By Paul Nelson –
One of the things you learn by making your own drinks is to keep your eyes and ears open for new concoctions. You find recipes in all sorts of places: magazines, newspapers, and online. But the best is when you actually enjoy a drink somewhere else and then figure out how to make it for yourself (at a fraction of the cost).
So it was that a decade or more ago as we slogged through our time in St. Louis for seminary, my wife and I dined in a little Peruvian restaurant. Since then, they’ve done well for themselves and moved to a nicer location, but what mattered back then was precious time alone and a little cocktail called the Pisco Sour. It sounds exotic, tastes fantastic, and will impress your friends and family with its international flair.
Pisco is a grape brandy produced in Chile and Peru. Of course, there is a rather heated debate between the two countries on which region produces the better pisco. You may have to hunt around for a place that stocks it or will order it (for a while, at least, Trader Joe’s sold it). You won’t typically find it in the liquor aisle of your local grocery store. Finding a really good liquor store is an important thing if you want to branch out from the most basic of cocktails and ingredients.
- 2 oz. pisco
- ½ oz. fresh lemon juice
- 1 oz. purified water
- 1 tbsp. sweetener (I prefer honey, simple syrup, or agave syrup)
- 1 egg white
- dash of bitters (I use Angostura)
Combine all of the ingredients except the bitters in a shaker and shake vigorously for one to two minutes. This ensures that the honey/agave syrup dissipates fully into the drink and that the egg white has time to whip up. Fill a glass with ice and pour the contents of the shaker over the ice. The egg white should create a thick foam that rests on the top of the drink. Add a dash or two of bitters to the top of the egg foam. This is a Peruvian style pisco, if that matters to you. Chilean pisco sours don’t use bitters.
Adjust the sweet and sour elements to your liking. I usually use half a lemon’s worth of juice (or a whole lemon if it’s small). The drink should be balanced between the sweet and sour flavorings, favoring the sour slightly. Enjoy!