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Simple Pisco Sour recipe

Simple Pisco Sour recipe

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  • Dish type
  • Drink
  • Cocktails

A popular Chilean alcoholic drink, which is quick and easy to make and refreshing. Enjoy this summer drink any time of the year.

9 people made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 475ml pisco
  • 250ml fresh lime juice
  • 1 egg white
  • 265g icing sugar
  • 2 cupfuls crushed ice
  • 16 drops aromatic bitters, such as Campari

MethodPrep:5min ›Ready in:5min

  1. Blend the pisco, lime juice, egg white, sugar and ice in a liquidiser until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour into fluted glasses and top each with 1 to 2 dashes of the aromatic bitters to serve.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(10)

Reviews in English (7)

by ChilePepper

I was born in the US, but both parents are Chileans-- this recipe is perfect! The right combo of sweet-sour with a foamy top. Most pisco sours are just "pisco margaritas", not sour and not frothy. Many people skip the egg white -- and miss out on the full effect ...-21 Dec 2009

by PDXWine

I love Pisco Sours! The first time I had one was here at a local Peruvian restaurant. Then I went to Argentina and Chile, where, as you said, these are enjoyed before meals. Great to find your recipe. Now if I had only brough more Pisco home from Chile with me (it is so much less expensive in the duty-free shop!)-09 Aug 2009

by Roberto Cabello-Argandoña

This is the best Pisco Sour recipe I have had, reminiscent of the best Chilean drinks. I have tried Pisco throughout Chile and South America, and no recipe matches the crisp taste of this mix.-08 Sep 2010

Pisco Sour

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.


Step 1

Shake 1 large egg white*, pisco, lime juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker until frothy, about 1 minute. Fill with ice shake until outside is frosty, about 30 seconds. Strain into a coupe glass. Top with Angostura bitters.

Step 2

*Raw egg is not recommended for the elderly, people with weakened immune systems. or people who don’t like raw egg.

How would you rate Joly’s Pisco Sour?

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Tía Sonia wrote the following recipe:

  • Hielo ½ Jarra (about 4 cups of ice)
  • Pisco ½ litro - (about 2 ¼ cups of pisco - wanting to live , I'll use less)
  • 6 limones (juice of 6 limes - use key lime juice if possible)
  • 2 huevos solo la clara (2 large egg whites)
  • 1 cuarto de botella (¼ bottle of jarabe de goma or simple syrup. First question. what size is the bottle? Funny how recipes are recited.
  • Amargo bitters

Seeing that it states to use a ½ liter of pisco, you must know this is a good amount for a crowd otherwise it would be a death wish.


What is a pisco?

Pisco is made by distilling fermented grape juice into a high-proof (60-100 proof) brandy that is either colorless or yellowish to amber. Its name hails from the town of the same name in Peru.

Can you drink pisco straight?

Yes, it can be drunk straight but experts prefer the aged Chilean pisco since it has a more rounded flavor and is best used as a digestif.

How is pisco different from brandy?

Pisco is a type of brandy made from distilling wine produced in the wine-producing areas in Chile and Peru. Brandy, in general, can be made from mash, juice or wine of grapes, fruits, or grape pomace. For example, cognac is a grape brandy from the Cognac region of France. Fruit brandies include the Framboise (raspberries), Kirsch (cherries), Slivovitz (plums), and Poire (pears). Grappa is a pomace brandy made in Italy and California.

What are pisco varieties?

Peru has three known varieties of pisco based on the variety of grapes and the method of distillation. The first variety is the puro which is made from one grape variety. The second variety is the acholado which is made from a blend of different kinds of grapes. The third variety is the mosto verde which is from partially fermented grapes. This is sweeter than the other varieties.

Chilean pisco, on the other hand, has three varieties that are separated by the type of aging vessels and length of aging. The youngest variety is the white which is aged for just 60 days in glass, stainless steel or ceramic vessels, or untreated wood. The second variety is the envejecido, which is aged in American and French oak barrels for 2 or more years. The de guarda is the intermediate pisco which is also aged in American and French oak barrels but for a shorter period of at least 180 days.

How many pisco brands are there?

Currently, pisco is produced in 4 countries, each with its own pisco brands. In Chile alone, there are 14 brands, the United States has 2 and Australia has one. But the most number of brands come from Peru with a total of 59 brands. However, these are only the main brands of pisco.

What is the difference between pisco from Peru and Chile?

Peruvian pisco is distilled in a copper pot still (used to distill liquid mixtures by heating to boil and then cooling to condense the vapor) and usually is distilled only once. The alcohol content is between 38-48 percent. Usual varieties are Quebranta, Mollar, Common Black, Muscat, Albilla, Italia, and Torontel. The Peruvian pisco can also be distilled in Lima, Inca, Arequipa, Moquegua, and Tacna. These are the only areas allowed by Peruvian laws to produce pisco.

