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Guillermo L. Toro-Lira

Pisco is a spirit made of grapes. It was first distilled over 400 years ago in the Spanish territory of the Viceroyalty of Peru in South America, near the port of Pisco, hence its name. The tropical region, combined with a cold Pacific Ocean current, and coastal desert environments, provided the climate and terroir conditions that resulted in a unique and highly versatile liquor. It is principally made from grapevines originally brought to Peru by Spanish conquistadors in the mid-16th century. Pisco Sour, a pleasant mixed drink made with lime juice, simple syrup, egg whites, and bitters, is the most popular cocktail made from pisco. It was first popularized by an American expatriate in his bar located in downtown Lima in the beginning of the 20th century. Both pisco and Pisco Sour are widely consumed in the countries of Peru and Chile. Over the last couple of decades, significant efforts have been made to increase worldwide awareness and recognition for these drinks.

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Dimitri van Limbergen

Grape cultivation reached Greece towards the end of the 3rd millennium bce, and Italy around the beginning of the 1st millennium bce. From the 8th century bce onward, systematic viticulture expanded, and wine became deeply embedded in Greco-Roman society at all levels. It was the beverage of choice for both the wealthy and the poor, a major intoxicant in the ancient world, and an essential source of energy in the daily diet. Wine was widely used in religion, feasts, and medicine, and was considered a key marker of civilized culture. Combined with the vine’s high productive potential and its low agronomic needs, all this made wine a primary feature of the agrarian economy and an important product of (inter)national trade. Literature, iconography, and archaeology sketch a picture of significant Greek and Roman realizations in vine-growing techniques and winemaking technology, thus testifying to a level of scientific expertise unmatched until the 19th century. The consumption of wine was stratified and diversified, with the market divided between premium vintages for the rich, ordinary wines for the masses, and winery drinks for the lower classes.