The Delectable Pisco Sour

2 Apr

While visiting South America last month, I enjoyed a couple of Pisco Sours and decided that I would start making them when I got home. Yesterday was the perfect unseasonably hot spring day in which to serve them up, so off I went to BevMo to pick up some Pisco Puro.

Pisco is a strong, clear brandy distilled from “pisco” grapes. It originated over 400 years ago in the Pisco Valley of Peru, where wine grapes were first brought to the land during the Spanish conquest. Due to the ideal growing conditions, a healthy wine-producing industry developed. So healthy, in fact, that the imports from Peru began to threaten Spain’s own wine production, leading King Felipe II to place a ban on the trade of Peruvian wine. Consequently, Peruvian growers began distilling and exporting this grape-based liquor.

During the Gold Rush, merchant ships plied the waters between California and Peru, bringing Pisco to the thirsty souls who inhabited San Francisco. The owner of the Bank Exchange Saloon, Duncan Nicol, is said to have developed the popular Pisco Punch, and travelers such as Mark Twain and Rudyard Kipling lauded the drink.

Patrons enjoying Pisco cocktails at the Bank Exchange Saloon in 1891.

In 1889 Rudyard Kipling immortalized Pisco Punch writing that it “is compounded of the shavings of cherub’s wings, the glory of a tropical dawn, the red clouds of sunset and the fragments of lost epics by dead masters.”

I looked at several recipes for Pisco Sour and used this one to create our tasty late afternoon cocktails. I used Pisco Puro by Don Cesar, and our Vitamix blender on high speed, which does a great job with icy blended drinks. This recipe says it is for two drinks, but it actually made slightly over 4 champagne flutes full. I’d say it’s a recipe for four.


  • 4 cups ice cubes
  • 1 cup Pisco Puro
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • A good dash of aromatic bitters

Place ice cubes, pisco, lemon juice, sugar, egg white, and bitters in the bowl of a blender. Blend on high speed until finely pureed. Pour into two glasses and garnish with an additional dash of bitters.



One Response to “The Delectable Pisco Sour”

  1. Chandra April 5, 2011 at 1:06 am #

    delish! a must try for me!!

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