The Pisco Punch is the most important cocktail in San Francisco’s rich mixology history. I talk about its origins during the Gold Rush Days of The Barbary Coast in the “Born in San Francisco” post, and I have always included the Pisco Punch in my Pisco cocktail classes. But for those wanting the full-story, including how its once secret recipe was rediscovered, a must-read is Toro-Lira’s “Wings of Cherubs.”
In a style that reminds me of magical realism authors, Toro-Lira travels back in time to meet key characters from Old San Francisco who are all in part responsible for creating the Pisco Punch. But beyond all the entertaining narrative, what makes this book stand out is the meticulous and detailed historical research that Toro-Lira shares, spanning decades and continents, all fueled by a passion for Pisco.
Along the way, I learned more about the history of San Francisco than ever before. And now, whenever I am out on the town, I feel more connected to it’s past, in awe thats street and alleys in North Beach, the park by Mission Dolores, and the Transamerica pyramid where the legendary Bank Exchange Bar once stood, are all connected to the history of Pisco, and of course to Peru.