Friday Happy Hour: The Pisco Sour

In keeping with last week’s drink, here’s another fantastic Latin American cocktail, this one from South America’s cuisine capital, Peru: the Pisco Sour.  The Pisco Sour is sweet and tart, like a Sour should be, with a complexly herbal aroma from the bitters, but should showcase the Pisco: fruity and vegetal, like fresh grass, smooth but with a citrusy finish.  This drink incorporates raw egg white, and that’s not for everyone.  You can make a Pisco Sour without the egg, and it will still be a tasty Sour.  But a true Pisco Sour with the egg is silky and rich, with a gorgeous head of foam that you’d miss out on.

Read below for the full recipe!

Pisco Sour

2 oz Pisco
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 Egg White (you can probably get by with 1/2 per drink)
Angostura Bitters

Combine the Pisco (a clear Peruvian or Chilean grape Brandy), juice, syrup, and egg white in a shaker with a flat top (that is, a Boston or Parisian Shaker).  Add one or two big ice cubes.  Cocktail Kingdom sells a tray for making 2 inch cubes that are perfect for many cocktails like this.  Shake hard – the idea is to use the ice cubes as a piston to give this drink its great froth.  Strain well, making sure to shake out all the froth.  Top with the bitters and, if you’re feeling artistic, use a toothpick to draw a shape or pattern in the froth, then enjoy!


Peru’s grape and Pisco industries, introduced by the Spanish at least by the 16th century, are centered around the fertile river valleys that make life possible along the country’s desert coast, towns like Ica and, of course, Pisco.  Pisco is distilled from the first pressing of grapes and aged only in non-reactive vessels, such as glass or the more traditional botijas – giant clay pots – which leaves the spirit clear but mellow.  Americans began drinking lots of Pisco in the 1850s, when it was easy to import the spirit to Gold Rush California (a hot bed of cocktail innovation).  It largely disappeared from the U.S. during Prohibition, but was reintroduced after Victor Morris, an American bartender living in Peru, invented the Pisco Sour around 1920; the drink eventually made its way back here.  A good thing it did!

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

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