miércoles, 25 de noviembre de 2015

In the land of pisco... Pisco Gatherings

Tuesday, May 29th, 10:30 am in some café in Miraflores: 

“Hello, Alvarito, how are you? Let’s see that surprise that you are bringing us!” 

“Hello Livio, Walter. Would you like a cup of coffee?” 

“Of Course!”

“Waiter, please bring us three cafes cortados”

This reminded me of another way to drink coffee, which was called “Correct Coffee”. While it is true that the original recipe is with grappa, if you add Pisco it could be tha you like it even more. “Correct Coffee, Peruvian style” or Piscafe. Here is the recipe. 
1 espresso
1 tsp of sugar
1 T of Pisco, your preferred variety
Milk foam from a café cortado, used at the end.

Make the espresso per the manufacturer’s instructions on your espresso maker. Put one teaspoon of sugar in the bottom of the glass. Add the hot espresso. Finish off with 1 tablespoon of your preferred variety of Pisco. Add a little milk foam (as is done with a café cortado) and serve immediately.

Ok, let’s continue and talk about the material.
Here is the installment: Tintin by Herge drank Peruvian Pisco.

In May 2007, the centennial of the birth of Herge (George Remi: 1907 (Brussels)-1983 (Lovaina, Belguim), creator of Tintin, was celebrated. The Tintin comics appeared starting in 1929, and as you will see, Tintin and Captain Haddock also enjoyed our national beverage.

In this clipping from a Tintin comic, we can see Captain Haddock drinking Peruvian Pisco. The image can be found in the book “The Temple of the Sun” (1949).

Translation: In the second box, the character with a cigar in his mouth called Cuthbert says “Why don’t we forget all about the incident. Will you allow me to offer you a glass of Pisco? It is our national drink…”

Later the Captain, in the fourth box, very happily says to Tintin, “Our lucky day! I didn’t think we would see old Cuthbert again! It is also the happiest day of my life! Hooray for Pisco! Everything is great! Everything will turn out fine!”

Cheers to your health, Tin Tin

Translated by Katrina Heimark

pisco bilingual magazine

martes, 3 de noviembre de 2015

In the land of pisco... Pisco Gatherings History and Praise of the Lima Bar

Bars are usually intimate and essential places for their faithful. A  bar is a place where one can go to celebrate or suffer as God desires. A good bar is quintessential for human relationships. The exaltation of friendship. Or, why not, profound loneliness. That is its paradox. 

Those from Lima have always been good conversationalists, and the bars have always been ideal places for their loquaciousness, to loosen the reins of their hyperbolic lips, of their unstoppable need to talk. 

Originally, Lima didn’t use the anglicized “bar” but called them “cafés.” But they were cafes presided over by enormous bottles, great jugs of Pisco and sandwiches. As one knows, being euphemistic is also very Lima. 

The tradition of bars began in Lima in the 16th Century, in what we know today as the Five Corners, which was the stage for a tavern called La Sirena, refuge of the mule drivers and travelers at the entrance to the city. 

The frescos which adorned the walls were famous. They represented a group of sirens with attitudes and performing obscene acts, under the pretext of serving as teaching devices and warnings for the dangers that resulted from these practices. 

Years later, next to this bar a beautiful woman called “The snake” established herself, and like the sirens of mythology, she dedicated herself to misleading passersby with her songs and her loving abilities. Later others came, and the area became better known for its ill-gotten fame. 
At the beginning of the 18th Century, in the middle of the Plaza Mayor of Lima, on the same corner as the entrance to Botoneros and with a door on Bodogones Street the House of Ham was built, an establishment that marked an era. It was the compulsory place for gatherings and conspiracies. It existed until the beginning of the Republic. Across from this same street the Café de Bodogones was founded, during the same period of time in which various grocery stores along Huevo Street became fashionable. These stores sold various products for daily use and at night they were frequented by the incipient bohemians of Lima, who had fun, conversed, and drank Pisco. Tradition has it that Micaela Villegas “la Perricholi” frequented one of these locales. 

At the beginning of the 19th Century the San Agustin and Inquisicion Cafes emerged on the streets of the same name. 

At the end of the 19th Century and in the Plaza Mayor on the corner of Palacio and Correo, where today sits Plaza Peru, Bar Canessa began and lasted more than fifty years. It was a specialist in butifarras and macerated Piscos with a variety of products. There were macerated Piscos from dried fruits, almonds, herbs, and very aromatic ones from oranges. In those days the old “Fonda Francesca” would become the Hotel Maury, whose bar is believed to have invented the Pisco Sour. Today, the tradition is maintained and it is an ideal place to drink a great Pisco Sour. 
Another version argues that the famous cocktail was invented in the Morris Bar which came into existence later on Boza Street in the Jiron de la Union, and which reached its greatest splendor in the 1920s.

As time went on, Lima was transformed, modernized but still maintains its mischevious and garrulous personality, so places that are apt for groups, clubs and circles will still emerge.

