Pisco Sour

pisco sour

In our story on La Mar Cebicheria, we mentioned the educational Pisco tasting that we enjoyed at the end of our dinner. It got us really interested in Pisco and Pisco-based cocktails (and in a trip to Peru). Try our perfect Pisco Punch recipe here.

Pisco is a type of brandy distilled from grapes, typically produced in Peru and Chile. There are many producers but we’ve found that it’s not the easiest to find in San Francisco. K&L has a limited selection located next to the other brandies, and Cask on Third Street also has a few bottles.

We worked for a week and consulted with some bartender friends to come up with two perfect Pisco cocktails – the Pisco Sour and Pisco Punch. Through our research we learned that Pisco Punch was actually invented in San Francisco.

The key to the Pisco Sour is to use fresh eggs and to “dry shake” the ingredients before adding ice. Once all the ingredients are in the shaker, shake it 5-10 seconds to emulsify the egg white.

For the “sour” part, we tried both lime juice and lemon juice, and preferred a combination of the two (half and half). We served ours in a coupe-style cocktail glasses like these, but have also seen Pisco Sours served in tall glasses like these and these.

We usually make our own simple syrup with half sugar, half water. A small copper saucepan boils the mixture really quickly. If you are buying it, we recommend Sonoma Syrup. For this recipe we use basic Angostura bitters, but it would be fun experimenting with others like these.

One tip: add the egg white to the shaker first, or crack it into a separate cup, so you don’t risk cracking a bad egg into a shaker full of good Pisco! Lately we’ve been using these small jars for little tasks like separating eggs and storing small quantities of things like lemon juice in the refrigerator.

Pisco Sour
  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for 5-10 seconds, until the mixture looks foamy.
  2. Add ice and shake again, until well chilled.
  3. Strain into glasses and top with an additional dash of bitters.


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