Best Reason to Drink this Weekend: Día Nacional del Pisco Sour
In my cocktail-obsessed world, there’s only one event worth celebrating this weekend. And it has nothing to do with a pigskin or touchdowns. This Saturday, February 2nd, it’s time to raise a glass to honor the national drink of not one, but two South American countries – the Pisco Sour- for National Pisco Sour Day.
But first, to truly appreciate National Pisco Sour Day, started in Peru in 2003 and celebrated on annually on the first Saturday of February, here’s a bit of Pisco history:
What the Pisco is it?
Like the brandy of South America, Pisco is a grape-based liquor dating back to the 16th century. As with the Scots and the Irish and the origin of whisky, it’s a hotly debated topic on where it was invented – Chile or Peru?
Chilean vs. Peruvian
Although Peru and Chile both claim the Pisco Sour as their national drink, there are subtle differences to note.
The Peruvian Pisco Sour uses Peruvian Pisco as the base liquor with lime (or lemon) juice, syrup, ice, egg white, and Angostura bitters. The Chilean version is similar, but uses Chilean Pisco, sugar instead of syrup, and doesn’t bother with the bitters.
A Pisco Sour is Born
Created in Lima, Peru by bartender Victor Vaughn Morris in the early 1920s, the Pisco Sour was a riff on the Whiskey Sour. Morris served it up in his saloon, aptly named Morris’ Bar. It wasn’t until a decade later that the Pisco Sour cocktail appeared on the American bar scene – mostly in California.
Pisco Sour Recipes
Traditional Peruvian Pisco Sour
1 ½ parts Portón pisco
½ part fresh lime juice
½ part simple syrup
¼ part egg white
1 dash of Angosutra™ bitters
Shake ingredients with ice. Strain into chilled glass. Garnish with a dash of bitters.
The Hawthorne Sour
By Brian Hawthorne, The Wayland, New York, NY
• 2 parts Portón
• 3/4 part lemon juice
• 3/4 part grapefruit juice
• 1/2 part egg white
• 3/4 part dry white wine
Add all ingredients into shaker. Dry shake (no ice) well. Add ice and shake well again before double straining into a glass. Garnish with a dash of angostura bitters.
If you’re looking to try the spirit neat, some of my favorite piscos available in the U.S. include Encanto de Campo (Peruvian), KAPPA (Chilean), Portón (Peruvian) and Gran Sierpe (peruvian).
Peru and Chile are on my list of destinations to visit this year.
Ever been to either Peru or Chile and tried home-brewed Pisco? What was it like? Would love to hear about it.
Headline photo by Entrecomillas on Vimeo, Encanto Pisco photo courtesy of EncantoFlickr and the other pisco sour photos are courtesy of Portón pisco.