I can trace my love of mixology through the evolution of my standards for homemade pisco sours.
Like many Americans, I first discovered this delicious quaff on a trip to Peru. I had one every chance I could get, and picked up a bottle of acholado pisco at the duty free, along with some packets of pisco sour mix. I was told this was a way to make a decent pisco sour, especially since we can’t get the right citrus here in the US, and for a while, I believed that.
Then I decided to try to mix my own. As I documented in my very first cocktail post, I didn’t think I could get a wonderful foamy head on a pisco sour without resorting to a blender.
Now that I’m building my skills as a home bartender, I’ve discovered I can create an egg white drink with a gorgeous, foamy froth on top with just my shaker and some effort. My favorite secret is using the dry shake. Put all the ingredients in the shaker with no ice, give a vigorous shake for at least 10 seconds. Then add the ice and shake again, for as long as you can stand it. I aim for at least a minute.
The result is luscious, rich, and tastes all the better for knowing the effort I put into it. Who knows, maybe the next step in my journey is to start scorching my sours. I am definitely eying the milk whippers that all the cool bars in town are using for foaming their egg-white drinks.
For nearly a year, my standard pisco sour recipe has been 3 : 2 : 1 pisco : simple syrup : lime juice. This makes for a dangerously drinkable beverage that always seems to go down too fast. Lately I’ve been tinkering with the recipe to bring the pisco more to the forefront and up the sour. The result is a drink that I sip more slowly, and I enjoy more.
2 oz pisco (BarSol Quebranta)
1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 oz simple syrup (1:1)
1 egg white
Amargo bitters for aromatics (sub Angostura) (don’t include in shaker!)
Dry shake everything but the bitters for at least 10 seconds. Add ice and shake for 1 minute. Strain into cocktail glass and top with 1-2 drops bitters.
Peru and Chile dispute the origin of both pisco and the pisco sour. You may guess from the above where my opinion lies. Regardless of your feelings, remember that the first Saturday of February is Peru’s National Pisco Sour Day. That sounds like a damn fine reason to make a round and toast. ¡Viva Perú!