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Pisco Raki Arak etc

edited April 2016 in Recipes

I like Pisco and developing a love of Raki /Arak
Bought heaps of Muscat grape concentrate and 6 kg organic raisins and about to give it a go.
So both Pisco and Raki start life as a grape fermentation.
Pisco is a very raw single pot still distillation of grape based ferment with lots of heads to give it its distinctive flavour.
I understand the proper Pisco procedures of natural yeast ferment without added yeast but that is out in my case as not starting with whole grapes. Will probably use a champagne yeast.
Raki is also a grape based brew distilled very clean then mascerated with ( and here lies a question that I would love comment on ) to the best of my knowledge aniseed. I see others use star anise and will eventually give it a go in my glass lab still to test the difference.
So here lies my thoughts.
Ferment Muscat grape concentrate and raisins then pot still to get Pisco.
Save x amount of Pisco and redistill the rest either thru bubble plates to get a much more refined product or through pot still again to refine but keep more flavour of the grape.
Probably thru plates to get better base spirit but trying to retain grape overtones.
Then use this to make the Raki via masceration and pot still ( with possibly the gin basket in with more aniseed and a few other botanicals)
I am kind of thinking there is a place in the middle for a Pisco type product mascerated with aniseed / star anise.
Ie a more raw Raki with a few overtones of Pisco heads.
Would love some comment as very new to this game.
Only really have a 22 litre product of very decent gin out of my new still and gin basket which was very pleasing as jumped in pretty big.
Mainly based on the good knowledge and lots of reading on this site



  • It sounds like a great plan.

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  • Computer, PING @Sadi!

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  • edited April 2016

    I am PINGed @Moonshine :))

    Welcome @GD50

    I do Raki as it is the main sprit here. I have written about it in this post. That shows how I did it with the glass setup I had, before I got a CD. I need to update it as I use a 4" CD now. Some pictures of the CD setup I use is here.

    I tried most ways but ended up doing the anise infusion part like gin. I am not claiming that it should be done this way but that is my preference now.

    A friend of mine tried star anise but he did not like it.

    Pisco is the raisins brandy? I made some white grapes and raisins brandy, it was nice after oaked.

    I had some white grapes and some figs at the freezer for some time, and I am fermenting them now to make some more products. We really like the fig base with my friends. Goes well as it is, and really nice when oaked aswell.


  • edited April 2016

    @Sadi, pisco is a single run pot stilled brandy that is often done with a specific type of grape or grapes with a very good sugar content.

    Pisco enthusiasts will often say that the best piscos come from Peru. And that the lesser Piscos come from Chilli.

    I am not qualified to judge since I have only recently begun to understand pisco......But I know that I just love it.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • edited April 2016

    Exactly. That's why I am using Muscat grape 6x concentrate. The closest I could think of and the raisins to add more flavour.
    Pisco is hard to buy in Australia and most bottle shops say they have never heard of it but it can be got.
    Glad to see Sadi says anise and meaning aniseed though I have read up on it and they both are useable as both contain the anthole oil. Will try that one out one day in glass test setup.
    @Sadi will look at your new setup.
    You gotta love a Pisco sour. It is so good. I bought some Peru Pisco from a specialist importer and it lasted 2 days at Christmas.
    40 degrees C on the verandah with family and a Pisco sour - couldn't get better.

  • I spent 8 years living in Peru of which 3 years were up in the mountains and closer to god, ( try living at 4300m elevation), and the other 5 years in Lima. I love pisco. And Smaug is right the best Piscos are from a town called Pisco which is about 280kms South of Lima. All of the Piscos from Chile are horse piss in comparison. @GD50, you will probably get there with the muscat grape but I would lean more to a light Chardonnay concentrate or a lighter grape. These are the grapes used for the source Quebranta, Negra Criolla, Mollar, Uvina. Quebranta you could probably get in Oz. Chileno and Peruvian pisco does use Moscatel, which is Muscat but it tends to give the distillate a darker colour and more sweat flavor which is like Chileno Pisco. But the really really clean clear Peruvian pisco is made with Quebranta, which is a non aromotic grape much like a chenin blanc or dry white wine. I dont know if you can get Quebranta in Oz. A couple of years ago my brother went to the Granite belt wine region and found a couple of guys making Pisco that he said was pretty good.

