all text and photos copyright 2017

Monday, January 23, 2012

Well, I got a nickel, have you got a dime, let's get together and buy us some wine...

That evening I distinguished myself in several ways. First, I was the only one in the car on the way to the fancy-schmancy corporate get-together at the Lima Country Club to be hemming  the cuffs of my new pants. While wearing them.

What can I say? It was an emergency.

I only had the teensy bitty hotel sewing kit, but in a pinch, it worked.

Once there, amongst glamorous cream surroundings, chandeliers, and an impressive guest-to-perfectly-groomed-staff ratio, I did my very best trained seal / corporate wife imitation, saying  el gusto es mio "the pleasure is mine" each time I was introduced to a VIP Chilean person. This went over well, being met with real smiles and enthusiasm, though I am sure it didn't hurt that the Pisco Sours were flowing freely.

I like the Chileans who work with Mike's company. They are generous people, both with their humor and  their willingness to take the time to really talk and think and laugh. It also doesn't hurt my opinion one bit that they tend to stock their luggage with Chilean wines when they come to Seattle...and dispense with the loot to the NW employees. So my susceptible heart is theirs forever.

That evening, one particularly jovial fellow, his hair gray and suit beautifully cut, took me under his wing and taught me phrases such as the Spanish version of you'll be sleeping in the doghouse: voy a cambiar la cerradura de la puerta -"I'll change the lock on the door."  In case I needed to use such a phrase on Mike. Thus armed, I attacked the rest of the evening with enthusiasm.

Did I mention Pisco Sours were being served?

This might be a good time to explain the Pisco Sour. I think I have mentioned it is THE national drink of Peru. So much so that they have, I kid you not, a real holiday called, you guessed it, National Pisco Sour Day, which will be celebrated a couple of weeks from now.

The first time Mike came home from Peru he was all ready to try and make them at home, enthusiastically carting along a bottle of Pisco, a grape brandy made in either Peru or Chile. In fact, the Peruvians and the Chileans have a bitter debate as to who came up with the Pisco Sour, but then, those two countries will fight with each other over about just about anything. Historically speaking.

lime tree, Peru

Anyway, centuries of angst aside,  here's what the recipe for Pisco Sours looks like:

2 ounces Pisco
1 ounce lime juice (key limes, we are told, are the closest to the little limes they use in Peru, which, to confuse matters, they call "lemons")
about 3/4 ounces of simple syrup, to taste
1 egg white
and a dash of bitters.

Everything except the bitters is poured over ice and blended until the egg and sugar combine to a frothy foam in a cocktail sort of meringue. Then the dash of bitters is added in an aromatic crowning gesture.

If you drink more than one of these, well, I won't be held responsible. And it is quite easy to drink more than one, but I had been warned and held back.

Which was a pretty good ploy as the dinner was a multiple course feast designed to showcase accompanying Chilean wines. There is one and one area in which even  Peruvians will agree that the Chileans are superior, and that is in making some really lovely wines. Our sommelier for the evening, a cocky young buck wearing the traditional cup of his trade around  his neck, having us play a guessing game as we tried not one but two wines with each course...and the pourers ever attentive at our elbows to replenish the glasses, should there be any indication whatsoever that we might like them to.

I eventually took to acting like I was at an auction, not daring to move, lest an arched eyebrow or careless gesture land me with more than I could afford. 

adding to my STOP sign collection.

The conversation was scintillating, or at least seemed to under the circumstances, and it was certainly interesting to learn the difference between, say, a Carmenère and a Malbec. Having thoroughly enjoyed myself, I went up to the sommelier after we had eaten all there was to eat and started up a (probably) wine-snobbish conversation about Oregon's Willamette Valley and my enthusiasm for its Pinot Noirs. The wine steward seemed delighted to wax poetic with me on this topic, and he got very close, offering his business card, attractively garlanded with a grape motif and saying in a low voice that if I ever needed anything in Lima...

Good to know. Moving on to other attendees, gracias.  Once again keeping my gestures to a minimum.

Perhaps he was just being friendly. Either way I kept the card as a...trophy? Let's call it a souvenir.  

The evening wore down, and, after good-byes and air cheek kisses, all the little groups tried, and failed miserably for quite awhile, to find taxis. What, they don't want to pick up intoxicated passengers? Not commenting on us, though I could have been (why would you want me to incriminate myself that way?); the bar at the Country Club is apparently known as the spot where Peru's opulent stop by for a nightcap...and getting utterly smashed. 

Finally we ended up in a rather nice Lincoln Towncar, a real contrast to the rattle bugs you usually see along the roads of the city. It was a night to rather tiredly and stupidly gather up our things to prepare for moving out of the hotel.

Good-bye, then, to the Marriott Lima.

Soon, the real fun would begin.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a delightful evening. Looking forward to hearing more!