One of the most uniquely Peruvian ingredients is maiz morado or purple corn from the Andes. Besides using maiz morado to make the traditional Chicha Morada drink, or Mazamorra Morada dessert, I’ve used it to make a savory Purple Corn Peruvian Paella and a sweet Chicha Morada Sorbet. But inspired by the recent Pisco Coffee Tonic, I infused some Pisco with the purple corn to make another tonic cocktail. Presenting, a cocktail that is full of antioxidants from the purple corn and brimming with anti-malaria properties from the quinine in the tonic, the Pisco Chicha Tonic is 100% Peruvian medicine in a glass.
The Peruvian writer Ricardo Palma wrote in his opus Tradiciones Peruanas many stories about Peruvian traditions, one of them took place during the time of the Viceroyalty of Peru and is the true story of how Quechua and Jesuit healers saved the life of the Countess of Chinchon who was dying of malaria. The cure came from a drink infused with quinine from the the bark of a tree native to Peru. Made into a powder, the bark became known in Lima as the powder of the Countess. For some time, the Jesuit priests kept this medicine a secret, but eventually, the bark of this fever tree became know as cinchona bark in honor of the Countess of Chinchon. Over 100 years later, tonic water became the perfect vehicle for the quinine and the British began mixing the tonic with Gin to combat malaria in Colonial India.
So if you are in need of some medicine whose history spans over 200 years, start with the Pisco, a pure grape distillate and the oldest spirit in the Americas. Infuse the Pisco with one of Peru’s superfoods, purple corn from the Andes. Mix in the citrus and sugar with yerba buena, mint that is popular as an anti-inflammatory in herbal teas. Then top it off with a quinine elixir, whose medicinal properties saved the life of a Countess. After you make some, look at the vibrant colors from the corn, mint, and garnish. Hold up the chilled glass. Inhale the aroma of the mint. And take a sip. Now you know why the Pisco Chicha Tonic is 100% Peruvian medicine in a glass.
- 2 oz. Encanto Pisco Acholado infused with purple corn
- 1 oz. lime juice
- 1 oz. mint simple syrup
- 3 oz. Fever Tree Tonic Water
- 1 orange round
- fresh mint for garnish
Combine the Pisco, syrup, and lime juice in a shaker with ice and shake to chill. Served strained in a tumbler with ice, top off with the tonic water, and garnish with an orange round and fresh mint.
To make the Pisco infused with purple corn, place 1 cup of corn kernels in a jar with 2 cups of Pisco and a pinch of sugar. Seal the jar, shake, and store for 36 hours. Strain before using the infused Pisco. To make the simple syrup, combine 1 cup of water with 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of loosely packed fresh mint in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Steep for 10 minutes, strain into a jar and let cool before using.