The Pisco Sour is the national drink of both Peru and Chile and who makes the better cocktail is fiercely debated within both countries. In Chile, the drink isn’t blended, but shaken, lacks egg whites, and is served in a flute. Chilean Pisco is also sweeter. Sit them side by side and you’ll see that they are completely different drinks. Many Pisco Sour recipes list lemon juice instead of lime. This is just confusion in translation. Both Lime and lemon in Spanish is limón, which sounds a lot like lemon. However, in either Chile or Peru I’ve never seen a Pisco Sour made with lemon (though I have in the U.S.). There are many variations to the pisco sour that replace lime with passionfruit, chicha morada, coconut, tumbo, and camu camu.
For a strong Pisco sour, the best recipe is the 3-2-1: 3 parts Pisco, 1.5-2 parts lime juice, and 1 part jarabe/simple syrup. Two of these will knock you on your ass. The typical pisco sour is 2-2-1 and the recipe below (for one glass) reflects that method. Most recipes in Peru call for a non-aromatic pisco, like those from the Qiebranta grape.
-2 ounces Peruvian Pisco (1/4 cup)
-Juice of 1 lime (key limes are similar in flavor to the Piuran limes used in Peru)
-2 tablespoons simple syrup (in Spanish, Jarabe de Goma)
-1 tablespoon pasteurized egg white
-1/4 cup ice
– Amargo Bitters (can be substituted with Angostura bitters)
1.) In a blender, combine the lime juice with the syrup and mix to dissolve the sugar.
2.) Add the pisco and ice and blend at high speed for ten seconds.
3.) Add the egg white and blend until frothy.
4.) Pour into a sour glass, add a few drops of bitters and serve.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.