Pisco Punch

Pisco Punch

Pisco Punch

In honor of the upcoming Peruvian Independence Day on July 28, I’ve been researching the history of Pisco in San Francisco. And by researching I mean that I’ve been visiting different bars in SF and trying their Pisco Punch, just like I did for my Pisco Sour research with 7 Days of Pisco in San Francisco. I’ll be posting my findings soon, but first, I present to you, an updated recipe for the Pisco Punch, one that you can make at home, one that is true to the ratio of ingredients in the original recipe, and one that is perfect for serving on a hot summer day.

The Pisco Punch is one of the most important cocktails in the history of San Francisco. It was served over 100 years ago by Duncan Nicol at the Bank Exchange bar on Montgomery Street where the Transamerica Pyramid now stands. And from the late 1800’s, through the Great Earthquake of 1906, until the beginning of Prohibition, the Pisco Punch helped define the culinary identity of San Francisco.

In fact, whenever a tourist visited San Francisco, they had to do three things:

  1. ride a cable car on the famous hilly streets of San Francisco
  2. watch the sun set over the Golden Gate
  3. and drink a Pisco Punch

That’s how legendary the Pisco Punch had become.

But Duncan Nicol took the secret recipe to the grave and the cocktail disappeared shortly thereafter due to Prohibition. Today, thanks to research by Toro-Lira, author of Wings of Cherubs, and passionate mixologists at over San Francisco, the Pisco Punch is back in the bars of the city where it was born. This simplified version combines pineapple simple syrup, lime juice, orange juice, and Pisco, in just the right amounts to give you a taste of history. Presenting, the born in San Francisco, Pisco Punch.

  • 2 oz. Pisco
  • 1 oz. pineapple syrup
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. fresh orange juice
  • ice
  • diced pineapple, lemon peel, orange round, and lime round for garnish
  • nutmeg zest for garnish

Mix the Pisco, pineapple simple syrup, lime juice, and orange juice in a shaker. Add ice and shake for 30 seconds to chill. Serve strained in a glass with cracked ice and garnish with fruit and nutmeg zest.


1 serving


To make the pineapple simple syrup, combine 1 cup pineapple juice and 1 cup sugar in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a slow boil, stir, and simmer until the sugar dissolves completely. Transfer the pineapple simple syrup to a mason jar and let cool before using. If desired, you can sip this cocktail with a small straw.