Libations in Peru: Pisco Sour
The pisco sour is perhaps one of the most popular cocktails of this last year in the United States. Cozy up to the bar at almost any popular restaurant and you’re likely to find some iteration of this classic Peruvian drink. On our Peru tour, guests will learn from local cocktail masters in Lima how to craft the perfect pisco sour – just one more reason to book your tour soon – so you can show off to your friends back home. Pisco, a South American liquor, is the quintessential base for the sour. But, you may be asking yourself, what is it exactly?
Peruvian pisco is an aged brandy. While some brandies are made with grape juice aged in wood, true Peruvian pisco is aged in a metal or clay container, so that no wood flavors impart themselves. In addition, pisco is made with only one of eight varietals of grape, and only with the fruit juice from the first pressing, not with leftover “mash” like grappa and other spirits. What’s delivered is a smooth, high alcohol liquor which has taken the cocktail world by storm.
Much like tequila, which can be classified as blanco, joven oro, reposada or anejo, pisco can be classified in one of three ways; Puros, Mosto verdes or Acholados. We’ll leave it to Eater.com to further break down the intricate variations of pisco found on the market today.
“Puros are the most popular in Peru, and are made entirely from a single grape varietal…Technically, a Puro only refers to the non-aromatic grapes, while Aromaticas refers to single varietal pisco made from the aromatic grapes. To simplify though, any single varietal made from fully fermented wine may be known as a Puro, and the grape utilized will reveal itself whether or not it is aromatic.
Mosto Verdes, in contrast, are distilled when the wine is still sweet, as fermentation has not finished. This takes more grapes per liter, more work, and more time. This classification has risen in popularity as of late, from a small handful of producers to several dozen, according to Schuler.
Acholados are blends of any two or more different varietals. An Acholado may be made from two or more Puros, or two or more Mosto Verdes. Each brand may produce at most two Acholados, one made from Puros and one from Mosto Verdes.”
While Chile is known to produce its own aged brandy by the same name, Peruvians are resistant to calling it pisco and you won’t find it labeled under that name while on tour. In the United States, you may find both, but Peruvian pisco will differ from its Chilean counterpart, so be conscious when purchasing for a specific recipe, the two do taste quite different.
The Access Trips Pisco Sour
2 oz. Pisco
1 oz. sugar syrup
1 oz. Lime Juice (approx. 1.5 limes)
3 Ice cubes
1/4 egg white
2 drops bitters
Mix all ingredients, except the bitters, in a blender, puree to combine fully. Serve in a chilled glass with bitters added and a wedge of lime.