    And I agree. I love Pisco sour but Peruvian Pisco. Chileno pisco is good for getting wasted for US$3 for a bottle, if required for medicinal purposes but not for sipping. Up in the mountains the get a 2 litre coke bottle and fill it full of Coca leaves and then fill it full of cheap Pisco. The alcohol leaches the active narcotic and turns the liquid light green, then they use that to make pisco. A couple of doubles of those and your floating.
    Another thing is you can mix up Pisco with other fruit juices to make minor variations. The most common is a fruit called Maracuya, but in Oz a dash of passionfruit juice would work.

    Sorry for the large post but I dont have a lot of experience, yet, to add to this forum but I know a bit about Pisco.

  • One more comment on pisco sour variations is if you have women that dont like overly sour pisco sours then the touch of some kind of fruit juice takes the flavour off it and always remember the dash of angustura bitters on the top.

  • So how does it differ from a brandy, Cognac, Armagnac, Ararat?

  • Its just a really really nice clean white spirit. Its like a light grape vodka that has just a hint of sweetness/grape flavour. Its a difficult taste to describe. Probably a dry grape spirit with very little sour or sweetness from the grapes. They do age it in ceramic containers and I have tried the aged stuff and it was pretty close to a high end vodka.

  • OK, so grape eau de vie with made with very tight cuts and none of the oak influence of other bandies would be a reasonable descriptor?

  • Sounds like that will get you close. This stuff is aged in ceramic containers with a wax top. No oak or other flavours. Its a very close to a grape vodka.

  • edited April 2016

    @Sadi. Read your new setup post but a little confused. You seem to do a strip run with aniseed then a spirits run without. Sorry for being a bit slow but what do you achieve with the spirit run?
    My plan being a combination Pisco /raki run is to pot still the first run from which I will get my Pisco. Then I will spirit run the remainder maybe with only three procap plates.
    Dilute and put still back into pot still mode - here is where I am now not sure after reading your post but the original plan was to mascerate aniseed and also use my GB4 gin basket with more aniseed to vapour infuse like gin. You seem to infuse only. Just not sure on your process to flavour in strip then do a spirit run.. I hope to end up with my final abv off the pot still but want it high like 50% or 55 Will read both your posts again to see if some more of your most excellent information and creative use of modular are more understood

  • edited April 2016

    @DonMateo You have no idea how much effort I put in to get Muscatel concentrate when Chardonnay concentrate was available all the time. I will get some and do a second run to see what the difference is and let you know. I believe Quebranta is used in wines in SA but if available as a concentrate not sure - will check it out from Tarac Technologies near Barossa Valley. Would you agree that Pisco has a smell like there is a lot of heads in there or is it just the ones that I have tried? I would not say there was tight cuts happening. I did buy aromatic Pisco from the specialist importer I bought from and the newest is a Dan Murphy buy as the other is out of stock. Any more info you can suggest on this process would be most appreciated as have had limited experience with the brew due to difficulty obtaining in Aussie. Do you think the addition of the raisins might not be such a good idea? Also I always put sugar syrup in my sours along with the lime juice and egg white and a dash of bitters at end. Does that sound on track? Just checked Tarac website and they do a neutral white concentrate from Chardonnay and Semillon plus Muscat Gordo and a red concentrate plus a huge supplier on grape spirit which of course we ordinary lot can't buy.

  • edited April 2016

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  • In defense of Chile,,,,,,only because I know that one does not have to make Bourbon in Kentuckey, or consume a Bourbon made in Kentuckey in order to enjoy a good Bourbon,,,,,,,,,I will at the very least assume that one person in Chile is capable of making a better Pisco styled aguardiente than someone in Peru.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • edited April 2016

    Thanks for the info on Pisco mates.

    @Smaug said: Sadi, pisco is a single run pot stilled brandy that is often done with a specific type of grape or grapes with a very good sugar content.

    I am yet to try a single run brandy. I think I should now.

    @GD50 Normally if you follow the tradition, you would strip first and then make the infusion+cuts doing a sprit run. Once I did another sprit run and the product was exceptional. After that, my experiments brought me to the point of always making cuts and let the louche guide me. Of course parts that does not prouduce a louche goes back to the previous step when I do another batch.

