A bartender twisting a citrus rind over a glass filled with a pisco sour cocktail which is amber in color and frothy from egg on top.

Mastering the Art of Pisco Sour: A Step-by-Step Guide with Key Ingredients and Techniques

Pisco Sour is a popular South American cocktail made with pisco (a type of brandy), lemon or lime juice, simple syrup, egg white, and bitters. It’s a tangy and frothy drink, perfect for sipping on a hot day or as an aperitif before a meal. Mastering the Art of Pisco Sour is pretty easy because the ingredients are straight forward and the technique is simple!

The History of the Pisco Sour

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The Pisco Sour is a classic cocktail that originated in Peru in the early 1900s. It was created by American bartender Victor Vaughen Morris, who moved to Lima, Peru and opened a bar called Morris’ Bar in 1916.

Morris, who was familiar with making sour-style cocktails, used pisco, a type of brandy made in Peru and Chile, as the base spirit for his version of the classic sour cocktail. He added fresh lime juice, sugar syrup, and egg white to create a creamy, frothy texture, and a few drops of bitters for added depth of flavor.

The Pisco Sour gained global recognition as South American cuisine and cocktail culture began to gain popularity around the world. Today, it is considered one of the signature cocktails of Peru and is enjoyed by bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts around the world.

Lima, Peru - Antigua Taberna Queirolo Restaurant and Bar, and Old Fashioned Tavern in the Pueblo Nuovo Neighborhood. It's a dark salmon color with pavers in front of it and an awning that is closed. There are iron bars on the windows. This is a typical Peruvian bar much like the one where the cocktail was first introduced could have looked like.
Lima, Peru – Antigua Taberna Queirolo Restaurant and Bar, and Old Fashioned Tavern in the Pueblo Nuovo Neighborhood.

What to Serve With This Super Fun Cocktail

Peruvian dishes like ceviche, Lomo Saltado (stir-fried beef and vegetables), and Causas Rellenas (stuffed mashed potatoes). These dishes have a mix of bold flavors and spices that complement the tangy, slightly sweet and sour taste of the Pisco Sour.

Lomo Saltado is one of our favorite meals, and we often serve it when we have guests over. It’s an unexpected pairing of tender, stir fried beef, onions, and tomatoes that sits on top of french fries and white rice. When I first heard of the dish I thought it was a crazy mix, but it works beautifully, and it’s a hit every time! We use Guy Fieri’s recipe!

A photo of Peruvian Lomo Saltado. Stir fried steak with large french fries, red onions, and tomatoes.
Peruvian Lomo Saltado with a Pisco Sour

I’ve also served a Pisco Sour with Ribeye Steak Tacos (which are the most popular recipe on the blog). They’re simple to make and the cocktail is a fantastic change to a simple margarita.

How to Make a Classic Pisco Sour

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz pisco
  • 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • Dash of Angostura bitters

Instructions:

  1. In a shaker filled with ice, combine the pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white.
  2. Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds.
  3. Strain the mixture into a chilled glass (this is key).
  4. Add a few drops of Angostura bitters on top and garnish with a lime wedge.
  5. Enjoy your Pisco Sour cocktail!
A photo of two pisco sour cocktails which are pale yellow with egg white foam on top and a lime wedge.

Offering Mocktails to Guests

It’s always a great idea to offer a mocktail version of a cocktail you’re serving at the party. Sometimes a guest may not want to partake in drinking alcohol. This To make a mocktail version of Pisco Sour, simply omit the pisco and use a non-alcoholic substitute such as sparkling water, ginger ale, or ginger beer.

Mastering the Art of the Mocktail Pisco Sour Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz. lemon or lime juice
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • Ice cubes
  • Sparkling water or ginger ale
  • Bitters (optional)
  • Lemon or lime slice for garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a shaker, combine lemon or lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white.
  2. Add ice cubes and shake until well mixed and frothy (about 15-20 seconds).
  3. Strain mixture into a glass filled with ice cubes.
  4. Top with sparkling water or ginger ale.
  5. Add a few drops of bitters, if desired.
  6. Stir gently to mix.
  7. Garnish with a slice of lemon or lime

Making a classic cocktail doesn’t have to be hard. Just a few ingredients, a little technique, and you’re set to go!

Cheers,

JJ

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