Just in time for summer, here at Pisco Aficionado, we must instruct you on the most basic of Pisco drinks for your summer repertoire. If your looking for history on the Pisco Sour go here. In this post we will discuss how to actually make this elusive cocktail. I say elusive, because everywhere I go I see a Pisco Sour on the menu. I’m excited to taste it and to my surprise (although at this point I shouldn’t be surprised) it is too bitter (and I don’t mean because of the Angostura) and sour. It is simply not pleasant to drink and there is no balance of flavors- Ick!
I love seeing all the recipes available online for pisco cocktails but here’s the catch, most people don’t have fancy ingredients at home or the abilities of a highly awarded bartender. Below is the recipe I learned for a pisco sour when I was 15 years old. I wasn’t drinking them at that age, I was making them for my aunts and my grandma when she came to visit. Who taught me at such a young age you ask? My aunt, Tia Marta, whom is a strong female entrepreneur and one of my role models. She resides in Lunahuana, Peru and is proprietor of the Embassy Hoteles on the riverfront.
When she’s making Pisco Sours, she stands in front of a blender (yes, blender) and throws ingredients in and without fail will produce the perfect pisco sour. No recipe, no measuring, she just goes by what she feels when she’s holding the ingredients. I still cannot do that! So for most normal people here is the recipe:
Grab a bottle of your favorite pisco.
You will need a standard blender, a shot glass, 2 or 3 limes, a cup of ice, one egg, cinnamon,and simple syrup.
First, you will need to make your own simple syrup, find out how here. It’s really easy and you can use it in any cocktail recipe instead of weird sweeteners, artificial sweeteners or expensive syrups. In fact, I literally use this for everything, even my coffee in the morning – the taste is so much better. If you haven’t noticed I haven’t listed Angostura Bitters as one of the ingredients. Although this is now fairly easy to purchase at your local grocery store, it’s somewhat of a fancy ingredient and once you purchase it who knows when you’ll use it again. Instead, I, and my Tia Marta, use Cinnamon to top off our Pisco Sour – but more on that later.
side note: Let me explain to you why this is a no fuss pisco sour. People in Peru just want a pisco sour, it doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t have to have crazy ingredients, they make them with ingredients they find around the house and that’s what makes it accessible to all.
In the blender drop in some ice, I usually start with half a cup and then add more to taste. Then add three shots of pisco and one shot of syrup. Add one shot of lime juice (lemon or lime you ask!?) and blend for 30 seconds. Then separate the egg white and add that to the blender and blend for 30 more seconds. Pour into any glass or if you want to get fancy pour it into an Old Fashioned. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of the white frothy goodness and your set!
A few tips:
Lime – when squeezing the limes make sure you squeeze with the lime looking down at the glass or the receptacle that your squeezing into. You do not want your lime juice to run down and touch the lime skin/peel. This is because the skin of the lime has lots of essential oils that are bitter and sour and will ruin the taste of your pisco sour. I suspect that this is what most bartenders are doing and that is why Pisco Sours in the U.S. are just not the same as in Peru. Also, NEVER EVER drop your lime after it’s been squeezed into your cocktail. Again, this is because of the skin. The lime’s skin is your enemy, remember that! This isn’t a Corona.
Egg White: Don’t be scared, you won’t get salmonella! The egg white is what gives the pisco sour it’s true consistency. This is also why a blender is best (and more accessible) then a shaker. Unless you know what you’re doing, I wouldn’t recommend using egg whites and a shaker to make your cocktail, if you don’t shake it well enough you will get chunks o egg whites just floating and that is definitely not pleasant!
If all else fails remember this:
3 pisco: 1 simple syrup: 1 Lime
Keep this combination and then play with it to taste and you’ll find a pisco sour that is enjoyable to your taste buds.
You want to make your pisco sour even better, add some Conchitas a la Paremesana (Parmesan Scallops) and you’ll be in heaven!