When traveling around Chile, sipping a pisco sour becomes synonymous with watching the sun go down — be it in the arid north where the sunset makes the Atacama Desert blush pink; in the mountainous south where the iconic “towers” of Torres del Paine glow gray like a Patagonian postcard; or in the central port city of Valparaiso, where rainbow-colored houses cling to the hillsides and create an amphitheater facing the ocean.
For anyone who has not yet had the pleasure of trying a pisco sour, it is a frothy, lemony concoction (stronger than it first appears) made from lemon or lime juice, whisked egg whites and pisco brandy. Each of these different-yet-iconic Chilean spots makes a great setting to enjoy the national cocktail.
Atacama, the world’s driest desert, sits at the top of this long, thin country. One of the region’s best hotels, Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa, miraculously blends into the mountains that surround it; its adobe buildings share the same orange-red hue as the landscape. Other splashes of color come in the form of six swimming pools and lush flowerbeds. Thanks to the high altitude, dry climate and lack of light pollution, these are the clearest skies in the Southern Hemisphere — what could be better than pisco sours while stargazing? Plus, Alto Atacama serves a mean rica rica pisco sour, too, a variation on the classic made with the local rica rica herb.
Travel halfway down the country (15 hours by car), head to the coast and you’ll reach Valparaiso. One of the best ways to soak in the view of the Valley of Paradise’s colonial architecture and harbor is from Hotel Casa Higueras, home to one of the most breathtaking terraces in town. In fact, this 1920s mansion-turned-hotel has a three-tiered balcony, and you can choose between having a sundowner by the outdoor pool or on one of the terraces above. The specialty here is the higo sour, which is made with figs, and you’ll enjoy it equally from either location.
Last but not least, a place on many a traveler’s bucket list is the majestic Patagonia. If you have the chance to visit this incredible part of the world, make the most of it and stay at a hotel with a stunning view, such as Explora’s Hotel Salto Chico. With the Torres del Paine mountain range towering above and the Salto Chico waterfall tumbling below, you may find yourself ordering several pisco sours at the bar to heighten your blissful state.
Photos courtesy of iStock/peffan, Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa and Hotel Salto Chico