Pisco Sour, the national drink of Lima.
It’s hard to think of a more ubiquitous city–drink pairing than Lima and the Pisco Sour.
The traditional Peruvian Pisco Sour combines Peruvian Pisco, lime juice, egg whites, simple syrup, bitters, and ice. In a bizarre twist, bartenders across Lima mix their signature renditions in a blender and not by hand in a martini shaker. We can’t say we condone their behaviour, but we can’t say it stopped us from drinking our fair share either.
You can sip on a Pisco Sour at just about every corner bar in Lima. But if you’re looking for a true cocktail bar experience, these five spots are for you.
1. Bar Inglés at the Country Club Lima Hotel
The one to write your grandma about; she probably has a great story about her visit
Blame all the Great Gatsby ads circulating Lima, but we couldn’t resist a trip to Bar Inglés at the Country Club Lima Hotel.
Bar Inglés is steeped in Pisco Sour history and lore. The Pisco Sour was invented just down the road by American ex-pat Victor Morris. After Morris lost his good health, good bartenders, and ultimately his bar and Pisco Sour Empire, the competition took over. Today, Hotel Lima Country Club and Hotel Bolivar are the accredited sources for the classic Pisco Sour.
On top of a truly tasty Pisco Sour, Bar Inglés has everything you could want in an 90-year-old bar. Dark wood, leather chairs, tuxedo clad barmen, and high-end booze abound. Free canapés flow like The Great Depression never happened.
The Country Club Lima Hotel Los Eucaliptos 590 | San Isidro
Tel (51-1) 611-9000
The one to impress your scenester friends
Ayahuasca is the biggest thing happening in the wee-hours of the Lima night. They don’t open before 8 most nights, and don’t even think about going before 11. Housed in a 19th century home—the Berninzon Mansion—Ayahuasca is as much of a hallucinogenic trip as its namesake drug.
Each room of the two-story mansion has its own weird and wonderful motif. One has a mammoth wall of antique jars filled with spools of yarn, one has a gigantic hanging mobile made of urethane-coated board shorts, one has couches turned on end to become luxurious thrones for one.
The drinks are tasty and showy, but definitely take a backseat to all the sights and sounds around you. We started at one of the many bars hoping to chat with a bartender, but quickly realized that isn’t the thing to do (too many orders, too many blenders whirring) and moved on to various indoor and outdoor lounge seats.
Rally your new Limano friends and get ye to Ayahuasca for a night of debauchery you’re just as likely to remember as forget.
Ayahuasca Av. San Martin 130 | Barranco
The one to plan your weekend around
Stacked on top of Restaurante Brujas de Cachiche, Huaringas is a little hard to find and doesn’t open until 8 pm. But it’s worth skipping happy hour to spend a full evening at this Pisco bar. Bar Huaringas gets credit for bringing Pisco infusions to the forefront of the Lima bar scene. Their maracuya (passion fruit) Pisco Sour is just dreamy. If you’ve recently returned from the Sacred Valley and are missing life in the Andes, the coca leaf infused Brujo Sour could cure what ails ya.
The walls are adorned with super-cool Peruvian art. The food looks tasty, although for once in our lives we abstained from sampling any.
Don’t tell our BFF neighbourhood Barranco, but of all the cocktail bars we visited, this Miraflores spot is the one we’d probably frequent most often if we lived in Lima.
Huaringas Calle Bolognesi 472 | Miraflores
Tel (51-1) 4675210
4. La Rosa Náutica
The one for Sunday Funday
There’s something very (very, very) satisfying about sipping a Pisco Sour to the sounds of the Pacific. La Rosa Náutica serves traditional Pisco Sours just meters from where surfers in wetsuits tackle some of Lima’s biggest waves.
The bar sits at the end of a pier next to its sister restaurant (make sure you get the right door!). The dining room resembles what I imagine the Conservatory in the game Clue to look like, all windows and tile. Plush seats are grouped in twos and threes with soul-satisfying ocean views at every turn. You might hear such great Peruvian classics as Elvis and Jimmy Buffett.
If you’re in the mood to day drink, this is the Pisco Sour for you.
La Rosa Náutica Espigon 4 Circuito de Playas | Miraflores
Tel (51-1) 4450149
5. Central Restaurante
The one that mixes Pisco Sour using good ol’ fashion manpower
Central certainly doesn’t self-identify as a cocktail bar (you might not even be able to visit the bar without a reservation). But on top of being one of Lima’s leading fine dining establishments, they have a very nice pre-dinner cocktail lounge that serves an expertly crafted Pisco Sour. This is an extra Godsend to dorks like us who dare show up early to an 8 o’clock reservation.
The kitchen, sommelier, and tasting menu deserve a post of their own. We had to include Central on this list as the only Lima bar we found that serves Pisco Sour shaken, not blended. That fact alone just might be worth the cost of entry.
Central Restaurante Calle Santa Isabel 376 | Miraflores
Tel (51-1) 242-8515
Inspired to make your own? Head on over to our Pisco Sour recipe.