she had the energy that only true love inspires, to resist the entreaties of the prestigious and omnipotent leader.

In the end, Pachacutec lost all hope of his love being requited, and took the woman into his arms and told her, sighing:
“Be in peace, bird of this valley, and never let the mist of pain hang its veil over the sky of your soul. Ask for some mercy, for you and your people that will make you always remember the love that you inspired in me.

“Sir,” the woman replied, falling to her knees and kissing the hem of his royal cloak, “you are great and there is nothing that is impossible for you. You have freed me with your nobility, as I no longer have to have my soul enslaved to another owner.

I should ask nothing from you, because one is obligated to those who give gifts, but if you are satisfied with the gratitude of my people, I beg that you give water to this farm.

If you plant benefits, you will harvest blessings. Reign, sir, over grateful hearts more than over men who, timid, bow before you, blinded by your splendor.”

“You are discreet, black-haired maiden, and thus you captivate me with your words, just as much as with the fire of your eyes. Goodbye illusory dream of my life! Wait ten days, and you will see that what you ask for will be. Goodbye! Do not forget your king!

And the gentlemanly monarch, putting on the gold that the nobility wore on their shoulders, continued on his triumphant journey.

Over the next ten days the forty thousand men of his army worked to open the channel that began in the Molino, Trapiche and ended in Tate, the farm where the beautiful young woman lived, and who Pachacutec fell passionately in love with.

The water from the channel of the Inca supplies an abundant quantity of water to the haciendas that are today known as Chabalina, Belen, San Jerónimo, Tacama, San Martín, Mercedes, Santa Bárbara, Chamchajaya, Santa Elena, Vistaalegre, Sáenz, Parcota, Tayamana, Pongo, Pueblo Nuevo, Sonumpe, and finally, Tate.

Thus, according to tradition, is the origin of the channel “achirana,” which means “that which runs cleanly until it is beautiful.”

Peruvian Traditions by Ricardo Palma, Volume II
Espasa-Calpe, S.A. Madrid 1946

Translated by Katrina Heimark

martes, 10 de marzo de 2015

In the land of Pisco... Illustrious Pisqueros

A biographical sketch of Jose Maria Arguedas

“I’m going to make a confession.  I am my step-mother’s making.  She looked down on me and resented me, as much as, with the Indians, so I decided myself that I had to sleep in the kitchen,” the writer and anthropologist revealed one day. 

The smell of gunpowder has dissipated in the small office where Jose Maria welcomed death, which took him to his final resting place four days later from a hospital bed. 
Despite the controversy that surrounds the transportation of his remains to Andahuaylas in 2004, there is only room for respect of the legacy of the great “Misti” (white in Quechua), who was born on January 18, 1911. 

Arguedas himself was “Ernesto,” the melancholy and poetic child that he created in his novel “The deep rivers” (1958); but he did know how to laugh. In Lima he frequented the cultural bohemians that met up at the Peña Pancho Fierro. There he would tell many Quechua jokes, some of them quite risqué, and as his favorite violinist, Maximo Damian, recalls, the also liked the taste of Vargas Pisco.  

It is the same Arguedas that frequented the patron saint festivals and the Sunday coliseums, with the same impetus as a provincial man who was seeking refuge in the music in order to better survive in the city. 

Due to the fact that he was a great novelist, it has left little room in for analyzing his great contribution as an ethnologist, compiler of different manifestations of folklore, and educator, who reflected in writing about topics such as the issue of the Spanish language dominating in monolingual areas, for example. 

Yes, the “Misti” with a mustache was a professor starting in 1939, when he first taught in a small school in Sicuani, Cusco, until the day of his suicide, when he was an instructor in the La Molina University.

He was a deep intellectual, who knew the tunes of the south Sierra: Huainos and Carnavales, K’aswas, Araskaskas and Harawies. There are two CDs with his voice, edited by the Jose Mara Arguedas Higher School of Folklore, and one edited by the Pontificia Catholic University of Peru. He spoke Quechua with pleasure and he was captivated by the best of western culture. He was not archaic!

He so loved the singers and musicians from the center of the country that he dedicated his colossal novel, “All of the Blood” to the Ayacucho charango player Jaime Guardia, the same man who belonged to the group of Andean artists who sang, played and cried at his burial.

Arguedas was married twice (to Cecilia Bustamante and Sybila Arredondo), but he was never divorced from his inspiration: the Andes and the Apurimac River. He elevated the “Scissor Dance” to poetry in “The agony of Rasu Ñiti.”
He was a chronic insomniac; perhaps because of the way in which being of mized race bothered him. Spanish limited him from aptly describing the cosmos—as those who speak the runa simi know. So his writing was filled with words from both languages, because “only in this mixture I have gotten to know other places, the soul of my land.”

If it weren’t for Arguedas, the recognition of the dansaqs would have taken much longer. Still today, there is no figure who has filled the gap he has left behind. They say that a giant never is born twice in the same land.

Translated by Katrina Heimark

martes, 3 de marzo de 2015

In the land of Pisco... "The Pisco Ladies" Part II

The woman who left

It isn’t the same to hear about it as it is to see it. And to drink it. We knew the news before we got to Los Aquijes, but the pain throbbed against our nerves when we reached her room, the scene  full of silence and absence. 
We were late to our appointment with the lady of our national firewater—one week after; we had arranged to meet, but she was no longer with us. Rosa Bravo, matriarch of our Pisco, loved like few others, mother of eight children, widow and unbreakable orphan, passed away on Sunday, May 8th, four days after turning 75. 

