By JORGE CHÁVEZ RAMÍREZ
Peruvian food has been the Next Big Thing for a few years now, perpetually threatening to take off. Now two Lima-born brothers, Daniel and Christian Armando Guillén, are doing for Peruvian and other Latin American cocktails what Stephan Pyles did for dishes like causa limeña and picarones at his erstwhile San Salvaje.
The Guillén brothers' Coctelería Clandestina (translation: Clandestine Cocktail Bar) takes the form of pop-up parties at bars like the People's Last Stand, the Dram and the Standard Pour, where Christian Armando is head bartender (Daniel is a partner at T.B.D. Kitchen in Lewisville).
[UPDATE April 4 at 12:25 p.m.: The next pop-up will be at High and Tight Barbershop in Deep Ellum on April 19.]
Naturally, pisco, Peru's national spirit, is a prominent star in their concoctions, along with tequila, tepache (the popular blue-collar Mexican drink made with fermented pineapple) and chica morada (a sweet Peruvian drink made from purple corn). Tropical fruit juices and tamarind add tang.
"We try to bring Latin America to Dallas, to bring recipes from our countries," says Christian Armando as he prepares their passion-fruit-flavored take on Pisco Punch.
Each party has a different drinks list. You may find El Callejero, a blend of tequila and tepache spiced with coriander and cloves, or an Andean Sour, a cinnamon-spiced, pineapple-happy take on the Pisco Sour. Or maybe a Mama Charito's Hot Chocolate: just like their mom used to make, but spiked with aged rum.
Their Rita de Calle – a nod to the soft drinks street peddlers used to sell in bags all over Latin America – is a piloncillo-sweetened cocktail-in-a-bag sipped through a chamoy-covered straw.
Cocktail prices are friendly (the brothers charged $5 per drink at their last few events), and the parties draw nice crowds, generally 100 to 150 guests. Intrigued? Check the Coctelería Clandestina Facebook page to find the next pop-up.