The Pisco Sour is a South American variation of the Whiskey Sour, and (there are multiple creation stories but if you believe the most popular one) was invented in the early 1920s by American expatriate Victor V. “Gringo” Morris at the Morris’ Bar in Lima. It caught on, and soon spread worldwide. Pisco is a brandy distilled from muscat grapes, and the varieties from the two main producers (Chile and Peru) differ greatly. Just ask Anthony Bourdain. A huge difference is that Chilean pisco is aged in stainless steel or glass, and Peruvian pisco is aged in wood, altering the flavor and making it smoother. Chilean law is very strict about the production of pisco, limiting the use of certain grapes and additives, and Peruvian pisco allows a number of grapes and modifications if the alcohol isn’t strong enough (60%) after fermentation.
Anyhoo, there’s your lesson for the day. Now drink!
- 2 oz Pisco
- 1 oz lemon juice (more authentic to use lime, but you’re more likely to be served a Pisco Sour with lemon juice)
- 3/4 oz simple syrup
- 1 egg white
- 1 dash Bitters
Shake (very, very) hard with ice (this is to break down the egg white and make it foamy) and strain into an old fashioned glass. Top the foam with a dash of bitters. Depending on the quality of Pisco you use, you may want to cut back on the simple syrup (say, 1/2 oz) as the sweetness can be a little overpowering. Try it with both Chilean and Peruvian Piscos and find the one you love. If you don’t like Pisco you might just not have found the one for you yet!