The Perfect Pisco Sour

I recently took a virtual class from a mixologist down in Peru, who highlighted the use of Pisco in drinks. Definitely the shining star of the class was the Pisco Sour, which turned out phenomenal. Thought I’d share.

Pisco

I didn’t know this before the class, but Pisco is like a Peruvian brandy. It’s made from grapes and originates from Peru, coming from 3 different regions. I’m not a huge fan of Pisco by itself; it’s a little bit harsh. I definitely do recommend tasting it as a note before mixing drinks.

The Pisco sour is an excellent and VERY alcoholic beverage. I didn’t know which Pisco to get and so we each grabbed a different bottle. Given that we’re mixing and not drinking straight, I found that the following two bottles are very affordable and mix very nice cocktails. I actually prefer the cheaper one, as did the majority of the group.

And, while it’s always best to go fresh, I love this and other sours so much that I always keep a bottle of fresh squeezed lime juice and a carton of pasteurized egg whites around for a random happy night 🙂

I also love making our own flavored simple syrups with candied garnishes for an extra special cocktail. There’s no wrong way to serve this beverage. They’re traditionally served in coupe or Nick and Nora glasses because the foam forms a nice layer across the top. I also love the look of them in a champagne glass as you get a tall cascading foam that looks beautiful.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 oz pisco
  • 1 oz key lime juice
    • Sub Note: Key Limes are the sweetest AND most sour so they work best for this beverage. You can sub 1 oz of lemon for a more tart beverage or 1.5 oz of normal lime juice.
  • 1 oz of simple syrup
    • Sub Note: You can sub a flavored simple syrup. I love blood orange or ginger.
  • 1 egg white
    • Sub Note: Use 1/2 to 1 oz if pouring from a carton of egg whites
  • Aromatic Bitters

Recipe

  1. Put 3 large ice cubes into a shaker and place the shaker in the freezer. The egg white will froth a little easier and the drink will stay sharper if the shaker is cold and the ice isn’t melty.
  2. Juice your limes and measure our your ingredients. Separate or measure your egg white.
  3. Pull the shaker from the freezer.
  4. Add the ingredients in order: pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, then egg white.
  5. Add the top to your shaker.
  6. Shake vigorously for 90 seconds! I often count to 150 hard shakes instead of setting a timer. Incidentally, such a good arm workout!
  7. Pour incrementally. Start by pouring about 1/3 of the shaken beverage into a glass, then turn the shaker upright again and swirl. Repeat this process 2-3 more times. If you don’t do this, the foam is heavy and will coat the ice and stick to the bottom. By repeatedly re-swirling remaining liquid, you’re “recapturing” the available foam for the top of the beverage.
  8. Shake 3 drops of aromatic bitters on top for look and smell.
  9. Serve!

More Info

This is actually the base for any good sour beverage. You’ve probably whipped up some egg whites before, they get fluffy when you beat them, but then collapse again. This is because air is introduced, but the protein structure of the egg can’t support itself. When you add stabilizers like an acid (a.k.a., the lime juice), the proteins can bind together for additional stability. Additionally, adding sugar brings the protein strands together, effectively acting like a stabilizing glue.

So, the bottom line is this, any beverage with an egg white foam – whiskey sour, pisco sour, corpse reviver, etc. – all contain the same base ingredients:

A booze, an acid (usually lemon or lime), sugar (usually simple syrup), and egg whites.

Everything else is just gravy or additive for flavor.

Then, shake like hell 🙂

Cheers!

It looks great in all shapes and sizes! 🙂

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