The Pisco Sour got its start in Lima in the 1920s. Like 99% of all things in Peru, an alternate origin story gives credit to Chile. But the frothy egg white Pisco Sour loved the world over is 100% Peruvian.
Pisco is a clear 38-48% ABV brandy grown and distilled around Ica, Peru.
Fun fact: producing 1 litre of wine takes 1.5 kg of grapes; 1 litre of Pisco requires 6–8 kg
The word Pisco comes from pishku, Quechua for bird. In the 16th century Colonial growers began exporting their brandy back to Spain from the Port of Pisco, and the name stuck. The town of Pisco was all but leveled in a 2007 earthquake, and the region has yet to fully recover. We visited some Pisco producers whose vineyards resemble those in Napa Valley, but the surrounding terrain is much more desert-like.
There are two main types of Peruvian Pisco: Pisco Puro (non-aromatic Pisco made from common black grapes) and Pisco Aromatico (from Italia grapes). Pisco Aromatico is more enjoyable to drink neat, while Pisco Puro was made for the Pisco Sour.
Enough history, let’s drink.
Peruvian Pisco Sour Recipe
- 4 oz Pisco
- 1 ounce lime juice (key lime or Peruvian limon if you have them)
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 1 ounce egg white
1. In order, combine Pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white in a cocktail shaker.
2. Fill shaker to the top with ice.
3. Shake vigorously (for not a breath short of 20 seconds)
4. Strain into an old fashion glass; top with three shakes Angostura bitters
5. Serve immediately
If you’re in Lima and want to sample a real deal Pisco Sour, check out our five favourite Pisco Sour bars.