July 28th, 2011
11:15 AM ET
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Peru is known to many as the land of the ancient Incas. Most recently, this South American country received worldwide recognition when the majestic ruins of Machu Picchu were named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

The country won its independence from Spain in 1824. Every year on July 28th, Peruvians gather to celebrate that independence and they will very likely do it with two of their staples: a citrus-cured seafood delicacy called ceviche and the national drink, the Pisco Sour. We visited a Peruvian restaurant in Washington to see first hand what goes into making the perfect ceviche and Pisco sour.

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Filed under: Cocktail Recipes • Holidays • How To • Make • Peru • Peruvian Independence Day • Recipes • Sip • Spirits • Techniques & Tips

soundoff (52 Responses)


    August 13, 2011 at 3:41 pm |

    Las delicias del Peru para todo el mundo. Bravo Eddy estas fantastico, que todo el mundo conozca las bondades culinarias de nuestro queridisisimo Perú. Chabuca

    August 11, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  3. Pisco 100% Peruvian


    The origin of the city of Pisco is said to be from pre-Incan times when the area was ruled by people known as the Piskus. The importance of the city incremented under Spanish rule due to its proximity to the coast and its exportation of aguardiente from Ica, and in time these drinks would come to bear the name "Pisco."

    July 29, 2011 at 10:32 am |
  4. Pisco 100% Peruvian

    a little bit of history here for our Chilean Amigos...(COPY CATS! they try to steal EVERYTHING fck! )

    In 1613, a will of a resident of the of Ica —a town called Pisco in Viceroyalty of Peru, close to the Nazca lines – named by Pedro Manuel the Greek. In it he itemizes his worldly goods, including 30 containers of grape brandy, one barrel of the same spirit, a large copper pot and all of the utensils needed to produce pisco.[4] This is the first documentation of a historic alcoholic drink in post-Columbian Peru.

    In 1641, wine imports from the Viceroyalty of Peru into Spain were banned in order to eliminate competition for any locally produced grape products, severely damaging the wine production in the colony that could be exported outside of the Americas. Local production of both wine and pisco continued for local consumption and export to other colonies.

    The drink began to acquire consumers in the sailors that transported products between the colonies and Spain as well as sailors of other nationalities, who began to call it pisco, naming it after the port[3] where it was thought to originate from. The drink then became a favorite of sailors and workers who visited the port of Pisco as well as other Peruvian ports. It was exalted for its strong taste and ability to quickly affect the consumer. As trade from Peru to the world grew, so did the popularity of pisco, until it almost equaled wine in quantity as an export.

    During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, pisco was a mainstay on ocean-crossing vessels, drunk mostly by sailors, as officers usually drank whisky or other "finer" spirits. The main reasons for its heyday were the low price and high availability. This position was maintained by pisco until the onset of rum, which won over consumers with lower prices and a softer flavor.

    Pisco was also very popular in San Francisco and nearby areas of California during the Gold Rush in the late nineteenth century and into the early twentieth century.[5]

    According to legal documents recently found in the U.S. National Archives of San Francisco, California, it has been proven that at least until 1864, Pisco was considered a liquor native only to the Republic of Peru.[6]

    The proven existence of Chilean Pisco can be traced back to the first organised operations in 1871, and its original Appellation of Origin was officially reserved and approved by law in 1931.[7], likely spread to Chile after its after its occupation of southern Peru in the late 1800's.


    July 29, 2011 at 10:31 am |
  5. anticuchos!!

    I was born in Peru but raised in Ohio. Now living in Phoenix and am appalled that I found better Peruvian food in Ohio than here! So I'll be trying my hand at making some traditional dishes like anticuchos and aji de gallina, maybe even some papa a la huancaina!! Wish me luck :)

    July 29, 2011 at 4:28 am |
  6. Rodrigo

    Pisco is from the South of Peru and the North of Chile. There is a city called pisco in Peru and, guessed right, there is one called Pisco in Chile as well (located in original chilean territory). Both countries have legal, patent rights of the drink. Bottomline is that we share a lot, borders are really deceiving, we should stop overjelous, nationalistic speeches and just enjoy a Pisco Sour. We'll come closer, we'll grow together. Cheers for Peru's Independence Day.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • Lucy

      Absolutely not! Pisco is 100% Peruvian! Not sure where you are from but you definitely do not know anything about Peruvian history. Chile will never be able to claim it as its own.

