I’ve always been intrigued by the well-known South American drink known as the Pisco Sour. In fact, I’m wondering what took me so long to finally try it.
With spring well on the way, I decided it was time. So I went to my favorite booze monger and asked for a bottle. What he sold me is called Capel, which is from Chile. Chilean piscos are supposedly sweeter than Peruvian piscos. So adjustments must be made in the recipes.
If I’d actually read about what Pisco is, I probably wouldn’t have bothered trying it. Or, at least, I would have asked my blogger friend Sally from Bewitching Kitchen about Pisco, since she’s from South America. But I wasn’t smart enough to do that. I’m very impulsive, really.
If I’d googled Pisco, I would have learned that it’s distilled from wine made from specific grapes, originally those inferior in quality. It then becomes a very strong brandy. Grappa is a common substitute for Pisco. Have you ever tried grappa? I felt obliged once to try it after it was given to us at an Italian restaurant, and I thought my head would explode. And that was from one sip.
So being obliged to also try Pisco by itself, just to check out the flavor so I can share the information, I tried one sip. It was probably half a teaspoon. I could have lit my whole head on fire. Well, next time I’ll do a little research first. But I was still determined to try a pisco sour, my version with the addition of fresh grapefruit juice. It sounded good in theory.
If you check on Bar None Drinks, you can find two different versions of a pisco sour. One is pisco along with lime juice and sugar, which is very similar to a margarita. The other is the same thing but with egg white included, and sometimes with a dash of bitters. I liked the egg white idea, so I came up with the following recipe.
Keep in mind that I’ve admitted before that as much as I like cocktails, I don’t like them strong, and I’m a terrible bartender. My husband enjoys my mixology experiments, because he gets to drink all of my mistakes.
Also keep in mind that some of the photos show a very pink drink, and others a more yellow version. That’s because my first round was terribly bitter to me (not my husband) and so I added Grenadine to the second batch. I preferred the sweeter, pinker version. Here it is.
Grapefruited Pisco Sour
Makes 2 drinks
2 small grapefruits
4 ounces Capel Pisco, chilled
2 ounces sweetened lime juice*
1 ounce Grenadine, Amarena cherry juice, or juice from the pictured Maraschino cherry jar
1 egg white
Juice the two grapefruits.
Measure 6 ounces and place the juice in a blender jar. Add the the remaining ingredients.
Blend until smooth and foamy.
Pour into two glasses and serve.
The above photo shows how pink the drink is with the added grenadine.
The above drinks are without the grenadine.
I served the drinks with skewered Luxardo cherries, Italian maraschino cherries that are like candy they’re so good.
I was surprised at how fast the liquid and foam separated. The drink is definitely prettier blended.
* I used sweetened lime juice in place of lime juice and simple syrup
verdict: I have mixed feelings about this drink. Although it was legally spring on the day I made these, it was cold. Perhaps if the weather had been warmer they would have been more refreshing and appreciated by myself. I actually just finished skyping with my London daughter minutes ago, and she’s had pisco sours (of course) and she never thought they were strong at all. And she’s more of a wine drinker like myself. So I might keep experimenting. If you like drinking rubbing alcohol, this stuff is for you!
HA! Would you believe that pisco sour was a favorite drink of my first husband? He was very fond of pisco and also used to make “Cafe’ Inca” – a beverage with hot coffee and pisco plus a few spices, I think. I don’t remember exactly, but it was very good on a cold evening
I used to like it, but I think the last time I had any type of Pisco drink was over 25 years ago
It has a very unique flavor, and I suppose it might be an acquired taste for most people, first encounter never the best
I confess I am more of a “caipirinha girl” – that to me is perfect, on a Summer day
It’s maybe an acquired taste, like forcing yourself to learn to love rubbing alcohol!
he, he, he…. there’s some truth to that! ;-)
This is lovely… and you have me inspired/intrigued to give it a try! I had a boss who drinks Grappa like it’s water… and I have to say that I tried it a couple of times after a business meal. When I say tried… I mean sip. And like you… I thought my head would explode…in fact, I think that the second time it really did! I told him that he might as well head over to the gas station and fill up a gas tank and drink that…because gas is truly the equivalent..
I have to go out shopping for Easter this morning, so I’m thinking that I might head to the liquor store for Pisco… or… maybe being the chicken that I am… substitute it for vodka or something!! :-)
You sound so much like me when it comes to booze!
I have a SA friend who makes this. She has to have a very specific type of lime. I like that you use grapefruit… yum yum.
Except that it really was too tart for me!
This is beautiful, Mimi. I’m glad that you do these mixology experiments. I let the bartenders do it for me. I’ve had Piscos in Chile and in Peru. I like the Peruvian pisco sour better, but I find them all to be just a little too sweet. However, I go with my girlfriends to get them here in in NYC to commemorate our trip to the Andes :) Great post. It’s cool to know what’s actually in a pisco.
It was all very interesting to me, but I’ll stick to gin and tonics from now on…
I tried my first pisco sour a couple of weeks ago so was very intrigued by your post. Friends had just brought a bottle home from a South American trip and introduced me to the drink – which reminded me a little of a margerita. Now I’m so curious about tasting the liquor by itself. Such an interesting post – thank you!
Thank you! It’s pretty!
Oh wow, what a gorgeous drink. I love it!! Happy Easter to you and yours.
Thank you Suzanne!
These look lovely, Mimi. It’s cocktail season, for sure!
I’ve never heard of these before, which is pretty bad considering I’m a Spanish major, but I am tempted to now. They sound great for the warmer weather.
Hahaha! Well you’d have to be South American!
What a fantastic looking drink!
It was pretty!
We had our B&B owner in Santiago maker pisco sour for us, it was refreshing… But I still prefer other cocktails… like a Pimms cup. Well done for trying this at home! Yours looks every bit as elegant. And…. I guess you now have a whole bottle to experiment with? ;-)
Let’s just say the bottle is still sitting there…
I think they look beautiful. I think its refreshing when people post things that don’t necessarily turn out exactly as imagined. (I am probably like your husband…I would have downed them regardless…) :)
Hahaha! It was interesting, to say the least!
Grappa has the same on me as it did on you! I do like the flavors of this drink, they’re nicely balanced:)
I’ll stick with wine!!!!
I see most of your comments are from 2014 Mimi. Have you managed to empty the bottle yet or is it still sitting there?
I was attending a Spanish Language class a few years ago (probably 2014!!) and the tutor made Pisco Sours for the class. Because we were all driving afterwards we only got a mouthful. I don’t have a great memory of it but I think I liked it! :))
Actually the posting of this was an accident. I’d accidentally hit the trash button, and I guess when you “restore” it reposts! And no, the bottle is still sitting there. Since 2014 we’ve actually been to South America, and had real ones, and no, I still didn’t like them Just too alcoholic for me!
Well, what a happy accident! This sounds really refreshing and my shoulder surgeon just gave me a bag of the sweetest pink grapefruit!
Mmmmmm, how nice! Well I wouldn’t call it refreshing, if you read my notes. I’ve since been to South America and had a variety of Pisco Sours, and none of them were liked by me. So my husband had extra!