The Pisco Sour

2015, as my year-in-review stats from WordPress reminded me, was a year in which I made 4 posts. Not very good. Partly this was because as my kid has gotten a bit older, he stays up a bit later, and I’ve found that by the time he’s in bed, I don’t much have the energy for finding a recipe, making a drink, and writing about it. But mostly it’s just because I’ve been drinking old-fashioneds. Because they are the best drink. Except in summer, when I drank a lot of Pimm’s Cups.

But I think the solution to this problem is to make drinks before he goes to bed.

In that spirit, here is the Pisco Sour. Pisco is a grape brandy from Chile. I picked up a cool bottle of it in Durango over the New Year’s…uh…not weekend…The New Year’s Mid-Week. It’s shaped like an Easter Island moai (the bottle, not the New Year’s Mid-Week), so I couldn’t pass it up, and I knew there were a couple of recipes calling for pisco that I’d been passing by, not having had pisco on hand. Of course, I couldn’t find any of them once we got home, so I pulled this one from The PDT Cocktail Book, although the recipe there calls for a specific brand of pisco that I did not use. Jeff “Beachbum” Berry says use whatever. He likes the Capel brand, because it comes in a bottle shaped like a moai. Hey, I’ve got one of those.

You’ll see many different recipes for the pisco sour if you search around; some call for lemon, some for lime. I always like to go with lime whenever I’m given the choice between the two, as I find it has a more complex flavor than lemon. The PDT recipe calls for lime, too. The drink is basically a whiskey sour made with pisco, and was supposedly invented c. 1919 by an American bartender who had moved to Chile and decided to alter the whiskey sour to suit local tastes.

The Recipe:

2 oz. pisco

.75 oz. simple syrup

.75 oz. lime juice

The PDT book says shake without ice, then add ice and shake some more. This is because it also calls for an egg white. Yeah, egg whites in drinks are a thing, and if you want to get all crazy like that, go for it. It’s more or less a mouth-feel thing. I’m not going down that road, though. Keep it simple, I say. Skip the egg white and the dry shake. After you pour, into a chilled coupé (or whatever), drip four drops of the bitters of your choice into the drink and give it a very brief stir.


It looks a lot like a gimlet. It tastes a lot like one too, without the gin overtones. Pisco is sweeter than your traditional brandies, and this is certainly a sweet drink, but the flavors work very well together, and the sweetness never gets overpowering. So, well overall this is not too dissimilar from very familiar drinks like the gimlet or the daiquiri, the pisco gives it just enough of a twist to make it stand apart. It’s easy to make, easy to drink, and would make a real crowd-pleaser at your next gathering. A very strong four livers.


One thought on “The Pisco Sour

  1. Pingback: Pisco Punch | propercocktails

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