On the recommendation of our hostel receptionist, we checked out a restaurant called Pishku - La Casona del Pisco (aka La Casona). He said it served the best pisco sours in town, and we found that it had a whole lot more to offer beyond that.
This is as much of a food post as it is a cocktail post, so read on.
As we have previously mentioned, Arequipa is a foodie city, but it mostly consists of street food and casual restaurants serving traditional dishes. We prefer to eat traditional food and at the unpretentious places that locals eat. However, one must check out a city's fine dining scene every now and then. We're very glad we decided to go to La Casona instead of the others we were contemplating.
La Casona really represents the cutting edge of food and drink in Arequipa, and just opened in December 2014. It is properly a gastropub because the food is as important as the drink. We were ushered inside the building, which was originally the home of an aristocrat, but has been beautifully redeveloped and appointed with hip fixtures.
The bar menu boasted around two-dozen unique cocktails made with indigenous fruits, and most with pisco. The waiter guided us to order a maracuya sour (pisco sour made with passionfruit) and a rajadiablo (rum-based cocktail with cactus fruit). Both were exceptional. For dinner, Brian had the alpaca filet with the best quinoa we've ever tasted. Alpaca has the consistency of steak but tastes very similarly to pork. Lindsay ordered a trout dish in cacao sauce (similar to a Mexican mole sauce) accompanied by an incredible potato/picked onion/pork belly combination.
Now for what you're really waiting for.. the cocktails.
After dinner, we approached Renato at the bar and asked him to teach us something. For us, he rolled out a Chilcano Mazzamorrero.
Recipe: Chilcano Mazzamorrero
3 oz pineapple pulp
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz cinnamon simple syrup
1 oz Macerado de Lima (pisco infused with lemons for 20 days)
2 oz Macerado de Maiz Morado (pisco-purple corn infusion)
Top with ginger ale, combine with ice in a 12 oz tall glass
Following a chat with Renato and his barback, they insisted that we meet the mixologist, Jossimar Lujan. We ended up engaged in a deep conversation with Jossimar about all aspects of running a gastropub and crafting cocktails. He is definitely a pioneer of the craft in Peru, and prefers to use indigenous ingredients, many of which sit in jugs on the infusion wall behind the bar. He pulled out all the stops by creating a custom tonic-based cocktail and letting us sample one of Peru's impressive Belgian-style tripel brewed by the Nuevo Mundo Cerveceria.
The night at La Casona was truly unforgettable, and thank you Jossimar for opening your bar and your ideas to us.
When you travel to Arequipa don't miss the gastronomic and personal experience at La Casona del Pisco