Eating and drinking local cuisine is one of my favourite ways to discover. But doing it with locals is best, this time in Lima I learned a great pisco sour recipe.
I didn’t know anyone in Lima and was a bit lonely so I looked on couchsurfing to see if they had any events. But I was in luck as local couchsurfers offered to show visitors how to make pisco sours on the weekend.
I have so many great memories of magical nights that started with aguardiente and other drinks in Colombia. Now it was time for Peru!
But pisco sour in Peru is a different experience. Pisco is not a shot in a salsa club, but something to enjoy with friends. And my first taste of pisco sour was with new Peruvian friends and other travelers.
I met up with some people from Couchsurfing who offered to take a group travelers on a free day tour, and maybe I’d learn some local Peruvian slang?
Who passes up a local tour?
After a few hours of seeing downtown Lima we decided to go back to their house and try our hand at making pisco sours. After all, it is known as one of the best cocktails around the world.
Table of Contents
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?
Who Invented the Pisco Sour?
This is one of the greatest debates between Peru and Chile, with both claiming they invented the pisco sour recipe.
However, outside both countries it is widely believed that American Victor Morris invented the pisco sour. An expat in Lima, Peru he worked as a bartender and created this Peruvian cocktail in the 1920s.
The Chilean pisco sour is very similar but has noticeable differences. It uses Chilean pisco and pica lime but it does not use egg white or Angostura bitters.
If you’re not in Peru it’s easy to find pisco at home, and if you need a reason the first Saturday in February is National Pisco Sour Day.
How to Make a Simple Syrup
Simple syrup is so….simple. It’s not worth buying and takes only a minute with ingredients you already have at home.
Over medium-low heat put equal parts of water and white sugar into a saucepan and stir. Once the sugar has dissolved into the water remove from the heat and let cool.
Peruvian Pisco Sour Recipe
Who would have thought just weeks after learning the classic pisco sour recipe I’d be working at a hostel bar in Cusco slinging maracuya pisco sours to travelers freaking out about having a life changing Machu Picchu experience…spoiler, it doesn’t exist
- 3 oz Pisco
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 1 egg white
- 2-3 drops Angostura bitters
- dash of cinnamon
- Put all ingredients into a shaker with ice and mix.
- Strain into a cup.
- Garnish with Agnostura bitters and a dash of cinnamon.
Some people prefer a sweeter cocktail and add a bit of simple syrup.
I've included Jarabe de Goma in the recommended products section as it's a common one in Peru.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1 Amount Per Serving: Calories: 414Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 57mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 0gSugar: 13gProtein: 4g
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although BaconisMagic.ca attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.