Beth Nervig

Summertime Drink: Pisco Sour

Whenever I’m feeling nostalgic for my time studying abroad I reach for a Pisco Sour (pronounced pee-sco, not pis-sco), which is the national drink of Peru. I spent a summer living and volunteering in the mountains of Cusco, Peru, and my host family frequently served pisco sours. They are light, limey, and strong. If you’re looking for a new summer party drink, I suggest you give these tasty South American sippers a try.

You may notice that my image varies greatly from the first image from BHG.com, and that’s because I made the strictly traditional version that uses egg whites (which form the frothy top section). Normally, I would also use Angostura bitters on top as well, but since I didn’t have that on hand I added a touch of cinnamon just like my host mom used to do. If you’re squeamish about adding egg whites to your cocktail, go with the BHG.com Pisco Sour that substitutes guava nectar for a tropical twist.

My favorite thing about Pisco Sours is that they make a great party drink. I prepare mine in a blender, but I tried it in a cocktail shaker and that works great, too. One thing to note about pisco sours is that they are deceptively strong. When I make them for a party, I serve them in tumblers, but I’ve also served them in juice glasses which seems to be the favorite size of party guests who want to have a couple drinks.

Pisco is actually the name of the liquor which is like a grape brandy with the strength of high-proof vodka. You can find pisco at most larger liquor stores in the specialty section. My bottle on the bottom left is a leftover from a recent trip back to Peru, but most brands that you find in the US are similar and retail for about $15. If you do go the traditional route and choose to use egg whites, you’ll want to also use a simple syrup. I happened to have a bottle of simple syrup, but it is sooo easy to make your own. It’s simply 1 part sugar to 1 part water. Bring to a boil on the stove and stir just until the sugar is dissolved; then cool.

So what are you waiting for?! Go find some pisco at your local liquor store, and say hello to your new favorite summer drink.

Get the guava nectar version of the Pisco Sour.

Traditional Peruvian Pisco Sour

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pisco
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 ounces simple syrup
  • 2 ounces lime juice
  • Angostura bitters

In a blender or cocktail shaker, combine pisco, egg whites, simple syrup and lime juice. Blend on high or shake vigorously. Pour into cocktail shaker over ice, and strain into tumbler or juice glasses. Mixture will be frothy but will separate after a few minutes. Top the foam with a few drops of Angostura bitters (or cinnamon). Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.