Chile and Peru bicker fiercely over the Pisco Sour’s origin (and that of pisco, too), but by most accounts, the drink’s genesis is tied to a United States citizen. Expat bartender Victor Morris is believed to have concocted the frothy, smooth cocktail at his Lima bar around 1915 or perhaps the early 1920s. Blending pisco, lime juice, egg white and Angostura bitters, the Pisco Sour is earthy, sweet and tart—a cocktail worth fighting over.
Pisco is a grape-distilled spirit that was first made in the 16th century. Piscos vary in style and grape variety, with different expressions ranging in flavor from dry and earthy to floral and fruity. The Pisco Sour doesn’t call for a particular pisco, so enterprising drinkers can experiment to find which they prefer.
Spirit, citrus, sugar and egg white are the core ingredients in a good sour, including the popular Whiskey Sour. But one small difference that’s become emblematic of the Pisco Sour is its inclusion of Angostura bitters. The aromatic bitters, which are usually applied as a garnish, add color and fragrance to the cocktail. Those bitters sit on the drink’s fluffy head, a trait achieved by dry-shaking the cocktail. That means shaking it first without ice to incorporate the liquid ingredients with the egg white before shaking it again with ice to provide chill and dilution.
The result is a delicious cocktail with a silky mouthfeel that can provide refreshment whether you’re hiking in the Andes or drinking on the beach.
Click Play to See This Pisco Sour Come Together
2 ounces pisco
1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1 egg white
Garnish: Angostura bitters
Add pisco, lime juice, simple syrup and egg white into a shaker and dry-shake (without ice) vigorously.
Add ice and shake again until well-chilled.
Strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass. (Alternatively, you can strain it into a rocks glass over fresh ice.)
Garnish with 3 to 5 drops of Angostura bitters. Using a straw, toothpick or similar implement, swirl the bitters into a simple design, if desired.
Raw Egg Warning
Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.