Latin Twist: Chilean Strawberry Pisco Punch


Several years ago I was a guest on a talk show featuring my cocktails; the topic was pisco. Pisco—a kind of grape brandy—was something I discovered when I lived in Peru (ah…you may have seen my post about Pisco Sours: the national drink of Peru).  Turned out, I because the center—or central focus—of a controversy because of this South-American born liquor.  This is because, and many of you may know this, both Peru and Chile claim pisco as their own. So, when I was a guest on the talk show, we had people calling in from all over the country—and arguing—claiming to be from the country of pisco. In the end, I said, “Can’t we all just say that the beauty of all this is that we’ve discovered Pisco, and that we all enjoy it!” (Whew! That taught me an interesting lesson about live call-in television!)

Well, not sure I sold them, but hopefully I’ll sell you! This drink—inspired by a visit to Chile in which I was treated to a similar concoction, combines fresh strawberries, wine, and of course, pisco!  This, like sangría, is great with any small plate—like empanaditas and more! Hope you enjoy it!

Chilean Strawberry Pisco Punch

Adapted from Mambo Mixers, ©2005,   Arlen Gargagliano (Photo by Dasha Wright)

Serves 4 to 6

1 cup strawberries, stemmed and sliced

1/2 cup superfine sugar, or to taste

3/4 cup pisco

1 bottle dry white or red wine (preferably Chilean), chilled

2 cups ice cubes.

Combine the strawberries with the sugar and pisco. Cover and refrigerate for an hour. Pour the wine into a pitcher filled with ice. Pour the pisco mixture on tip. Stir and serve immediately.



About Author

Maybe it was the dinner parties my mom always threw—or the hours I spent prepping and cooking alongside her (and then on my own!). Or maybe it was array of fabulous dishes that my family sampled in New York City’s richly diverse restaurants, but I’ve loved creating, savoring, and sharing food for as long as I can remember. Living in Spain, and later in Peru, also greatly influenced my life. These years abroad taught me Spanish—and about living in different countries--but also introduced me to teaching English as a second language, which I’ve done—mostly in the US-- for the past 20-plus (yikes!) years. I’ve authored two cocktail/tapas books, Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers, coauthored more than 15 others (mostly food related!), and raised two children. Now I'm chef and owner of my own restaurant, Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, New York. My message is the same, whether I'm teaching, writing, running the restaurant or being a regular guest on the Spanish-language network Telemundo (on the morning show, Buenos Días Nueva York!). My belief in food—and the power of food—is far reaching, and is married with another one: the power of stories. I’m sure that if we could all sit down and have meals together, sharing both tastes and tales, we’d have peace on earth. Enjoy!

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