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February 03, 2014

Struth! Taking the Pisco in Peru

ON Peru's National Pisco Sour Day, water in this Lima inner-city
fountain is replaced by 2000 litres of the "national cocktail" for revellers to enjoy free.
IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says that in Peru they treat getting on the national drink Pisco – a type of grape brandy – pretty seriously.

So much so in fact, that in 1999 no lesser body than the Peruvian National Institute of Culture passed a resolution declaring the fourth Sunday of every July, National Pisco Day.

Across the country vineyards and wineries promote their Piscos with tastings, gastronomic events, concerts and more, and restaurants and bars create special meals best suited to accompanying Pisco.

And apparently not considering that fourth Sunday in July reason enough to get on the Pisco, the National Institute of Culture in 2007 went a step further and declared the first Saturday of every February National Pisco Sour Day – to honour a heady "national cocktail" that's a blend of Pisco, lime juice, sugar syrup, whipped egg whites, bitters and ice.

As well as celebrating this cocktail in much the same way as Pisco itself in July, on that first Saturday in February in Peru's capital Lima, the water supply to a central-city water fountain is turned off for the day and 2000 litres of free Pisco Sour pumped through it courtesy of a major local supermarket chain – with locals queuing around the block for a complimentary slurp.

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