The Pisco Sour

I own Pisco just to make Pisco Sours. It’s worth it, trust me. This drink blows away your perceptions of what a sour can be. Go buy a bottle of Pisco if you don’t already have one. If you do already have one, you probably haven’t used it in a while, so it’s time to make a fresh Pisco Sour. To make one, combine with ice:

  • 1 1/2 oz Pisco
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • 1 egg white (use small eggs)

and shake that thing hard. You want the egg to froth. Strain it into a chilled wine glass and then dab a few bits of bitters on top.

Everyone who writes about cocktails writes about the Pisco Sour or the history of Pisco. It really is interesting. Check out especially Camper English’s story in the San Francisco Chronicle. And then read Ereich Empey’s great descriptions of the drink on his blog here.  Me, I don’t really know what Pisco tastes like, except that, well, it’s pretty gross straight, at least the Pisco I have.

What the Pisco Sour really is, is a unique take on the sour itself. All of the sour components are there with two differences: one, the egg white. Sure, some people add egg white to their regular sour, but that’s not quite right, now is it. It is an integral part of the Pisco Sour that gives it a distinct mouthfeel with a lot of froth. The egg white also carries the second major difference: bitters. A few drops of Angostura bitters elevates the Pisco Sour into new, aromatic places and means that the Pisco Sour really is its own cocktail.

Calling it a sour may be a misnomer. Perhaps we should change it. The problem is that a lot of Peruvians and Chileans might get a little miffed at us trying to do that.

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