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5 Dishes to Eat in Peru

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Peru is fast-gaining a spot in international culinary conversations. It is home to dishes and flavours that are unique to the region, and not found anywhere else. Few places offer such diversity of ingredients,... Read more

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Pisco punch

Pisco punch from San Francisco

What: Craving a Gold Rush cocktail to go with your Barbary Coast eating tour? Look no further than pisco punch, a fruit-laced, dangerously drinkable concoction that’s appeared on San Francisco bar menus since the late 19th century. Pisco, a grape-based brandy from Peru, made its way here in the 1830s as part of the cargo on a trading ship hailing from the town of Pisco. For thirsty miners, the arrival of this boozy distilled liquor was a godsend, and soon it was available in bars across town, including one called the Bank Exchange & Billiard Saloon, which opened in 1853 and served a number of fashionable-at-the-time booze-laced punches. Pisco made its way into a number of them. In 1893, Duncan Nicol, then owner of the Bank Exchange, created the recipe for pisco punch that’s most widely replicated today, involving a heady amount of pisco, crushed pineapple, lime juice, sugar, and water. While Nicol’s exact recipe has been lost, you can find iterations of his punch to this day.

Where: We love the seasonal takes on pisco punch found at Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem (2323 Mission St., betw. 19th & 20th Sts., map), a friendly, lively bar with a great back patio and a crave-worthy bar food menu. 

When: Mon-Fri,4pm-2am; Sat-Sun, 10am-2am

Order: Strawberry pisco punch ($10). Here, you’ll find Kappa pisco mixed with fresh strawberries instead of the usual pineapple—the sweet, refreshing flavor profile is similar, with a balanced herbaceous flavor profile. Bonus: It’s available by the glass or the pitcher ($60), so you can share with friends, or make some new ones.

Alternatively: Try the classic pineapple version of pisco punch at Pisco Latin Lounge (1817 Market St., at Pearl St., map), a good place to sample it alongside Peru’s most famous pisco cocktail, the pisco sour.


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