    I do make cuts in the strip+infusion run by only taking the infused part (that produces a louche) for the sprit run. So the purpose of making a sprit run is to make more cuts again, I take the part that produces a louche (that has enough anethole) in order to get a more refined product and also loose less flavour of the base fruit by not doing a third run.

    Also this way we have more anethole in the product than the commercial ones, which we prefer.

    I must also add that 80% abv is important for infusion.


  • @Sadi Yes the ability to louche is a dead give away that it is right or close too. I would have thought you would have left some of the anethole behind in the spirits run but as you have guessed i am totally new here. Just refining a process in the head before i give it a go.
    Thanks for the info. Maybe i will leave all 4 plates in as then i will have no trouble getting the 80%.

  • Would you agree that Pisco has a smell like there is a lot of heads in there or is it just the ones that I have tried? I would not say there was tight cuts happening.

    It's sounding a lot like a grape eau de vie to me. Dans has it, I might have to grab a bottle for the collection.

    Anyone tried this? Representative?

    So louche?? Is this the milk or something else? Like leche?

  • edited April 2016

    @gd50. I am sorry that you spent a lot of time finding muscatel concentrate and I am sure it would give pisco but much along the lines of Chileno Pisco and not the same as Peruvian Pisco You asked a lot of questions in your last post that I cant answer. I live in Mendoza Argentina where I have heard some guys make a Pisco imitation and they use an Italian very light white table grape which is like the Quebranta. That grape variety the Quebranta originated in Spain and was brought to Peru in the 1650s and they bred it for 100 years to take it from a musctatel half white to have red grape to a wholey white grape only found in the south of Peru. So the first Pisco distilleries started about the 1750s which was about 30 years before Captain cook set foot in Oz. One thing that is not often said about Pisco Sour is the lemon used. In Peru the "limon" is the like an Australian bush lime which. The limon in Peru is like an aussie bush lime but at 200% concentration of citrics and ascorbic acid.

    They are about 40mm diameter and really lemony, here is a link.

    Anyway @GB50. I applaud your endeavours to find the best aussie based ingredients to make a pisco. I didnt know a lot about how it was made when I lived in Peru but I sure drank a lot of it. Most business diners and family trips to the local seafood restuarants start with pisco sours. But sadly when you go to Chile you try the same and all you get is a sour experience.
    Your Muscat will get you close to a chileno pisco but a Chinen grape in Oz would probably get you a lot closer to a Peruvian pisco than a Muscat. And using an Aussie Bush Lime will be a lot better than a lemon for both pisco sour and ceviche. I feel that there are few items I can comment on with authority but Peruvian spirits and food are on that short list.

  • edited April 2016

    @DomMateo. Thanks for the info on the limon. Could not understand a word of it but the scientific name is there so I will check Perrys Nursery tomorrow. I like ceviche also but use Tahitian limes for both. Just did a search on that lime and it appears to be the Key lime or Mexican lime or West Indian lime that originated in south east Asia and carried around by the Spanish. So I might be able to grow some as I have a few acres. I already grow Kaffir limes and was looking for a new fruit tree so might have found it.

  • edited April 2016

    @jacksonbrown said: So louche?? Is this the milk or something else? Like leche?


    The product is transparent as it is in the jug. When mixed with water it produces a louche and looks like what is in the small glass. The abv should be below 38% to get a louche, above that it disappears.

    Spirits that contain certain amount of anethole infusion (which is in anise and fennel and both are used in making absinthe) produces a louche when mixed with water. Absinthe and Raki are a few examples.

    As far as I know, the word louche is French and comes from Absinthe culture.

    I hope this gives you the idea. :)


    800 x 600 - 46K
  • edited April 2016

    Further comment to @Sadi's post.
    Wife mixed one the other night and put the ice in the glass with the Raki.
    It immediately separated and looked like shit.
    You have to mix with water first then you can add ice.
    I was actually in a michellin rated Lebanese resteraunt in Paris two weeks ago and you get a new glass for every pour so there is no tendency to separate. The mezza was unbelievable. Ate there two nights in a row and on second the arak was turned on - several different types and great.

  • @GD50 said: The mezza was unbelievable.


