30/30, #6: Cuzco

This is a new addition to Casa Chronicles, though since it’s a drink that Julie Reiner came up with for Flatiron Lounge a couple of years back, I suspect it’s thoroughly made the rounds in some circles.

Since the 3,000-mile commute precludes frequent visits to Flatiron, I missed this drink when it was first introduced. Fortunately, Dale DeGroff included the recipe in The Essential Cocktail, one of the best recent additions to my libation-related library. (And now that I’ve gone searching, I see that Gary wrote it up for the Chronicle in late ’06, and it’s popped up on assorted websites, and that it was on PDT’s winter menu last year, and that basically I’m the last person who’s ever tried this drink. Ah, hell — good thing I’m used to that, though I am so demoralized that I’m not gonna worry about a photo right now.)

Three things regarding the Cuzco appealed to me: first, it uses pisco as its base, a spirit that I don’t use nearly often enough but am always on the lookout for good recipes that call for it; second, it uses Aperol, which was the aperitif/mixer of the moment a couple years back based mainly on the fact that it tastes so damn good; and third, the recipe calls for the glass to be rinsed with kirsch, and y’know, wow — you don’t see that too often, so I just had to give it a shot.

I’d probably appreciate this drink more if it wasn’t cloudy and in the 50s today; as a summer refresher, this thing has mondo potential. I’m listing it here so I don’t forget about it come summer; if you happen to live in a warmer climate — which is pretty much everyone — I’d suggest giving the Cuzco a try (assuming that, like me, you’re one of the 4 billion people who haven’t already).


  • 2 ounces pisco (Barsol Italia recommended)
  • 3/4 ounce Aperol
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup
  • dash of kirschwasser

Combine everything except kirsch in a cocktail shaker and shake well with ice. Rinse a highball glass with the kirsch and fill with fresh ice, then strain drink into rinsed glass. Garnish with grapefruit twist.

This drink is part of 30/30, a series of 30 drinks in 30 days — or as much as I can keep up before collapsing in a weary, booze-addled heap.

2 Responses to 30/30, #6: Cuzco

  1. Oh, if only I had known about this on Monday. Or yesterday. Fickle, fickle Seattle weather. Well, I’m sure I’ll have a chance to try this sometime between July 5th and late-mid-September….

  2. Paul – I’m very late to the game in terms of commenting on this drink. I had some left over grapefruit juice (go figure) lying around from a heavy mixology weekend and searched your site (always a good thing to do) and came across your post for the Cuzco. Tried it tonight – what i nice change of pace. thanks for the inspiration on this one.

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