July 28th is Peruvian Independence Day – the 192nd anniversary of Peru’s independence from Spanish rule, won by Argentine General Jose de San Martin in 1821. To join in the festivities, wear your red and white, the national colors of Peru, and enjoy a cool, refreshing Pisco Sour, the national cocktail of Peru (see recipe below):
Although Peruvian Independence Day is officially on the 28th, this time-honored Fiestas Patrias is celebrated with two full days of festivities. On July 27th, Peruvians often play folk and Creole music in plazas and public parks. At dawn the next day, a 21-cannon salute heralds the raising of the national flag followed by a presidential speech, exciting bullfights, parades, fireworks, fairs and exhibitions. Indigenous crafts and traditional foods, including Alfajores and Ceviche, are showcased during these celebrations. On July 29th, the morning starts with a mass led by the Archbishop of Lima, followed by The Great Military Parade. Then families and friends get together for parties and general merriment. Tourism often increases as visitors come from all over to join in the celebration.
Pisco Sour (makes 2 servings)
3 oz. pisco brandy (may substitute grappa or white rum)
2 T sugar or simple syrup
2 T fresh lime juice
2 tsp. pasteurized egg whites
Angostura bitters and lime wedges, for garnish
In a blender, add pisco, sugar, fresh lime juice, egg whites and a handful of ice cubes. Blend until smooth and serve straight up in a chilled martini glass or champagne flute. For an aromatic garnish, top with a dash of angostura bitters and a wedge of lime. If you prefer not to blend it, add all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake well, then serve.