For those of us forever on the quest to imbibe rare or regional spirits, acclaimed filmmaker Steven Soderbergh is making the crusade a bit easier. While filming “Che” in Bolivia, Soderbergh became acquainted with their locally produced pisco-like product singani—which also happens to be their national drink. The result is Singani 63, an herbaceous white liquor distilled from a single grape varietal—the muscat of Alexandria. In order to even be called singani, the grapes must be grown at a minimum altitude of 5,250 feet, and, much like champagne, must hail from a specific region—in this instance, within the historic confines outlined for the production of singani in the Andes Mountains.
In essence, Singani 63 is an 80 proof Bolivian brandy. Florals and a delicate sweetness complement the herbal notes. It’s exceptionally smooth and burn-free, making it ideal for sipping neat or on the rocks. Its characteristics, however, also make it a potential substitute for gin or tequila in mixed drinks—though the Singani 63 team provides a list of their own cocktails online. The history of singani is also impressive, being the result of Spanish missionaries bringing the grapes over to Bolivia, along with a distillation process that’s been almost unchanged since 1530.
Images by Cool Hunting