Pisco, a clear grape-based brandy, was a popular ingredient in many San Francisco cocktails during the late 19th century, most famously Pisco Punch—created by the Bank Exchange Saloon.
Since the owner of the saloon took the recipe with him to his grave, there are many variations on this cocktail floating around out there. If you want to be authentic, you should use gomme syrup—a rich simple syrup made with gum arabic that adds a silky texture and prevents sugars from crystalizing. Most people just aren’t going to bother to hunt for gum arabic or commercial gomme syrup, so I skip it in my recipe.
With or without the gomme syrup, this cocktail is a winner! It’s bright and festive but also has depth and just the right balance between sweet and dry. Try it for party time … or any time.
(This recipe is for 1 serving. Scale up to make more.)
2 ounces pisco
3/4 ounce pineapple-infused rich syrup*
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
Place a chilled pineapple chunk you saved from the syrup at the bottom of a coupe, punch cup or rocks glass. Shake the pisco, syrup and lemon with ice in a cocktail shaker, then strain into the glass that has the pineapple chunk in it.
*Pineapple-Infused Rich Syrup
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/2 pineapple, cored and sliced into chunks
Bring the sugar and water to a boil. Let simmer for three minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Place the pineapple chunks in a large bowl and pour the cooled syrup over them. Cover and let it steep and chill overnight in the refrigerator. Remove the pineapple chunks and save them to serve with the punch. (This recipe makes 2 cups, so you’ll use a quarter of a pineapple per cup of syrup.)
Photo by Jackson Stakeman