Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Recipe: Pisco Sour

Isn't it about time for a pisco sour?

If you've never had this drink you can't imagine how refreshing it is, tart yet sweet, seemingly mild yet deceptively potent.

If you have had a pisco sour, you know what I'm talking about.

What is pisco? you may ask. Essentially, a clear brandy or spirit made from grapes cultivated along the coastal valleys of Peru. More on pisco later, I promise, including its history and elaboration.

Right now let's focus on MAKING that most famous of Peruvian cocktails: the pisco sour.

Traditionally, the pisco sour requires three key ingredients: pisco, simple syrup, and Angostura bitters.

But don't despair if you don't have all three ingredients! The bitters are only a garnish anyway, and you can make your own simple syrup, just keep reading...

Pisco sours also require either lime or lemon juice. You be the judge to see which is better. The most traditional pisco sours are made with egg whites, but not all recipes call for them. To make things easier, instead of simple syrup, some recipes call for simply using sugar. Ice and a shaker are all else you need to get started (although some recipes below calls for a blender.)

Let's go from the easiest to the most complicated recipes.

Pisco sours don't get much easier than these first two recipes. If you have pisco, sugar, and some lemons, you're good to go. They don't really tell you how much ice to use, but I would guess about half of the glass I was using to serve. You could also blend ice and all. Bitters, what's that?

pisco sour using sugar and lemon juice from Webtender

pisco sour using sugar and lemon juice from Drinks Mixer

If you managed to find a bottle of bitters somewhere in the pantry but still want to keep it simple, here's a good one:

pisco sour using sugar, bitters, and lime juice from Cuisine du Monde

So now you want to get serious about your pisco sour and make it in true limeño fashion using egg white?

You've got the pisco, the egg, some limes, but you don't have that darn simple syrup, and you don't want to make it. Don't worry, this recipe calls for sugar instead:

pisco sour using sugar, bitters, egg white, and lime juice from Peru Travel Adventures

Your ready for the final test: a pisco sour with all the bells and whistles. They way it's supposed to be.

You don't have simple syrup? No problem! Here's an easy recipe for making your own at home:

click here to see a recipe for simple syrup from All Recipes

Here is a recipe for making the most traditional type of pisco sour using lime juice:

pisco sour using simple syrup, bitters, egg white, and lime juice from Drink Boy

This traditional pisco sour recipe by Audrey Saunders from Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel in New York City calls for lemon juice:

pisco sour using simple syrup, bitters, egg white, and lemon juice from New York Metro Recipes

Wasn't that good?

There is a bit of a debate as to where the pisco sour was invented, but I'll save that story for a later post. New York Metro has an interesting anecdote at their recipe site:

"This unusual Peruvian drink was popularized by Charles Baker, food-and-drinks editor of Town & Country in the 1940s."


To see more pictures of pisco sours on this blog click here and here.


Click here for the Peru Food main page.

TAGS: Peru, Peruvian, food, cooking, cuisine, cocina, comida, gastronomía, peruana

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