Last Wednesday night, I was delighted to teach a sold-out Pisco Cocktails Class at The Red Poppy Art House in The Mission, where 16 Pisco fans spent a couple of hours learning about the history of Pisco and making 5 different cocktails. But what made the evening really special, was the venue, which was one of the first places I performed as a musician almost a decade ago.
From it’s beginnings as an art gallery, to a venue for some of the most eclectic World Music in San Francisco, The Red Poppy has always been a magical place. And one of my most cherished musical memories, was performing there with Roberto Aguilar as Guitar Box Story, a Flamenco guitar and cajon percussion duo. This is a clip from our Bulerias:
Throughout the evening, I shared stories about the history of Pisco, how it was first made from grapes brought from Spain, and how the oldest distilled spirit in the Americas came to San Francisco during the Gold Rush Days. With a group of students, I also talked about another cultural exchange — how Peru introduced Spain to the cajon, the Afro-Peruvian percussion box that is now used in Flamenco.
As we worked our way through the cocktail menu I prepared for the evening, the students asked questions, and learned about the different ingredients and techniques used in making Pisco cocktails:
At the end of the evening, I even gave everyone a homework assignment — to make a special Pisco infused with coffee, and I overheard a couple already planning to serve it over ice cream. Now that makes a teacher proud, knowing that students are going to do their homework, and explore creative ways to enjoy their Pisco cocktails. Note to self: organize a class field trip in search of the Pisco Punch in SF bars…
Thank you to all the students that came out to the first Pisco Cocktail Class at The Red Poppy, it was a real pleasure to meet you all and a true joy to share Peruvian culture with you. A special thanks to The Red Poppy for hosting, and for all their help organizing and promoting the event. Let’s do it again!