Pisco is unaged grape brandy from Peru or Chile with a robust earthy-grapey flavor. It is surprisingly versatile in cocktails, but most often you’ll see it in the two classics, the Pisco Punch and Pisco Sour.
The Pisco Sour, merely a pisco version of a Whiskey Sour, was invented around 1915 in Peru by an American bar owner named Victor Morris. In Peru they use lime juice but in America lemon juice is common. Either one works.
The Classic Pisco Sour
1.5 fl. oz. Pisco
1 fl. oz. Simple Syrup
.75 fl. oz. Fresh Lemon or Lime Juice
1 Egg White
3-4 Drops Angostura Bitters
Vigorously shake in an ice-filled cocktail shaker all ingredients except for the bitters. Pour into a cocktail or juice glass and dash bitters on top of the foam.
The egg white is there to add texture to the drink, not flavor. Sometimes egg white drinks can smell a little, well, eggy, but the bitters on top of the drink help hide it (and make it look pretty as well). For the same reason, I prefer my Pisco Sours in narrower mouthed glasses like juice glass as opposed to giant, wide v-shaped cocktail glasses.
Below is a simple spin-off of the Pisco Sour, substituting rose water for bitters. (I bet orange flower water would also work.) The drink comes from bartender Duane Fernandez Jr. of Acme in New York City.
By Duane Fernandez Jr.
1.5 fl. oz. Pisco Portón
.5 fl. oz. Fresh Lime Juice
.5 fl. oz. Simple Syrup
3 Dashes Rose Water
Shake all ingredients except rose water vigorously with ice. Pour into cocktail glass, garnish with 3 dashes of rose water and rose petals.