Cocktails: Pisco Punch

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Rompe Mar Pisco Punch Cocktail on a rock with garnish


The Pisco Punch is a cocktail with a story that is as intriguing as it is mysterious. Invented in the heart of the Gold Rush era during the mid-19th century, this delightful mixture owes its origins to Duncan Nicol, a Scottish bar owner who plied his trade at the Bank Exchange saloon in San Francisco. The Bank Exchange was an institution in its own right, having survived more than five decades of tumultuous history, including a devastating earthquake and a destructive fire. Despite these setbacks, it maintained a formidable reputation, attracting a host of notable figures of the time, all of whom flocked to the saloon to savour the magic potion crafted by Nicole.

The Pisco Punch quickly achieved legendary renomée, prompting the celebrated author Rudyard Kipling to go as far as to compose a poem about its virtues, describing it as a mixture “compounded of the shavings of cherub’s wings, the glory of a tropical dawn, the red clouds of sunset, and the fragments of lost epics by dead masters.” Such lofty praise only fueled the public’s curiosity, and soon, Pisco Punch became a must-try drink for anyone visiting San Francisco.


However, the cocktail recipe remained a closely guarded secret, known only to its creator. In fact, Mr. Nicol was so possessive of his creation that he carried the recipe with him to his grave, leaving behind a trail of speculation and a host of would-be imitators. Today, there are many versions of Pisco Punch, each with its own unique blend of ingredients and proportions. Nevertheless, the question of which recipe comes closest to the original remains unanswered, adding to the allure and mystique of this legendary cocktail.


So why not try your hand at making your own version of the Pisco Punch at home? Whilst we cannot promise it will be exactly like the one served at the Bank Exchange, experimenting with different variations can be a fun and creative way to pay homage to this classic cocktail. And if you happen to find the perfect recipe, be sure to savour every sip and toast to the enduring legacy of the Pisco Punch.


60 ml of Rompe Mar Pisco

60 ml of pineapple juice

15 ml of lemon juice

15 ml of orange juice

15 ml of simple syrup


Mint leaves

An orange peel

3 to 4 cloves




First, crush the cloves and put them into a shaker. Add the pisco, pineapple juice, lemon juice, simple syrup and 3 to 4 ice cubes. Shake firmly for 10 seconds and after, pour the mix through a strainer into a highball glass filled with ice. Add champagne to fill and last, squeeze the orange peel onto the glass rim and adorn with the mint leaves.