  • @GD50. The key lime will be a lot closer to the Peruvian Limon. One hint too on making ceviche is that you should only put the seafood in the lime juice for about 5 to 10 mins flat. After that its over cooked. Ceviche should be about 50% raw. For that reason in Peru the locals never eat Ceviche in the evening as its always supposed to be had with freshest fish you can. A few years back I was back in Oz and made Ceviche with Barramundi and Moreton bay tiger prawns. Yummmm.....

    To answer a couple of your previous questions I wouldnt put raisons in with your mosto when you ferment it. Pisco does have a bit of heads with it, Chileno pisco a lot more so than Peruvian Pisco. The right recipe for Pisco sour uses white sugar or a fine caster sugar. The rest of the recipe is good. I think I am going to buy some Peruvian Pisco when I am in Santiago tomorrow. I will take photos of the pisco on the shelves and you can see the color difference between the Peruvian Pisco and Chileno Pisco.

  • @DonMateo. You get to Santiago the other day and get a chance to see the Pisco?
    I actually scored a bottle of Amargo Chuncho bitters from Peru today so tomorrow is Pisco sour day with proper Peruvian Pisco and bitters. So it's Singapore inspired chicken sate cooked on charcoal. Followed by Thai stickie coconut rice with pineapple also grilled on charcoal washed down by Peruvian Pisco sours. (Mangoes are out of season ) I also bought a key lime plant that has not yet arrived but will have to wait a few years to enjoy the fruits of that purchase -if lucky and survives our occasional slight frost. Might even get my grape brew down fermenting if organised but will leave raisins out as you have scared me off. Also got a bottle of Lebanese 50% Gantous & Abou Radd Arak so that is heading as a wash down with the sate. Smells really good .

  • Love singapore sate, i keep a batch of the hot peanut sauce frozen and get it out to take bits from every now and then. I had chicken pieces with peanut sauce for dinner last night.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • We stayed in Chinatown Singapore a week or so ago and apart from their sate being an absolutely irresistible staple the whole food experience was great. Enjoyed the rest of it too as coming from cold Europe to a warmer than usual Singapore was a real bone thaw-er. Did not really enjoy French food so hitting Asia was heaven.

  • Wow, what didn't you like about French food? The only problem with France is the French :))

    Got any good Singapore recommendations? I'm heading over in a month.

  • You dont need too many pointers in Chinatown - only two that i would recommend Smith Street at night and Maxwell Food Court for Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken and rice. We also hit a really excellent Indian restaurant in Little India Barefoot Someting Indian - It is Lagnaa Its all good there and we ate at lots - The age old story look for the longest of locals at a stall. Beer is cheap and good also as a change from French Resteraunts

    The problem with French food was probably the French in that it was hard to order .

    You tend to get a piece of meat and a small fancy say carrot three layer bake and no more . So you have to order the secondary stuff which is difficult. If you ask for salad you will invariably get lettuce leaves - thats it. The most excellent stuff was the market things like deli and smallgoods and things like snails you finish cooking at home. Frogs legs were so so and Mussells were out of season. Sweets and bread unbelievable. Coming from a major SA oyster growing region i specifically went to Cancale to check out oysters but was longing for our fat sweet sea tasting oysters. I even teamed up with a french rep for the SA growing system, that is expanding across the world, and went to a number of oyster farms. They all grow Pacific Rock Oysters like most of the world though i did source some Brenton Plate oysters. Sorry to say i did not even enjoy the wine there and was hanging out for a really deep red red as most of the local is more like a Pino Noir. Again it is the difficulty in ordering and try telling someone you want a deep red black wine and you will get nowhere. Cider is a treat. Italy was great food obviously. You dont have to explain anything to them as it all comes balanced and nice all the time.

  • Thanks for the tips.
    We've got a bit of a food check list going. Chicken rice is on it, so is fish head curry, so is chilli crab etc. etc.
    We want to get to the aquarium too.
    Yeah, Australia is the home of the ballsy red. The oysters we had there were more like the native angasi oysters than the Pacific.
    I went to some frog leg joint for our last meal in Paris and it was only OK. I had better frog in Indonesia.
    We didn't have much of a problem with the lingo. My missus handles the niceties quite well from her high school french and I can speak 'French Menu' extreamly well after cooking in french restaurants for years. We ate very well in Italy too :D
    How close are you to the hiramasa kingfish farms and the blue fin tuna pens?

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