Pisco Sour

Jul 31st

Until traveling to Peru, I had never had a Pisco Sour, which is Peru’s national cocktail.  After my first one, I was ready for about eight more because of its tart, frothy deliciousness.  Be warned though, these little puppies may go down smooth, but they are potent.  In fact, there’s a saying in Peru…one is not enough and three is too many, so use your own judgment as to what that means for you.

A Pisco Sour is basically a whiskey sour, except made with Pisco.  Pisco is a brandy made from white grapes that (to me) has similar flavor profile to tequila.  Although  Pisco doesn’t have an unusually high proof (between 80-100), it can have quite the effect on one’s faculties, maybe because it is so easy to drink, or maybe because there’s really something in those Peruvians grapes (possibly like what the juniper berries in gin do to some).

I have read varying Pisco Sour recipes, but it seems that the consensus is that they’re made with Pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, egg white and Angostura bitters.  Some people insist it’s lemon juice, but it sure tasted like lime juice when I was in Peru, though maybe my senses were clouded by the Pisco.  I think the Chilean version of this cocktail uses lemon juice and that’s where the confusion comes from (Chile and Peru have a rivalry as to which country can stake claim to this classic).  So, if you want to make a true Peruvian Pisco Sour, use lime juice.  After that whole speech about authenticity, I confess that I actually make my Pisco Sour with agave nectar because one day I was out of simple syrup and used agave nectar instead and haven’t turned back since.  Pisco Sour purists might turn their nose up at me, but the hell with them.


2 1/4 ounces Peruvian Pisco (Chile also makes Pisco, but make sure to buy Peruvian Pisco)

3/4 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice

3/4 ounce agave nectar (or simple syrup for Pisco Sour purists)

1 egg whole white (since you’re drinking a raw egg white, try to use the freshest eggs you can!)

Angostura Bitters

Cocktail glass or an old fashioned glass

In a martini shaker filled with an ample amount of ice, vigorously shake the Pisco, lime juice, agave nectar (or simple syrup), and egg white.  Since you want the egg white to create a nice froth, you really have to shake the dickens out of this cocktail.  Once you feel that you’ve achieved a good froth, strain the cocktail into your glass.  I find that the liquid will come out of the shaker first and the froth will come out last, so be sure to get every last drop out of that shaker or else you might be leaving behind that precious froth (and fruits of your labor).  As a final touch, garnish the froth with a couple drops of bitters.

Note, in the photo above, I actually used a bitters stencil to create this design on top of the froth.  I promise I’ll do a post on how to make a bitters stencil because they’re so much fun and really elevate a cocktail (plus, they can impress your friends).  For now, though a couple drops of bitters on top will do.

Ok, done?  Raise your glass to frothy deliciousness!  Just con cuidado with this cocktail – I don’t want to have to come over and scrape you off the floor.  Cheers!