Spirit Guide: Kappa Pisco with Allan Katz

September 18th, 2012 — 5:26pm

Kappa Pisco
It arrived in an incredibly sleek package with its respective representatives. I did my best to keep my eye-roll in check. Most times when people show up with their fancy new brand in its fancy new packaging it sucks. Truth. I take my responsibility to pour you the best things I can that we can both afford very seriously. After all, it does make me a spiritual guidance counselor of sorts.

Before getting into the individual spirit, let’s look at Pisco as a category. It is a clear brandy distilled from grapes. It is not a type of rum. It does however, wind up in the rum section of your local retailer constantly. I don’t think outside of the nerdiest bartender-curated boutique shops I’ve ever seen it in the brandy section. Since I’ve got a soft spot for misunderstood spirits (we’ll cover Grappa next time) you’ll notice we take a certain reverence with our Pisco Sours and it always winds up on our winter menu as it plays so well with holiday spices.

Back to Kappa:
Upon first taste I noticed that this spirit may be a looker, but it’s got depth, too. Fragrant. Ethereal. Light, but not without substance and a rounded full-bodied mouthfeel. Clocking in at 82.5% ABV distilled from Alexandria and Rose Muscat varietals Kappa’s easily the best Chilean Pisco I’m yet to try. It shouldn’t have been a surprise that a vine authority like Andy Seymour put his considerable experience into its production. There’s been a number of new piscos to hit the market in recent years and some are awesome (Campo de Encanto, Maccu Pisco) while some smell like they were distilled from Febreze (Pisco Porton).

When asked what I’d mix it with, I replied that I wouldn’t want to do very much with it (not what a purveyor wants to hear from a bar manager). I liked the stuff very much on its own. With many spirits nuance is lost in a cocktail. But once pressed, I thought of the individual characteristics that I’d like to highlight and wound up with Grape Expectations. That’s how most of our drinks emerge at Caña. Many bartenders (especially the mixologists) think of flavors they’d like to present in a drink then work on the spirits that’ll carry those flavors to your palate. That’s cool, but it’s not my style. It’s more fun when a tasting glass whispers a cocktail to us. The spirit world usually knows what its talking about.

Grape Expectations
- 1.5 Kappa Pisco
- .5 lime
- .5 Imbue vermouth
- .5 simple
- Barspoon of Tuaca
- 1 oz. by volume of champagne grapes
- thoroughly muddle grapes with all ingredients
- shake with cubes & pour unstrained to a double old fashioned glass
- serve with a boba straw so you can enjoy the tiny muddled grapes shooting up the straw as you drink your handiwork

Allan Katz, Caña Rum Bar, GM