Pisco Latin Lounge
Post-1900, there were three things every visitor to SF had to do: “… ride the cable cars, watch the sun set through the Golden Gate, and try Duncan Nicol’s pisco punch.” Or so writes SF author Gregory Dicum in The Pisco Book, which includes a 1940s photo of House of Pisco, a former bar on Pacific Street, with a huge crowd milling around under a sign reading “Original World Famous Pisco Punch.”
The fact that Destino owner and executive chef James Schenk opened a Pisco lounge in a former Laundromat next door to his eight-year-old restaurant isn’t a surprise—we’re only wondering what took him so long. But given that San Francisco is experiencing a sudden resurgence of all things Peruvian, perhaps the timing is just right. Says Schenk, “Gin made a comeback. Small-batch vodka is available. Cachaça, bourbon—they’ve all experienced newfound popularity. Now it’s Pisco’s turn.” Pisco Latin Lounge carries some 15 varieties of the high-proof spirit, for sipping straight or in mixed cocktails (including one standout, the Sideways Sour, which combines Pisco, white-grape juice and lemon, served over ice with a float of Pinot Noir).