      July 28, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • CR

      In Peru we are making since 1613, en chile start around 1940, how is that!

      August 1, 2011 at 4:37 am |
    • Carlos

      Actually the "Pisco" town in Chile was called La Union, but in order to try to claim pisco as Chilean, the town was RENAMED Pisco in 1936.

      The original name of the town was Las Gredas. It was later changed to La Unión. In 1936, the Law Decree 5,798 changed its name to Pisco Elqui to reinforce Chile's claim to have rights over the alcoholic drink, pisco.

      Im sorry but Chile has no leg to stand on this one. Imitation is the best form of flattery. Thank you for adopting Pisco as your national drink too. But also, please concede you try to make it, but you did not invent it.

      June 1, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
  7. RedinAustin

    Just found a great Peruvian restaurant in Austin! Very authentic. Reminds me of the time I spent down there. Maybe I'll stop in for a Pisco Sour and some Aji de Gallina. Mmmmm...

    July 28, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  8. Kathy

    Chimpum...CALLAO....que viva....PERU!!!!!

    July 28, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  9. Marvin

    Peru became independent in 1821 not 1824. That being said... Feliz Dia Peruanos!!

    July 28, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      Declared in 1821, but fully independent in 1824. So...both.

      July 28, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
      • Marvin

        Not both. 1824 may be when the war ended but it is still not the independence of any sort. If so then the U.S. independence would be on 1781 when the Revolutionary War ended not 1776. And we all as Americans obviously know that is not the case so in the same token we should also be respectful enough not to make such confusion for other countries.

        July 28, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  10. steeve-o

    Hmm... raw fish, egg whites.... what's a little food borne pathogens between friends?

    July 28, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Pig Pen@steeve-o

      Nobody likes a germ-o-phobe. Get your hand out of your pants and live a little.

      July 28, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Jimdub

      Well Steeve, the fish is not truly "raw" because the citric acid cooks the proteins, and any food borne pathogens are sure to be dealt with severely by the alcohol in the pisco.

      July 28, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  11. Jampy

    As a proud Peruvian... I have to VERY much recommend our food if you haven't had a chance to try it. Many don't realize the cultural fusion that comes from Peru. Our food has combinations of Italian, Japanese/Chinese, African/Peruvian creole... due to the high immigration of Europeans, Asians....the Spaniard influence, etc. Every little chance I get I'll go visit my local Peruvian restaurant. Other delicious dishes, Lomo Saltado (sauteed steak w/rice and fries), Aji de Gallina (chicken on spicy cream sauce), helado de lucuma (lucuma, exotic fruit..ice cream), the list goes on and on... ARRIVA PERU!!! and congrats on your independence!!! :)

    July 28, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Lynn

      Don't forget the Highlands cuisine. I doubt if any Peruvian restaurant in the US serves cuy (guinea pig), but I had it in Arequippa and thought it was very tasty.

      Also very good - stuffed rocoto peppers.

      July 28, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  12. steeve-o

    MMmmmmm...... egg whites.

    July 28, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  13. Katya

    I still have a bottle of pisco I bought years ago. I swear you could run a lawn mower with it.

    July 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • AleeD@Kayla

      My lawn could use some mowing. ~_~
      Sounds like my kinda juice!

      July 28, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Sir Biddle@Katya

      Cool name, where you from?

      July 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • RedinAustin

      Sounds like you didn't buy a very good bottle.

      July 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  14. Ness1

    Feliz 28 de julio!!

    July 28, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  15. AleeD

    *Moans in delight*
    I could live on ceviche. Never heard of a pisco sour. I'd drink one right now if someone handed one to me.

    July 28, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  16. Eric

    Pisco comes from Chile not Peru!!!!

