Pisco Punch – Duncan Nicol’s Classic 1890s Cocktail

No one actually knows the exact recipe for this cocktail as it’s creator, Duncan Nicol, took it to the grave with him in 1926. Invented in the 1890s at the Bank Exchange Saloon in San Francisco, the Pisco Punch recipe was kept a closely guarded secret by Mr. Nicol. It was slowly learned that it contained Pisco, gum syrup, pineapple juice and lemon juice but the exact proportions were kept hidden. Mr. Nicol would even pre mix large containers of the drink in the backroom by himself so no one could even see him make it, and it was rumored to also contain cocaine. Once prohibition kicked in in 1920, Duncan Nicol shut the doors of the Bank Exchange Saloon and retired from bartending at the age of 65. Even after closing his bar he never revealed the full recipe. Please considered this recipe here is an assumption of the original based on comparing all the different version of the drink I could find. Although it most likely did have cocaine in it, I wouldn’t recommend adding it, even though that does sound kinda fun.


Pisco Punch – Classic 1890s Recipe

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American






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Learn how to make a classic Pisco Punch.


  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice

  • 1/3 oz Gum Syrup

  • 1 oz Pineapple Juice

  • 2 oz Pisco


  • Add ice to the serving glass. Combine all the ingredients in the serving glass.
  • Give the drink a couple turns to chill and mix.

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