Travel Shots: Pisco Sours in La Serena

85 degrees, ocean breeze, white wine, sunsets, pisco factory, hole in the ozone layer…with these powers combined La Serena surpassed our expectations and weathered our ingenuous, gringo skin.


These might look like barrels of wine, and knowing my vineyard-frequenting history, it would be fair to assume that they are. But, surprise! I am interested in more than just wine. Peru and Chile still argue over who rightfully “owns” Pisco as its national drink, but regardless of borders, pisco is delicious en todos partes.


Although more like rum than wine, pisco is made from grapes and heavily produced in the Elqui valley (below), just miles from La Serena. If you are craving an adventure, but don’t want to go far from home, pick up a bottle of pisco at your local liquor store. Advice: Don’t buy anything below 35 proof and opt for a brand called Mistral, named after Gabriela. And ask yourself: Why don’t we name our liquors after famous poets, diplomats, or feminists?

Pisco Sour Recipe:

2 ounces Pisco
1 ounce Lime Juice
1/4 ounce Simple Syrup
1/2 Egg White
1 dash Angostura Bitters.

Shake hard with ice. Strain into a champagne flute. Use the bitters as a aromatic garnish to the top of the finished drink.

The rest of our weekend on the coast, we spent arguing with Cami’s host parents over the best hangover food: Is it greasy hashbrowns and a cheesy omelette or ceviche. Ceviche? This concept is crazier than my chilean mom’s diet advise. See previous post. Ceviche is basically raw fish cooked by lemon juice. Reduce or induce vomiting? Try it yourself:

Chilean Ceviche Recipe


2 pounds corvina, or salmon, or sea bass
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 onion
1/2 cup of chopped parsley
½ cup cilantro finely chopped
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup white wine
2 spoons of olive oil
¼ cup vinegar


Cut the fish in squares of about an inch per an inch, after you take all the bones out of the fish.
Put the fish in a glass bowl and in layers, the fish, the vegetables cut in little squares,
and pour over it after each layer, the mixture of juices and wine, and vinegar.

Don’t move the fish. Cover it all with the liquid preparation.
Let it sit in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours.
Serve it over lettuce leaves or in cups. And serve also a very cold white wine as a drink.

Whether or not we were up for fish breakfast at 10 am, the weekend was nothing but smooth sailing. We spent time with Cami’s host family, tanned our hides, and regained our sanity before our last two weeks of teaching in Chile.

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Published by

Kate Springer

Freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong. Contributor at CNN, Forbes Travel Guide, BBC Travel, Fodor's Travel Guide, superfuture, Tatler, and more.

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