Chilean pisco, on the other hand, has higher alcohol of 73 percent after the dilution since it is distilled as many times as the distiller wants. The bottled pisco can have an ABV of 30% for the Pisco Corriente or traditional pisco) and 43% ABV for the Gran Pisco. Chilean laws require the distilleries to grow their own grapes. Accepted grape varieties are Muscat, Torontel, Pedro Ximenez or Moscatel de Asturia.

The search for the perfect pisco sour

The more research I do on pisco sours, though, the more confusing things become. For one, there's the fact that Chile and Peru both claim pisco as their national spirits, and make it slightly differently. In both countries pisco is distilled from grapes—essentially, they make wine and then run it through a still (I wrote more about exactly what pisco is here). But in Chile, the pisco is often (not always) aged in oak barrels, and water can be added after distillation to bring the spirit down to 40 percent alcohol—though again, this isn't always done pisco can be bottled at anywhere from 30 to 50 percent alcohol. Peruvian pisco has to be bottled at distillation strength, and is never aged in wood.

Naturally, the pisco sours of the two countries are as distinct as the piscos themselves. Peruvian pisco sours always involve egg white and bitters Chilean ones sometimes do. There are other differences, but there's so much variation even within traditional recipes in each country that trying to dissect their idiosyncrasies is near impossible, so I'm just going to focus on Chile.

The funny thing is that the pisco sour is the simplest of cocktails: it involves pisco, lemon or lime juice, sugar, and ice. In Chile, egg white and bitters are optional. But what kind of sugar? Lemon or lime juice? Should the ice be blended, or shaken with the drink and then strained?

Let's start with the blending. I've seen blended pisco sours, but it's rare, and I'm not a fan of them. So that's an easy one: shaken, not blended. On to the sugar. For some reason, most Chileans make pisco sours with powdered sugar. I assume that's because it dissolves easily, but it also contains cornstarch, which doesn't dissolve in water, so you end up with a bit of gritty white sludge at the bottom of your glass. On my last visit to Santiago I asked a friend of a friend—an engineer who also happens to be a bartender—about this practice. Powdered sugar shouldn't be used to make cocktails, he said. That doesn't explain why none of the other bartenders in Chile seem to agree with him, but it does support my preference for making pisco sours with simple syrup instead of powdered sugar.

Another night, I tried making the two pisco sour recipes from 40 Grados. One is traditional: three ounces pisco, one ounce simple syrup, one ounce lime juice, and an egg white, shaken with ice and topped off with a few drops of Araucano bitters, which are made only in Chile. I didn't have the bitters and didn't feel like messing around with separating eggs, so I made a basic version of the recipe, substituting Control C pisco, which I had on hand, for the Los Nichols pisco called for. It's a good recipe—simple, and it resulted in a pisco sour that tasted like it should: sweet, sour, and deceptively easy to drink. Next time I might add a touch less simple syrup.

I'm not about to stop making regular pisco sours, but the merquen version is better than I expected—and I'm excited about trying the syrup with other cocktails. If you want to make your own version but can't find merquen, try using a combination of smoked paprika and crushed red pepper.

Pisco Sour Cocktail

A simple sour cocktail, the pisco sour is a fantastic way to discover the wonders of the South American brandy. This is an iconic cocktail and one of the most popular drinks in Peru and Chile, where pisco is typically produced. You'll find it to be very refreshing, an absolute delight to drink, and, with that first sip, you'll learn exactly what all the buzz is about!

Pisco is an unaged brandy made from specific grape varietals, depending on the style of pisco. Among those, pisco puro and pisco acholado are most often poured into the pisco sour.

Beyond the spirit of choice, the pisco sour is a classically styled sour drink. It includes either lemon or lime juice and simple syrup for sweet and sour notes that you can adjust to taste. The egg white gives it an inviting foamy top with none of the eggy flavor. The bitters finish it off beautifully while adorning the foam with brown drops you can have fun styling (think latte art, by swirling the colored foam with a toothpick).

What Is Pisco?

Pisco is a lightly colored South American spirit produced in the winemaking regions of Peru and Chile. Essentially a brandy distilled from wine, Pisco can vary widely based on its source and is similar to Grappa in my opinion.

In sampling Peruvian Pisco (Barsol Primero Quebranta), it offers a distinctive aroma of wine while the initial taste delivers a slight bite. Afterward, I picked up savory flavors like lime and grass which remind me of tequila. I’m not sure I’d drink it straight up, but I’m sure I’d get used to it.

Peruvian vs. Chilean

A source of national pride for each country, Pisco and the Pisco Sour are both claimed by both Peru and Chile as their own. Dating back to the 16th century when the Spanish settled the region, it’s no wonder there’s some confusion around the origin of Pisco // But to stir it up even more, the Pisco Sour is the National Cocktail of both countries and each has its own legend surrounding its origins.

Frankly, I’m not going to get into the middle of that debate. But if Peru and Chile hold this cocktail in such high esteem, you should give it a shot.

What is Pisco?

Latin America is known for its sugar cane alcohol, mostly rum and then aguardiente. And then for its wine in Chile and Argentina.

But pisco is neither and it is actually a brandy made from grapes in Peru. Pisco is usually colourless or a pale yellow if it is Chilean pisco, which is aged in barrels.

