Pisco is a grape brandy popular in Peru and Chile. Another product of the industrial Incans, pisco was originally created in the Ica-Moquegua region of southern Peru. Though made by the Incans and now the official drink of Peru, pisco was hardly a local favorite. Chicha, the potent purple potion made from aged corn and water, was the Incan drink of choice prior to the Spaniards’ arrival in South America in the 16th century. No Incan ceremony could begin without pouring this corn liquor on the ground in honor of the corn goddess, Mama Sara. Unlike chicha, pisco lacked ceremonial significance and was made for exportation to the brandy-loving Spanariads. In fact, its name comes from the port from which it was widely exported: Pisco, Peru.

In Quechua, pisqu means “little bird” (we wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Red Bull stole its slogan, “It gives you wings” from this). Be careful, some of these “little birds” can definitely give you wings!

“The highest and noblest product of the age. I have a theory that it is made of cherubs’ wings, the glory of a tropical dawn, the red clouds of a sunset, and fragments of long lost epic songs of dead heroes.”

Rudyard Kipling (From Sea to Sea)