It was a mother’s day that will not be erased from her children’s faces. Herlinda Nieves, the oldest, is the only one who was able to speak. The rest spoke with their eyes, with their pain visible. “The only homage we can do for our mother is to continue producing her Pisco, and ensure that it has international recognition.”

Not so long ago, Saturnino Pisco, produced in the Carmen Bodega that she inherited from her father (Saturnino Bravo), won a gold medal in the Brussels Competition for the pure Torontel Pisco. It filled her with illusions and plans, such as traveling to London, carrying with her the star she distilled. 
Her daughter-in-law remembers her as a good woman to the full extent of the word, who never refused to help, a tireless fighter. And she told us, a weight on our chests, “before she died, she told us that you were coming to interview her.”

The pure Pisco Torontel don Saturnino traveled with us to our next destination, sharing, quietly that feeling of closeness unknown to us and which touches our hearts as the days go by.

Precious History
The next destination was northern Ica, fifteen kilometers from Chincha, in the Hoja Redonda district. No one was unaware of the home of Elena Garcia; everyone knew her wonderful story. Well surrounded by a subtle aura,
Elena came to Hoja Redonda twelve years ago with a suitcase in one hand and her three children in the other.
In Moquegua, her native land, she earned her living by sewing for other people. But no one could patch the sadness of having a cruel husband. Only by preparing Pisco could she find a way to distill her sadness and give a future for her children.

When she knocked on the door of the Brescia family estate, there was skepticism regarding her offer of preparing Piscos. “I started with four plastic tubs and a small still-pot. I will always remember it.” Since then, in 1993, she has sworn to leave every year, but she is still there next to her beloved stills.

“I like this job. And little by little I created a small bodega, where I could do marvelous things. I made everything up—until in 1995 I saw on the news that there was a Pisco competition and they were asking for Piscos to compete. I presented our Pisco and won first place! That gave me strength, the owner loved it, and he told me that I could do whatever I wanted. But I never thought about myself—that is why I am who I am!

Now that the small bodega has been transformed into the very modern Viñas de Oro, with 50 hectares of grapes, they don’t want her to leave. “They tell me that if I leave, the owner will have a heart attack.”

Much of the advancement of the bodega is due to her effort and generosity. “When they didn’t buy the things I asked for, I cried. I saw that they were not listening to me and I would cry and threaten to leave. They noticed that I was so upset that they bought me the things, and I received them with love. It was for the bodega, so it could grow. I asked God for it to grow so that it would generate more work. And the bodega doesn’t know what to do with so many grapes, and has been looking for many people to work for them.”

We can’t really say what her position is. To be honest, she works in everything, and as Johnny Schuler says, her word is the law in Viñas de Oro. She distills, carries out quality control, filtration, bottling. Her secret is her maternal care that she gives to the entire process—from the stem to the glass.

But everyone has the right to form their own future. Elena Garcia is a brave, dedicated woman. She doesn’t have to even demonstrate it—twelve years of lonely battle are proof enough.

That is why now that her daughter is about to graduate from Moquegua as an agricultural technician with knowledge of enology, she has an idea running through her head.
Elena… you are dreaming of having your own bodega…?, isn’t that so? Yes.
(She closes her eyes, teary-eyed, her voice trembles). Yes, I do all the time. I have *finished my cycle here and I want to open my bodega. I have to do it with my children. There is nothing wrong with starting from scratch. I’m not afraid. I want to go back to Moquegua and make my own Pisco.

Wings, good wind…and good grapes.
Rosalina and Marisol
The next day, the morning sun rose over Lunahuana with a virtue that can heal scars from the soul. Ready for the next part of our trip, we chewed on our thoughts while busy hands kneaded bread for breakfast. All this before we went to the Olimpo Bodega, which until four years ago was occupied by the emblematic figure of Rene Adolfo Quiroz Cubillas, son of the legendary Vicente Quiroz Sanchez, the Bodega’s founder in 1934.

Few burials bring together so many and so varied demonstrations of support. There was a sea of people, and on that day the voice of Rosalina Sanchez de Quiroz was Rose with unexpected strength, over crowed as she said goodbye to her 50 year long partner in marriage.
We have spoken of marked loneliness, but also of anxiety and labor. The former two-time mayor of Lunahuana doesn’t have the will to abandon the bodega  but although she kept from the farm work and the distillery she learned the challenges of the early morning schedule and the housework that follows.

“God put me on this path, even before I was married. I was living in Lima then I fell in love, got married and moved to Lunahuana.”

In her case as well, like the Bohorquez with their father, Rosalina and her daughters gave into the patriarchal spirit and did not ever think about getting close to the farm work, especially during the grape-crushing.
“When my husband was alive, he wouldn’t even let us out of the house. ‘This is not work for my daughters to do,’ he said. My husband was very conservative. At most I watched what he was doing. Now, if he or their grandfather were alive, they would fall over watching us do this work,” she says proudly. 

“The Gringa” as she is affectionately known in Lunahuana, believes that there is a difference when there is a woman involved in making Pisco. Which coincides with Eduvina Acuache from Ica who believes that it is because of the care women give to the purity of the grape. “Also, women have a much more delicate palate and we appreciate smells and flavors better.”

This Pisco lady has assured her succession. And her daughter Marisol keep herself away from this painful fate that puts women at the head of such vigorous work. She is in Lunahuana and works at El Olimpo Bodega after the airline she was working for in Lima broked down
With her little Allison she has embarked on the return to her father’s land and there she will learn to produce Pisco, from the grape to the press, from the darkness of the earthenware jugs to the light of the still and the enjoyable immaculate flow of our Peruvian firewater.

Translated by Katrina Heimark