Pisco is a colourless grape brandy produced in the winemaking regions of Chile and Peru. Developed by 16th-century Spanish settlers, Pisco is made by distilling fermented grape juice into a high-proof spirit. In Chile, Pisco must be made in the country's two official D.O. (Denomination of Origin) regions - Atacama and Coquimbo - where it is twice distilled in copper pot stills. Chilean Pisco is designated by 'Alcohol By Volume' (ABV) into the following classifications:
- Pisco Corriente o Tradicional, 30% to 35% (60 to 70 proof).
- Pisco Especial, 35% to 40% (70 to 80 proof).
- Pisco Reservado, 40% (80 proof).
- Gran Pisco, 43% or more (86 or more proof).
Regulations for Pisco production in Chile is high with Chilean distilleries required to grow their own grapes for Pisco production. These are grouped into two categories based in aromatic expressiveness: Muscat types (Pink Muscat, Muscat of Alexandria) are very fragrant, while Pedro Jiménez, Moscatel de Asturia and Torontel are more subtle. The Special and Reserve variations are very similar in both flavour and colour, both being subtly sweet and transparent in colour. The flavour is much stronger than regular Pisco with aromatic refreshing tones.
Pisco can be enjoyed neat, generally as a digestif, but it is also used in cocktails and mixed drinks, such as the classic Pisco Sour, which is prepared with egg white, lime juice, simple syrup, and bitters.