This week, I present my twist on a lychee martini. It is simple to make at home and is just the fix on a hot California summer day. The essences of Asia, Latin America and Europe come together in this concoction.
1 1/2oz La Caravedo Pisco Poton
1oz St. Germain
1 1/2oz Lychee Juice
Lychee and raspberry (or white grapes).
Combine Pisco, St. Germain and Lychee Juice in a Boston shaker. Add ice and shake very well. Strain the concoction into a chilled martini glass and top with sparkling water. Garnish with a lychee and white grape (or raspberry) for color.
History & Creation
The hero ingredient of this drink is La Caravedo Pisco by Porton, handcrafted at Hacienda la Caravedo, which is the oldest distillery in the Americas, established in 1684 in Ica, Peru.
Ironically, the distilling of pisco began as an act of rebellion in 1641 when Philip IV,
the King of Spain imposed heavy taxes on all wine produced in Peru. His new world subjects dodged the tax law by distilling the year’s grape harvest, in hand-forged copper vats. The result was a clear, floral spirit that was christened “pisco” which means “bird” in the indigenous Quecchua language. The Peruvans refer to it as their native spirit even today.
In his novel, “From Sea to Sea” in 1899, Ruyard Kipling described pisco: “I have a theory it is compounded of cherubs’ wings, the glory of a tropical dawn, the red clouds of sunset, and fragments of lost epics by dead masters.”
Pisco is unique in that it possesses a denomination of origin. This means that all pisco must be made according to strict guidelines in specific regions, which are typically in vinyards along the south western coasts of Peru. Pisco is made in small batches, crafted in traditional copper pot stills and left unaged or unaltered even with water.
La Caravedo is made from the Quebranta grape, a non-aromatic varietal (one of only eithgt grape varietals allowed by Peruvian law to make pisco) from the coast known for its body and fullness of flavor. About eight pounds of grapes are used to make each bottle. ( http://www.piscoporton.com )
Grapes are also symbolic of fertility, abundance and blessing. In the ancient biblical texts, Jesus referred to himself metaphorically as the grape vine that produces fruit in the branches.
Lychee originates in Southern China but is grown in many Southeast Asian countries. It contains potent anti-oxidant powers, and is the ancient Chinese symbol of beauty and well-being. Beneath the red soft peel is a luscious white flesh that is sweet and delicate.
The added ingredient is the essences of elderflower, a symbol of compassion. In Germanic cultures, the elder tree was said to be the home of fairies. The elder-mother, a goddess of life and death was supposed to live in the elder tree.
Taste the Pisco Blossom
My new concoction is currently a summer favorite at the Spice Affair Lounge in Beverly Hills, California. Join me one evening and indulge in this cocktail especially crafted to embody beauty and abundance in a changing world where cultures merge to produce a rich, exotic experience.