The Pisco Sour is a unique cocktail. In short, you’re making a clear grape brandy sour. Which… maybe doesn’t sound that appetizing on the surface. But if you have a good Pisco and a little elbow grease for shaking a nice and frothy sour, I promise — you’re in for a delicious and massively refreshing treat.
Before we dive in, let’s look at this drink a little bit. Pisco dates back to the 1500s when the Spanish were colonizing what’s now Peru. They brought grapes for wine and brandy and, naturally, these grapes took on a life of their own in a new environment. Fast-forward 500 years and Pisco is a cornerstone of the brandy world in South America. This cocktail’s roots aren’t quite as old, dating back to Lima’s bar scene just after World War I. Victor V. Morris, an American bartender working in Peru, is credited with “inventing” the drink at this time. Since the idea of a “sour” goes back into the early 1800s (and beyond), Morris’ concoction was more about using local ingredients than making something new.
Still, he hit gold. The drink became an instant classic.
For the recipe below, I’m sticking to Morris’ Pisco Sour. There are versions from Chile that eschew the egg white, but those don’t quite hit as well as the Peruvian version. Anyway, let’s get shaking!
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- 2 oz. Pisco
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- 0.5 oz. simple syrup
- 1 small egg white
- 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters
I’m using a Puro Pisco made with 100 percent Quebranta grapes. You want to stick with higher-quality Pisco that’s crystal clear and made with a single grape variety. It’ll pass on an earthy, grassy, and fruity/sweet vibe to the cocktail.
The rest is all easily available at any liquor store or grocery store.
What You’ll Need:
- Small coupe (pre-chilled)
- Cocktail shaker
- Cocktail strainer
- Hand juicer
- Paring knife
- Pre-chill the glass in the freezer.
- Add the Pisco, egg white, simple, and fresh lime to the cocktail shaker. Fill about halfway with ice. Affix the lid and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Grab the glass from the freezer and strain the cocktail into the glass making sure to shake out all the foam.
- Dash three drops of Angostura Bitters onto the foam. Serve.
This is really refreshing. It’s very bright thanks to that lime juice. The Pisco layers in a sense of earthy sweetgrass with a soft and fruity edge. The egg white emulsifies with acids and sugars to create a lovely, velvet texture. Every sip is silky smooth.
Overall, this is a pretty easy sour to shake up and a nice change from the heavier whiskey sour. The Pisco is much lighter and far more fruit-forward than whiskey, helping this stay very thirst-quenching.
In short, this is a great hot-weather refresher. If you’re in a part of the country where things are starting to warm up in a hurry, it’s a surefire winner.