It is no secret that Joe and my number 1, favorite travel activity is drinking cocktails! Our top activity when we visit a new place is sample their local cuisine and local alcohol. In our past year of traveling, we’ve had the joy of getting to try out some really tasty cocktails. And the best news about all of these? They’re really easy to make at home! This is perfect because it is no news that I am not a professional chef, but have been really wanting to embellish our at-home date nights with some handmade cocktails…voilà! So, here begins the start of a little series I’ll be doing with ongoing posts about our favorite drinks from around the world! First up: The Pisco Sour from Chile.
Earlier this year, we visited Torres del Paine National Park in the Patagonian Region of Chile. It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip and we loved every minute of it. We would spend the duration of our days on excursions—hikes, glacier cruises, horseback riding—and then we would spend our nights parked at the bar in awe of the master bartender on staff and the elaborate creations he would muster.
Some of these cocktails were way outside the box: I mean, natural sticks lit on fire, beer brewed with glacier water, and so much more! But one of the most understated and traditional drinks he served was the pisco sour. And you know what? I think it was my favorite!
Chile and Peru often fight over the claim to the pisco sour. I don’t think there’s a definitive answer to which country actually created the beverage for the first time, but I’m sure glad someone did! The clear liquor is native to the area, but can be found in most liquor stores in the U.S. Pisco is distilled from grapes and if I had to describe the taste, I think I would say it tastes a little bit like the lovechild between vodka and brandy!
The pisco sour uses only a handful of ingredients to create its sour/sweet flavor and frothy texture.
Start with lime juice. I like to use freshly squeezed lime juice from two limes as the base in my shaker. I then add simple syrup to balance out the sourness of the limes with a little sweet and then I add in the pisco. Now, the not-so-secret-but-super-important ingredient: egg whites. Yes, it sounds crazy, but the addition of the egg whites is really important in creating the frothy texture of the drink.
Don’t worry, I know what you’re thinking: no, you won’t taste them and no, salmonella really won’t be an issue. The volume of egg whites is too small, the alcohol and lime tends to neutralize the egg, and most chickens are actually vaccinated against the virus these days. The more you know, right?!
Once those ingredients are in your shaker, cover and shake vigorously. And when I say vigorously, I mean your arms need to feel like you’ve gone through an hour-long boxing class by shaking so hard! 😉 This hard work is key to create the really pretty frothy head on your drink.
After that, add in the ice and shake hard one more time. Once done there, you’ll want to use a Hawthorne strainer to pour and make sure no ice makes it into your drink. Let the cocktail sit for a few seconds and then add in a few splashes of bitters to add a nice aroma.
Tip: I like to make one drink per shaker. All of the froth comes at the very end of the pour, so if you try and half the mix, you’ll have one drink that’s a little less smooth than the other!
And there you go, the perfect international cocktail to enjoy together 🙂
Pisco Sour Recipe
(Makes 1 drink)
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2 tbsp egg white
- 1 oz simple syrup
- 1/2 cup crushed ice
- 2 oz pisco
- Splash of bitters
- Mix all ingredients except ice together vigorously in a shaker
- Mix again vigorously with ice
- Pour into champagne flute and strain with Hawthorne strainer to keep ice out of the glass
- Add a splash of bitters
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