    July 28, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Ness1

      Pisco is 100% Peruvian, get your facts straight.

      July 28, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
      • florencia

        excuse me!?!!?!?!? PISCO IS PERUVIAN, U chileno copy cat!

        FYI in our country there is a city called "PISCO" and pisco was originally made by our "ancesters" which they called it in QUECHUA "pisqu" ....en español "PISCO"

        did i make that CLEAR? now...lets open up a bottle of yummy pisco and celebrate!

        HAPPY 28 DE JULIO Peru!!!

        July 28, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
      • MamaMia

        This is America,Please speak English.

        July 28, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
      • Jampy

        Pisco is the NATIONAL Peruvian drink...Chile continues to give themselves credit for our cuisine!!!! There is a reason why there is a city called "Pisco"....I have much respect for many Chilean friends, but you better get your facts straight!

        July 28, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
      • Big Bubba

        maam this is a digital web space transmission or something like dat...it ain't anywhere...maybe space...she can speak in any tongue she chooses..and besides dis here article is bout nummy peruvian food and dey don't speak american down dere....

        July 28, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
      • Don Guapo

        Mamamia, in South AMERICA and Central AMERICA they speak mainly Spanish so the next time you think about trying to be smart go suck on a cuy first. the nerve of you Yanks always thinking America is synonymous with the States....

        July 28, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
      • El Guapo

        I will fill you with so much lead,you can use your dick for a pencil. Viva USA.

        July 28, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • Lynn

      Pisco takes its name from the southern Peruvian town of Pisco near the city of Ica. Chilean Pisco is a poor imitation.

      July 28, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
      • florencia

        thank you Lynn!!!

        July 28, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
      • Jampy

        Thank you, Lynn :)

        July 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • robert

      if you are going to make a bold statement like that you will need to elaborate. There is even a city in Peru called Pisco.

      July 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Charlie

      Eric, please inform yourself. Pisco is originally from Peru

      July 28, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Erik

      More Chilean lies, Pisco is most definitely Peruvian, just like the Condor Pasa. Chile has stolen enough from it's neighbors Peru and Bolivia.

      July 28, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
      • Pisco 100% Peruvian

        does anybody know what "CHIRIMOYA" is? (is a fruit, a very very sweet and delicious fruit)

        well, happens to grow in Peru (not only there but, originally in Peru)....well, guess what?!!
        Did you hear that CHILE wants to RENAME the CHIRIMOYA FRUIT and now call it....wait ready?....READY?
        u need to sit down for this one....

        they want to call it "CHILEmoya"

        WTF! Chile....seriously,....STFU!

        July 29, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Meg

      You are wrong. Pisco is from Peru! There is even a city in Peru called Pisco.

      July 28, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Ceez

      El Pisco y el Ceviche son 100% Peruanos!, hay algunos chilenos que pecan de ignorantes...

      July 30, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  17. Mildred

    I had ceviche for the first time in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. Well, a tiradito anyway (which is a brother/sister to ceviche). Most excellent.

    July 28, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • florencia

      i know there is a lot of amazing foods out there but Peruvian food happen to be one of THE BEST in the hispanic culture....
      aaaaahh i want some ceviche mixto, jalea, chupe de camarones!

      July 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  18. d

    I miss pisco sours so much from my time in Peru! Can't find a good one here anywhere...

    July 28, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • mistery

      you should go to manhatan in NY restaurant pio pio wich has like 6 branchs all over the city

      July 29, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • CR

      d, visit http://www.encantopisco.com we sell pisco some places, we can recomended some....

      August 1, 2011 at 4:26 am |
  19. wendy

    ceviche is my new favorite 'sushi' dish! LOVE LOVE it! a mexican restaurant by me fixes it with crab and shrimp and lots of other yummy goodness, and my local sushi bar serves it all by itself with a sprig of cilantro. YUMYUM. bring on the ceviche!! may have to change the lunch plans!

    July 28, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  20. Multi-Tasking @ Work

    Super love me some ceviche...with a great Margarita

    July 28, 2011 at 11:51 am |
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