I am the office mixologist.
Not a title I was trying to land, but I’ve been experimenting with new and unfamiliar cocktails, and people have encouraged me to share.
It’s been a lot of fun being a workplace bartender. A few months ago, I used Meyer lemons and bing cherries to make whiskey sours in a conference room. After that, I blended a pitcher of melon-basil agua fresca with two bottles of Prosecco, creating a new drink I’ve decided to call the Yerba Fresca.
A friend recently introduced me to Walter Moore, a Sommelier who’s also a principal at Fool’s Gold Terroir, a San Francisco firm that produces Campo de Encanto brandy de Perú.
Encanto Pisco is manufactured by artisan distillers who’ve created something I have a hard time describing; it’s smooth, clean on the palate and to me, earthy and grape-y in a way that European brandies are not. I’ve always felt pretentious when offering tasting notes, so just head to a well-stocked bar and order a Pisco drink. If the place is sufficiently swank, you’ll encounter the Pisco Sour, which uses egg whites (sorry, vegans!) and fresh lemon juice.
I recommend Encanto for one reason: Perúvians take Pisco as seriously as the French view wine. In its first year, Campo de Encanto was awarded the Gran Medalla de Oro by the Comisión Nacional del Pisco. One could argue that it’s the best Pisco in the world.
Pisco Punch was created in San Francisco and was praised by famous boozers like Mark Twain and Rudyard Kipling, so you know it’s quality. If it’s tradition you’re looking for, Google the original recipe — like many San Franciscans, I insist on doing things my own way, so this has been tweaked a bit.
If you’re making a batch for a few friends, reduce the proportions by about 75%. Optimally, you’d find a gathering of 25 people who are up for something new and would bring a gallon or two of this with you:
- 2 pounds fresh cut pineapple chunks
- 1 pint blackberries
- 1 pint raspberries
- 18 oz. bottle of Small Hand Pineapple Gum Syrup
- 10 limes
- granulated sugar, to taste
- 5 pounds of ice (get 10 to be safe)
- 2 bottles Campo de Encanto Pisco
- Angostura bitters
- citrus squeezer
- sharp knife
- cutting board
- zester (or a super-fine grater)
- ice tongs
- two 1-gallon containers
Zest the limes. Better yet, get someone else to zest them for you. Use a citrus squeezer to juice the fruit; combine the juice and zest, then set aside.
In separate bowls, muddle the berries and pineapple. Add half of the juice/zest and half of the bottle of gym syrup to each container, then add the berries to one container, and the pineapple to the other.
Dissolve about two cups of sugar in four cups of very hot water; once warm, divide the syrup between the containers. Stir each container thoroughly, then taste your mix — it should taste like punch that’s a shade too sweet; if not, add more sugar.
Add several dashes of bitters, stir and taste with a spoon.
Pour one bottle of Encanto simultaneously into each container. Because it’s fun.
Agitate to mix, then queue up “El Condor Pasa” on iTunes.
Fill a lowball glass with ice, then turn to your new best friend and ask them if they prefer pineapple or berry.