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the pisco sour March 22, 2007

Filed under: cocktails,drink of the week — liquorandlibations @ 6:51 pm

For a touch of South American flavour, try out a pisco sour. During a year spent in Chile and Peru I discovered pisco sours were the beverage of choice, and a point of national pride for both countries…a source of some controversy. Pisco is a liquor distilled from grapes, a type of brandy or aquardiente that is light in colour and high in alcohol content. It has become easier to find in Canada – lucky us – with most government run liquor stores carrying the Chilean brand, Pisco Capel.

2 ounces Pisco
Juice from 1 lime or lemon
1 tsp sugar or ¼ ounce simple syrup

1 dash Angostura bitters
Peruvian option: 1/2 egg white

Shake well with ice and serve in a cocktail glass, garnished with the beaten
egg white and bitters. Be careful though, Pisco packs a punch!

For an easier, slightly lowbrow alternative have a pisco and canada. This is the drink on the street in coastal Chile and is pure and simple – pisco and canada dry gingerale. This is more or less the cultural equivalent of a rum and coke, but slightly more dangerous (as you may discover). Enjoy!


9 Responses to “the pisco sour”

  1. sean mccabe Says:

    Chilean Pisco, isn’t this stuff the bottom of the barrel!!!
    Peruvian is the original and best for pisco sour.

  2. liquorandlibations Says:

    ahh, the dispute continues…Peru does have a stronger historical claim, I will give you that. The word pisco has Quechua roots, and the liquor was first produced in Peru in the 17th century by the Spanish. However both countries began growing the grapes and making liquor during their time under Spanish rule. Plus, Chile currently produces 10 times more Pisco than Peru.

    That said, good Peruvian Pisco can be better than Chilean (the Chilean can be a bit sweeter), but what it comes down to when you are not in either of these countries is consistent quality and access. Chile has more product and an established export market, while economic and political turmoil in Peru have resulted in lack of reliable supply.

    So I conclude that if you can find a good Peruvian pisco – go for it! Otherwise, the Chilean brands are easier to find, have a high consistent quality, and really…are still quite tasty.

  3. Ana Says:

    It is true what you said about access to Peruvian Pisco. I have gone to many liquor stores in Vancouver and could not find any Peruvian Pisco, but I could find Chilean Pisco. However, I can not buy it because once you tried the Peruvian Pisco sour, you can not compare it to the Chilean one. The process of producing Peruvian Pisco and Chilean Pisco are different, and the way of preparing pisco sour is different too. As a result, the taste can not be the same. I just prepare the Peruvian one with Peruvian Pisco whenever my family comes to visit me and bring with them a bottle of Peruvian Pisco.

  4. Herbie Says:

    I have to say, looking through the bloggosphere for Pisco Sours online and finding that alot have the use of Chilean Pisco is something very odd…in laymans terms, without getting into the whole Peru v Chile thing…think of this little fact.

    In Peru Pisco distillers use on avg 5.5 kilos of grapes to make one 750ml bottle of Pisco, in Chile its less than three kilos…what do ou think makes up the rest of that distilate? You guessed it, either pure alcohol or water…

    Its not really even a debate, its a knowledge thing. Once people try Pisco from Peru, debate is over.

  5. Andrew Says:

    Pisco Capel is a rip off. But try the Chileans Mistral and Artesandos del Coshiguz (or something like that) and will make any Peruvian version to taste like pis… ;o)


    Please tell me where to find the liquor,, make THE PISCO SOUR

    i leave in ny or Westchester think you to send me many stores adresses …

  7. Flipmode Says:

    Pisco liquor is originary from Pisco which is a city in Peru 🙂

  8. Cecilia Says:

    Aw shucks, I was really hoping to find Peruvian Pisco in Vancouver but it seems like only Chilean is available. I’ll try it but I just came back from Peru with a nice bottle and am sad to see it almost all gone 😦

    Btw, in Lima, Pisco with Ginger Ale (or maybe it’s 7up, not sure) and lime is called a Chilcano. This is my new favourite mix drink. I’ll have to try it with the Chilean Pisco, I guess. Can’t we rise up and demand Peruvian Pisco? Who’s with me?!

  9. Kim Says:

    Yes, Peruvian Pisco is much better (and I have been to Pisco, Peru as well 🙂
    Here in Vancouver, I have only found CHilean. I did find a recipe that came pretty close using the Chilean.
    Asked in BCLC but same answer as given above, difficult to get from suppliers. Noticed a new brand from |Chile in BCLC, might try it; just hate being disappointed!! maybe my neighbour will be going back soon, they still have family and don’t drink alcohol.

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