Master the art of pisco at Peruvian restaurant Pastuso

Pisco sour at Pastuso. Photo: Kristoffer Pulsen

Pisco sour at Pastuso. Photo: Kristoffer Pulsen

The promise

Peruvian pisco master Miguel Bellido shares the history of the 400-year-old spirit. Guests can try different styles of pisco, enjoy tasty snacks and learn how to shake up their own pisco sour.

The reality

Tucked down the end of ACDC Lane is Pastuso, one of Melbourne’s hottest restaurants. I’ve been keen to visit for ages, so I’m excited to enter.

Once inside the warmly lit venue, Miguel instructs our group from behind the bar. He explains pisco’s history and the differences between its eight varieties – from floral to dry and everything in between. He tells us about its 1920s heyday in the US, and its decline as spirits such as vodka and gin flooded the market.

He says its recent resurgence is tied to Peruvians taking pride in their culture by sharing the spirit with the world after the country’s turbulent 1980s, and modern bartenders increasing usage of it in cocktails. “It’s found its place again,” Miguel says.

During the hourlong session, we try three types of pisco available at Pastuso, complemented by delicious Peruvian canapes. My highlight is the crunchy alpaca croquette. I’d never eaten alpaca meat before, but it was an enjoyable taste surprise.

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The pain factor

When sipping pisco neat there is a slight burn. But once the balanced flavours kick in, you’ll forget all about that and just enjoy the memorably bold taste.

The pay-off

I love pisco sours, but learning more about the spirit’s history and having it paired with delicious Peruvian dishes makes me appreciate it even more.

Who should do it?

Anyone looking to discover an underdog of the cocktail world, and people who are interested in learning about a different culture’s drink of choice.

Would I do it again?

Definitely. I’ll bring a big group of friends next time and stick around for a Peruvian feast afterwards.

Pisco master Miguel Bellido. Photo: Marzena

Pisco master Miguel Bellido. Photo: Marzena

NEED TO KNOW

Pastuso

 

You’ll need:

Some friends to share the fun, as a group of six to 10 people is required to book a class.

The cost:

$45 per person

We recommend:

Keeping an open mind to a spirit that isn’t vodka, gin or rum. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised.

 

 

 

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