This one may be my favorite pisco cocktail. Dave Wondrich wrote it up on the Esquire website drinks data base (now moved here). The Dulchin doesn’t have its own entry there; look for it under the Hop Toad, a lime and apricot brandy drink that is also pretty good.
The thing I really like about the Dulchin is its use of eau de vie, or dry fruit brandy. Eau de vie is fantastic stuff in cocktails. There aren’t nearly enough Eau de vie cocktails out there and the good ones deserve some attention. The Dulchin gets even better by combining eau de vie with pisco. This combination works so well, with the pisco being a sort of a eau de vie itself – lacking the woody notes of aged grape brandy. To top things off, the Dulchin uses a particularly neglected and under-appreciated eau de vie, a Hungarian dry apricot brandy called Barack Palinka. It is hard not to like this drink.
Barack Palinka can be hard to find. Obviously another apricot eau de vie would make a fine substitute. If you can’t find an apricot eau de vie then perhaps experiment with some other fruit eau de vie. Plum makes a reasonable substitute, different from yet still similar to the original apricot, and Yugoslavian plum brandy (slivovitch) is fairly easy to find. I can imagine raspberry also being good although I never tried it. I am not so sure about cherry or pear. It couldn’t hurt to give them a whirl though. Whatever you do don’t substitute a sweet apricot brandy (i.e. the reasonably ubiquitous apricot liqueur) for dry apricot brandy (i.e. apricot eau de vie). There is nothing wrong with sweet apricot brandy, but it’s not what this drink is about.
2 oz pisco
1 oz dry apricot brandy (I used Barack Palinka)
1 oz lime juice
1 tsp grenadine
2 tsp Grand Marnier
Shake over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Bracing, tons of complex fruity flavors, very dry, and not too sour. This drink is very different to most others so you really need to try it for yourself.
This drink is a good example of how pisco can do unique things. Here the pisco cuts the intensity of the apricot to a more agreeable level, while simultaneously contributing its own fruity and aromatic qualities. The pisco forms the backbone of the drink, creating the perfect stage for the apricot to shine on. If you substituted vodka for the pisco you would simply have diluted dry apricot brandy. If you substituted gin you might get an interesting result but the flavors would be likely to compete rather than cooperate. If you substituted a dark spirit like traditional wood-aged brandy you would mute the fresh flavors in the fruit brandy. In this drink Pisco is ideal.
Oh, and this drink was apparently named after some U.S. industrialist who was allergic to other more common spirits and so had to find inventive ways to drink pisco.