The Last Ice Age ($13)
Mixing spirits from both Peru and Japan, this cocktail brings together Hakashu Whisky and some Pisco Porton infused with Asian pear and shiso leaf. The spirits are brightened with a mix of lemon and lime, and the frothy cocktail is shaken with egg whites. "Asian pears are in season and have the perfect sweetness at this time," says Alvarez.
To name this drink, Alvarez honors Japanese art: "In my research I found that the Japanese talk about their culture being so rich that they found sculptures that were as old as the last ice age," she says.
Oaxacalifornia Love ($13)
The Oaxacalifornia Love is such a hit at Mo-Chica that Alvarez decided that is a was a must for the Paiche cocktail menu too. This drink combines both tequila (el Jimador Blanco) and Vida mezcal for smoke and spice, and it's designed to really pick up the flavors of Peruvian-inspired food. One reason it works: "This drink has a lot of acidity," explains Alvarez. "I also use rocoto peppers, which are popular in Peruvian cuisine." The cocktail is made tart with loads of fresh lime, and rounded out with pineapple juice and a housemade caramelized pineapple-vanilla-chili gum syrup. It's served over a large hand-cut ice cube and garnished with a pineapple leaf. Alavarez recommends trying this cocktail with the Arroz Con Conchas Negras y Erizo, a rice dish made with sea urchin, blood clams, and squid ink.
Maracuya Caipirinha ($15)
No South American-influenced cocktail menu could be complete without some passion fruit. Some bars use purees, but at Paiche they only bring in whole fruit in season. Alvarez muddles lime cubes with the passion fruit and Martinique Cane sugar syrup. "I muddle everything without the spirit," adds Alvarez: "I feel that to create the perfect cocktail the spirit is the soul and I do not want to crush the soul of the drink."
For the Maracuya Caipirinha, she adds Leblon cachaca before shaking the mixture with ice. "Usually a caipirinha is a shake-and-dump drink, but since this has so many lime cubes it can be kind of messy. I like to strain it, then make sure I get some passion fruit seeds. At the end, I squeeze two lime cubes over the top to add some tartness. They are also the garnish; it's a nice contrast of colors."