On Espaderos street Enrique Magan’s cigar store was established. In it, as well as fine selected tobaccos, cleaning clothes and cigarettes, they dispensed good Pisco and it was in the afternoons, an obligatory stop for a chat about bullfighting.

A loyal client of this establishment was don Nicolas de Pierola. Precisely in this cigar store was where he was baptized the “caliph” after comparing his extreme valor and audacity with that of the matador Rafael Molina “small lizard,” also known as the “Cordoba Caliph.”

Pierola, who was a great aficionado of Pisco, also frequented a locale called Olives and Firewater, located on the corner of Olaya and Camana streets in Chorillos, very close to his summer home. It was there that he would meet with his supporters so as not to bring politics home.
Pedro Benvenutto Murrieta in his great play “Quince Plazuelas, una Alameda y un Callejón” talks about the Café Maximiliano which existed in the now non-existant Plazuela de los Desamparados. The Maximiliano was, as Benvenutto says, the axis of the nightlife of Lima. “It is frequented in the night hours by non-sancta people…they would never close their doors as they had a license to open in the wee hours, and all of the picturesque world of the Lima underworld would meet inside, the rogues and womanizers of the city, the bad women, their lovers, and all those night people…”

In those first years of the 20th Century, a locale on Contradiccon de Abajo del Puento Street also came to fame. It was on the second story and overlooked the river. The owner was an impressive woman of Italian origin. Her figure reminded one of those illustrations of Liberty seated with laurels, with a Phrygian cap, and the Peruvian flag. The ingenious men of Lima baptized her as “Standing Liberty” and, by extension, her bar was “The Liberty.”

The name honored the license and liberties that the patrons would imbibe inside. It was the “Standing Liberty” who during a night full of Pisco and debauchery baptized the stubborn gang of locals—led by Alejandro Ayzara ‘Karmanduca’--the “fence.” She compared them to the overflowing river that would drag an uncontrolled fence that would get into everything.

Those were the days in which the Cordano bar appeared, on the corner of Pescaderia and Rastro de San Francisco streets—right across from the Government Palace. With their marble tables, their shiny coffee maker, their cheeses, jams, Piscos and beer, the Cordano is still around and has recently celebrated 100 years.

Later the Quierolo bars would emerge—the one in Magdalena and the one on the corners of Quilca and Camana—offering their own Piscos and macerated Piscos.

It was during those years that the Zela Bar in the San Martin Plaza would come to fame—a favorite place for poets and journalists, whose specialty was the Chilcano.

In 1924, the Leguia administration along with the private sector put together a series of initiatives in order to equip Lima with a modern infrastructure and represent the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Ayacucho with dignity. It was then that wide avenues appeared, the decorations became enriched with surprising works and it was decided that a hotel was to be built which would put Lima at the heights of the great capitals of the world. It was thus that the Gran Hotel Bolivar was built in the renovated San Martin Plaza.

The Bolivar transformed Lima’s social life. Soon it was the epicenter of all social activity. Saturdays were crowded with dances and dinners, and Wednesdays were packed for the “Te Danzant” enlivened by The Piramos orchestra, who came all the way from the United States to do so. “Mundial” magazine has photographic evidence of those unforgettable nights in Lima that were more than anything a party.

During the 50s the hotel reached its peak. The Grill, the Cocktail Lounge and the English Bar were witnesses to a legendary bohemian group. The Lima intellectuals, movie stars of world fame, Presidents and State leaders were obligatory guests or diners. Those were the glory days and the reign of the fastest flowing Pisco Sour in generous cups called “cathedrals,” before which the faithful genuflected.

In 1925, a year after the Bolivar was built, the construction of the Country Club Hotel began in San Isidro. This building was also inaugurated by President Leguia, two years later.

Ever since its inauguration, the Country Club was the meeting point for the most select clientele, and lodged in its suites Princes, Presidents and great figures of art and world politics.

It has always offered a magnificent Pisco Sour that even today, eighty years later, can be drunk in the English Bar.

The years have passed and to this repertoire we add “La Casa del Pisco” also in San Isidro, which offers Piscos from Lima, Ica, Arequipa, Moquegua and Tacna. It is a center for Pisco culture, above all on Thursday nights when it functions as an old-fashioned peña criolla.

Today you can still find a well-stocked Pisco bar in the restaurant “Las Brujas de Cachiche” in Miraflores, as well as the unbeatable collection of macerated Piscos in “El Senorio de Sulco” on the Miraflores shorefront.

In Barranco, the legendary locale Juanito still exists, across from the municipal park.

These are bars that preserve the tradition of the old Lima bar, full of Pisco and butifaras, of cold food, bars that smell of wood and tradition. Bars in which one feels the pulse of Lima, this old and poetic city with which it is unavoidable to fall in love.

From the book “Pisco: Tribute to the Senses” by Luciano Revoredo R.

Translated by Katrina Heimark