Pisco Sour Cocktail
Republished Jan 22, 2022 in memory of Kumiko Umeno. RIP friend.
A wonderful way to explore a new country’s culture is through its food and drink. You can learn so much that way.
The Bahn Mi is a great example of this. This delicious sandwich from Veitnam shows tons of French influence, both in the pate that is served on the sandwich, and in the delicious, French-inspired Baugette on which it is served. The French, of course, colonized Vietnam, and so that influence shows up in their cuisine, hundreds of years later.
I recently learned a lot more about Mexican food and Tequila while I was in Mexico, and last week, I had the opportunity to attend a Pisco tasting at Chicha. Each of the Piscos we tasted were accompanied by a ceviche. If you’re a fan of cheviche, get to Chicha, as they have some really beautiful ones on the menu, and new ones soon to be added (the Chalaco was my favourite).
Chicha is a new Peruvian-inspired restaurant on Broadway (near Main), and they serve a variety of Chilean and Peruvian cuisine and drinks.
Pisco is a spirit that is made of grapes, but instead of being fermented (to make wine), they are rather distilled, like a spirit. Early in the 16th Century, wine making was banned in Chile and Peru, so the locals turned to distilling the grapes, similar to making a brandy, instead of making them into wine. The final product is 40% alcohol. Today, 90% of Pisco comes from Chile, and only 10% comes from Peru.
There are many different thoughts on where the name comes from. Some say it comes from a town in Peru (called Pisco), but “pisco” is also the word for “bird” in the Quechua language. There are also large vessels used for distilling the liquor, and those are called, not shockingly, Piscos.
However it got its name, Pisco is a spirt much like Tequila or scotch or whiskey. Folks have been dedicated to the pursuit of perfecting it for hundreds and hundreds of years, and it can be enjoyed alone or in a mixed drink. We got to sample four different ones, and by far, my favourites were Chilean ones, specifically Pisco Two: El Gobernador, and the oak-barreled and aged Alto Del Carmen (which really reminded me of a scotch, or a tequila reposado, which is why I liked it so much).
One of my favourite drinks is a Bourbon Sour, so I was stoked to try this cocktail made with Pisco. It was delicious!
- 1 egg white
- 2 1/2 ounces Pisco
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
- Angostura Bitters
In cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine all ingredients except the bitters. Cover, shake vigorously for 15 seconds (this “whips” the egg whites), and strain into a glass. Garnish with a few drops of bitters, and serve.