Ever heard of the cocktail called Pisco Sour? This delicious drink is made from pisco, egg white, lemon juice and simple syrup. As the national drink, it’s served with pride all over Peru. We decided to take a few days and go straight to the source by visiting some distilleries or bodegas around the town of Lunahuaná in southern Peru. We originally planned to visit this area to try some Peruvian wines, but found that pisco brewing was the main business. With everyone trying to give you free samples of their award winning batch, we didn’t miss the wine too much.
Pisco is a clear liquor distilled from grapes, similar to brandy. It is made artisanally in Peru following strict rules. It must be aged for a minimum of 3 months, it is never diluted and cannot contain any additives. Pisco was named the best liquor of the world at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles 2011.
Tourism is big business in Lunahuaná so there’s no shortage of agencies offering pisco tours, but as there are several bodegas close by all giving away free booze, we set out on foot. The first one we went to (and probably the best) was Bodega Los Reyes. They have been making pisco for over 100 years and also make some pretty tasty semi-seco, or sweet wine. We hung out and chatted with the owner who was happy to dish out all the samples we wanted. After wandering around and checking out their operation, we bought a bottle of manzanilla semi-seco (delicious chamomile infused sweet wine) and hit the road to visit another bodega.
Just down the highway was Bodega de la Motta. The friendly owners had recently purchased the company and were excited to have us as visitors. We were quickly whipped up a Pisco Sour on the house and sipped it at their beautiful bar.
The next day we decided to head the other way (both Los Reyes and de la Motta are east of town, while the rest we visited are west) out of town to check out more bodegas in the area. We visited Bodega D’ la Cruz and Bodega Hijo del Sol where we tried their best pisco’s and got tours of their grounds. After buying a few bottles to take home as souvenirs we headed back to Lunahuaná to hang out in the town square. As it was Saturday, many of the companies set up little bars, enticing people with more free samples and endless varieties of pisco cocktails. That was all the encouragement visitors needed to add a bit of revelry to the normally quiet town.
Getting To/From/Around: Make your way to Cañete (between Lima and Pisco) and catch a combi (shared minibus) to the town of Imperial, where you change for another combi that goes to Lunahuaná. The town of Lunahuaná is small and you can walk everywhere. If you don’t feel like walking outside of town, there are many taxis and mototaxis.
Bonus: Visit Lunahuaná during the harvest festival during the second week of March