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Frothy, lime-y, and rather potent, pisco sours are a national favorite of both Chile and Peru. Find out what the buzz is about (perhaps getting a little buzz yourself) and try out the unique flavor of this grape brandy in this beloved South American cocktail. Rebecca, Recipe Hunter

Rebecca Small

THE RECIPE

Pisco Sour

The subject of a national cocktail custody battle.

Claimed by both Peru and Chile as a national drink, the first pisco sour originated in Lima in the early 20th century. Pisco is a grape brandy that has been made in wine producing regions of Chile and Peru for hundreds of years. Both countries call dibs on being pisco’s nation of origin, and the lively dispute about which country the spirit “belongs” to continues to this day. Chilean pisco is slightly aged, which gives it a yellow/brownish color, while the Peruvian version is not, and thus clear. Whichever nation you pledge pisco allegiance to, Greg has a classic version of the drink whose lime-y zing begs to be tried on a hot summer day. The frothiness of a pisco sour is due to shaking the cocktail ingredients with an egg white and sans ice. Then, everything is shaken again (not stirred) with ice to chill the drink. If you go Peruvian with your pisco, Greg prescribes precisely 3 drops of bitters on the fluffy, almost cloud-like topping of the drink for the classic Peruvian pisco sour.

THE CHEF

Greg Mays

Classic Cocktail Enthusiast, Teacher, and Writer

Greg Mays from Simple Cocktails

I see food and drink being deeply connected to our joy and they should be regularly enjoyed with our communities of friends and neighbors. In the company of others, food tastes better, cocktails are more delicious, and people are happier.

Greg is the classic cocktail aficionado and recipe developer at Simple Cocktails, his “place for the intimidated home bartender to shed some fear.” Through classic cocktail recipes, spirit reviews, and his own creative concoctions, Greg helps us understand that not every brand of spirit is created equal. Every spirit has its own unique flavor profile and should be used in different ways to appreciate its nuances. He breaks down the wonderful (and sometimes complicated) world of cocktails in a fun, approachable, and educational way so that all of us can become a talented mixologist from the comfort of our own home.

Head over to Simple Cocktails and say hello to Greg on Twitter and Facebook.

THE TIP

How to Mix Egg Whites in Cocktails

Using egg whites in cocktails dates back to the 19th century. An egg white can add a creamy texture to your drink but it requires a special technique.

Read the full tip >