Many hotels in Peru greet arriving guests with a cold, refreshing pisco sour. The drink is a source of considerable national pride—indeed, since 2003, Peru has celebrated the first Saturday in February as national Pisco Sour Day. Its key ingredient is pisco, an aromatic brandy made in Peru, Chile and Bolivia that was first introduced by the Spanish in the 15th century. The production of pisco in Peru is strictly regulated and comes in four grades, the highest being “Pisco Fur,” which is made from a single variety of grape and never blended.
There has been a great revival of interest in pisco; connoisseurs enjoy sampling varietals and sipping it straight. Much as with the cocktail revival here at home, the pisco sour has been subject to all sorts of experimentation and variation by bartenders throughout Peru. A great way to start a conversation in any drinking establishment is to ask the bartender to name his or her favorite pisco, and favorite variation on the classic sour. Which, of course, you will then be obliged to try. We can particularly recommend the pisco sour flavored with passion fruit juice at the Hotel Rio Sagrado in the Sacred Valley.
Pisco Sour Recipe
2 oz. pisco brandy
1 oz. lime juice
1 tsp. fine sugar
1 egg white (if you have concerns
about using raw egg, use an equivalent amount of pasteurized egg white, which can be found in many stores)
Mix all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously, then strain into an Old-Fashioned glass. Garnish with three dashes of Angostura bitters. Serves one.
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