Discovering pisco was a highlight on a wine press-trip to Chile and, rather like the pigs’ ear incident, it removed some of the horror from eating a plate of raw razor clams.
Pisco is the world’s only ‘white’ brandy as it’s seldom aged in barrels, which give brandy its brown hue. Traditionally, pisco was stored in earthenware pots buried in the ground.
Chilean pisco is usually made from distilled Muscat wines, giving it some of the grapey quality associated with that variety.
Peruvian pisco is often a distillation of a mixture of grapes including Quebranta, Italia and Torontel.
Both Chile and Peru claim pisco as their national spirit, which can get a bit tetchy, but I think Peru has a pretty good argument – what with having a city, a valley and a river all called Pisco. Chile, however, wins the cocktail-bar accessory award, with some of its piscos presented in marvellously kitsch bottles in the shape of Easter Island
- 50ml pisco
- 25ml lime juice
- 25ml lemon juice
- 25ml sugar syrup
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- Optional: half an egg white
To make a pisco sour, the most popular pisco cocktail by a country mile, pour two shots (50ml) of pisco, 25ml each of fresh lime juice and sugar syrup with three dashes of Angostura bitters into a cocktail shaker with some ice.
Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass.
The addition of half an egg white to the shaker makes a deliciously frothy version and doesn’t make the drink taste eggy at all.
Visit our cocktails section for more delicious cocktail recipes
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