Knocking back a glass of Pisco Punch is a boozy part of San Francisco’s history. This potent cocktail traces back to the 1890s, when a bartender named Duncan Nicol invented it in SF. This recipe, adapted from San Francisco bartender and Small Hand Foods proprietor Jennifer Colliau, is an easy three-ingredient drink to mix: Simply shake pisco, lemon juice, and pineapple gum syrup together and serve with a pineapple wedge if you’re feeling fancy. The pineapple gum syrup, made by steeping fruit in a sugar-water syrup thickened with gum arabic, softens the boozy pisco kick for a smoother drinking experience, plus gives the cocktail a little extra body.
What to buy: You can purchase pineapple gum syrup at well-stocked liquor stores or online. Colliau’s Small Hand Foods brand is excellent.
Pisco is a brandy distilled from South American white Muscat grapes. It can be found at well-stocked liquor stores or online.
This recipe was featured as part of our Drinks from San Francisco’s Sleazy Past.
- 1Combine the pisco, pineapple gum syrup, and lemon juice in a 2-quart container. Refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours.
- 2Before serving, stir to recombine the mixture. Serve over ice and garnish with a pineapple wedge.