Pisco is a strong, Peruvian liquor that’s sensational for sipping and equally awesome in a mixed cocktail. You may have never heard of this spectacular spirit, but thankfully the kind and knowledgable folks at ClearGrape (200 California Ave BLDG 180S) on Treasure Island are more than happy to fill you in on what you’re missing.
Based, literally, in the middle of the Bay, ClearGrape has carved out quite the niche for itself as the distributor of America’s first full line of Pisco Puro. The company started when co-founders, Timothy Childs and Shelley Alger visited the home of Oro Pisco outside of Lima, Peru. After a tell-tale tasting they knew it needed to come back home with them. And pisco actually already had a fascinating history in the Bay Area: it used to be popular in the days before the Panama Canal, when boats would bring it back up here after long journeys around South America. Pisco Punch was invented in San Francisco, where the liquor enjoyed a status as one of the most popular adulterants during the gold rush. It fell out of fancy years ago but it doesn’t take more than a sip of this supple libation to understand why it’s coming back with a vengeance. ClearGrape offers 11 varieties from 8 different types of grapes, all around 80 proof and all without any added sugars. So not only can you enjoy it’s versatility throughout an abundance of varied cocktails, you can also do so without feeling like absolute crap the next day.
Aside from establishing markets for the Pisco renaissance–in major cities likes SF, LA and New York–ClearGrape is also highly committed to educating the drinking community about the versatility of this long-lost liquor. Meryll Cawn, their professional mixologist, can whip you up drinks beyond your wildest imaginations. She understands the complexities of pisco and is able to craft cocktails to bring its rich character to life rather than subduing it in a loud mess of sweetness. You can rent out their Bridge Room–a bar with a sensational view of the surrounding Bay Area–and they are also available to cater weddings or other large functions.
Pisco is all about a gentle and inviting nature which is why the warm and friendly people of ClearGrape are the perfect ambassadors to bring this Peruvian potion back into the American mainstream. Go enjoy some today from your favorite San Francisco watering hole. For the ladies I suggest a Pisco Mule–it is sublime and refreshing. The gentlemen should go with the Pisco Last Ward–powerfully complex.