It is a great in so many cocktails, whether elaborate like the pisco sour recipe or simple like the chilcano.

Pisco isn’t an alcohol native to Peru, the Spanish colonists created it in the mid 1700s as they realized they could distill Peruvian grapes.

The Spanish were already producing orujo in Spain, a brandy made from what remained of the grape after making wine. So pisco was an easy transition.

The Spanish called it aguardiente de pisco because they wanted locals to understand it was like aguardiente, but not made from sugarcane.

Today pisco is as serious to Peruvians as Spanish wine.

There are official Denomination of Origin departments. And to be called pisco it must be made in one of the 5 official regions and only in specific areas of those regions.

This isn’t a cheap spirit. It is produced similarly to single malt Scottish whisky. In fact the good stuff is quite expensive if you know the right brands.

Today pisco is quite popular as Peruvian food is the new hot cuisine, with everyone making Peruvian ceviche.

But back in 2011 when I landed in Peru I had never heard of pisco. And that is strange because Peru exports half its pisco, with more demand coming from Europe and the United States.

I guess Canadians just haven’t caught on yet?

But I soon learned how important it was, eventually going on to work in a hostel bar, which was one of my best travel jobs.

Recipes: Pisco Sour and more

Note: To make simple syrup, combine 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan over high heat, gently simmering until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and cool completely refrigerate in a tightly sealed jar for up to two weeks. Pisco Sour formulas can subtly vary -- more or less lime juice, pisco, simple syrup or egg white -- depending upon the bartender. "Like the Bloody Mary in this country, everyone thinks his or her [Pisco Sour] recipe is the best," writes Dale DeGroff in "The Craft of the Cocktail" (Clarkson Potter, $35). "Including me." From pisco importer Jeffrey Phillips.

• 1/8 c. (1 oz.) freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 1/8 c. (1 oz.) simple syrup (see Note)

• 1/8 c. (1 oz.) pasteurized egg white

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine pisco, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white, and shake for 10 seconds. Strain into a glass, crown with bitters and serve.

This pisco-based margarita is the top-selling cocktail at Cuidad, the Los Angeles restaurant owned by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, the Food Network's "Too Hot Tamales."

• 1/8 c. (1 oz.) orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau)

• 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Rub edge of glass with lime slice and dip edge of glass in margarita (or kosher) salt. In a blender, combine pisco, orange liqueur, lemon juice and ice and blend at high speed until smooth. Pour into prepared glass, garnish with lime slice and serve.

Note: This recipe must be made in advance. Pineapple-infused pisco and grapefruit- and lime-infused simple syrup add contemporary flavor notes to this classic punch, first concocted in late 19th-century San Francisco. "It was [writer] Jack London's favorite drink," said author Dale DeGroff. From Bon Appetit magazine.

• 1 large pineapple (about 4 lb.), peeled and cut into 1-in. pieces

• 1 1/2 tsp. freshly grated lime peel

• 1 1/2 tsp. freshly grated white grapefruit peel

• 2/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice

• Pineapple leaves for garnish (optional)

Place pineapple pieces in a large glass jar or bowl. Pour pisco over pineapple, cover and refrigerate for 3 days, shaking occasionally. Divide simple syrup between 2 small bowls, mixing grated lime peel into 1 bowl and grated grapefruit peel into other bowl cover and refrigerate both bowls overnight.

When ready to serve, strain pisco into a glass pitcher (discarding pineapple). Strain both syrups into pisco (discarding peel). Add lemon juice and stir to blend. Fill 12 small glasses with ice and punch, garnish with pineapple leaves (if desired) and serve.

Note: Cointreau is an orange liqueur. From "The Art of the Bar" by Jeff Hollinger and Rob Schwartz (Chronicle Books, $24.95).

• 5 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs

• 1 fig, quartered, plus extra quarter for garnish

• 1 tbsp. ( 1/2 oz.) thyme syrup

• 1 tbsp. ( 1/2 oz.) Cointreau (see Note)

• 1 tbsp. ( 1/2 oz.) freshly squeezed lime juice

• Fresh thyme sprig for garnish

To make thyme syrup: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, water and thyme. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and gently simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. Strain syrup through a fine-mesh sieve (discarding thyme) and into a tightly sealed glass bottle syrup can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

To make cocktail: In a cocktail shaker, muddle quartered fig with thyme syrup. Top with ice, add pisco, Cointreau and lime juice and shake 10 seconds. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a tall cocktail glass, garnish with fig quarter and thyme sprig and serve.

From "The South American Table" by Maria Baez Kijac (Harvard Common Press, $21.95).

• 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 4 lemon slices for garnish

In a glass pitcher, combine ginger ale, pisco, lemon juice and bitters. Pour in tall glasses filled with ice, garnish with lemon slices and serve.


  1. Keaghan

    I think you are not right. I can prove it. Write in PM.

  2. Aviel

    Bravo, as a sentence ..., brilliant idea

  3. Cleveland

    is there another way out?

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