411 is not a home address, nor is it a phone code or a room number. It is an unalterable, perfect formula to prepare the pisco sour And this is how it has been served for decades at the bar of the English Bar, the flagship of the Sanisidrino Country Hotel and a temple of good drinking and good eating. Four (4) ounces of pisco, one (1) ounce of lemon, and one (1) ounce of gum syrup make up the base, the beginning of it all. There are also the egg white, the ice, the angostura bitters, the good hand of the bartender and the atmosphere, but that is another story. The one that concerns us today has to do with the recovery of one of the most emblematic spaces of the gastronomic scene of this city, closed for 18 months due to the pandemic.
The English Bar he’s back. It has done so in all its expression, with its only room enabled for face-to-face attention: a maximum of 17 people will be able to occupy their tables, in order of arrival (reservations are not allowed). Until very recently it remained totally empty, with the bar working exclusively for El Perroquet, the Creole food restaurant that is right next door and to which the English Bar provides all the cocktails. They even considered delivering, but the idea would never have worked. The pisco sour here is enjoyed with all the senses: from taste to sight.
“We wanted to try classic cocktails, to be sent home,” says Luiggy Arteaga, head of bars at the Country Club Lima Hotel. “But in the case of pisco sour it was especially difficult since the lemon oxidizes very quickly and the white is perishable. So we decided to leave the delivery only for the restaurant’s dishes (El Perroquet), the cocktails for the service at the premises, and wait until the bar reopens ”, he points out. Specifically, that wait has lasted a year and a half. Like all comebacks, this one also brings some surprises.
“El Bar Inglés is a restaurant / bar where food is also served. That is why the opening is allowed, respecting the maximum capacity of 50% ”, explains Vanessa Villagrán, unit manager of Los Portales Hotels. “Although it is a small space, we keep our distance and the windows are open. Before the tables were closer together; now there are fewer, the majority for two or three people at most ”, he indicates. Throughout the pandemic, many regular customers wrote or called to ask when they could return to visit that environment (the favorite bar of figures like Joaquín Sabina and Alfredo Bryce Echenique, to name a few). Since the reopening 15 days ago, an unexpected phenomenon has been taking place: the arrival of a younger audience.
“Our average client had a higher profile, with more risk during the pandemic,” adds Luiggy Arteaga. “Now we see that consumers of 30 or 35 years old are coming, many of whom come first to eat something at La Panadería (the new space of the Country, inaugurated in a pandemic) and want to continue with the experience,” he explains. The hotel spaces have served exactly that, with new tables set up on the terrace and in the garden. “The advantage is that the cocktails of the English Bar can be tasted in any of these areas,” says the bartender. Pisco continues to be the protagonist of the novelties on the menu.
The pandemic – and the decrease in foreign tourism – brought the local public closer to trying different experiences in many hotels in Lima: from restaurants to special packages to spend the weekend. Many customs have changed, and the hotel industry has responded with new proposals for new customers, especially the younger ones.
“We had been handling a reduced menu, but we have just implemented new alternatives such as our” achilcanados “, which are a version of chilcano with natural juices and pulps of both red and citrus fruits,” concludes Arteaga. Asado de tira tequeños, prosciutto pizzeta with confit tomato or tenderloin carpaccio with artisanal toasts are some of the snacks available in a menu where the national distillate is the protagonist, but it is not the only thing available: the options include from a classic Manhattan to a refreshing caipirinha. Without a doubt, here the night can be eternal.
Everything eternal that can be until curfew.
How to prepare a pisco sour in the style of the English Bar?
-4oz of pure pisco quebranta
-1oz lemon juice
-1oz of gum syrup
-1 dash of egg white
-5 to 6 ice cubes
Add the ingredients and shake vigorously in the shaker.
Serve in a previously cold glass, leaving the ice in the shaker.
Finish with one to two drops of angostura bitters.
- Address: Calle Los Eucaliptos 590, San Isidro
- Hours: Monday to Sunday, from 12 m. at 11 pm
- Instagram: @restauranteperroquet