The Pisco Sour and Pisco Punch: Peruvian and Chilean Recipes

The drink is so good, two nations claim it as their own. And, best of all, it’s simple to concoct—so get mixing!

The Pisco Sour and Pisco Punch: Peruvian and Chilean Recipes

Photos by João Canziani

As writer Tom Downey discovered in “The Grapes of Wrath,” a feature story from our March/April 2014 issue, pisco brings out the competitive spirits of Peru and Chile. But the provenance of the liquor, a brandy made from distilled wine, is not the only point of contention. Each country also claims the pisco sour as its national cocktail, complete with a legend of origin.

In Peruvian lore, an American named Victor Vaughen Morris opened a bar in Lima in 1916 and came up with a concoction of pisco, lime juice, sugar syrup, and ice. In the late 1920s, it is said, one of his Peruvian bartenders (who later moved to the Hotel Maury, sometimes cited as the drink’s birthplace) added egg whites to create the foamy drink we know today, and threw in a dash of Angostura bitters. Chilean folklorist Oreste Plath asserted that an English ship steward, Elliot Stubb, invented the pisco sour in 1872 in Iquique; other sources allege that Stubb in fact created a whiskey sour. In any case, it is Peru that celebrates Día Nacional del Pisco Sour as an official holiday on the first Saturday of February.

How to Make Peruvian Pisco Cocktails
Portón Pisco Sour
Recipe by Pisco Portón

1 ½ ounces Pisco Portón
1 ½ ounces lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup
1 egg white
Ice cubes
A dash of Bitters

1. Combine the Pisco Portón, lime Juice, simple syrup, and egg white in a cocktail shaker with several ice cubes.
2. Shake well.
3. Strain into a cocktail glass.
4. Sprinkle the bitters onto the foam.

Portón Punch
Recipe by Pisco Portón

1 fresh pineapple
8 ounces simple syrup
16 ounces distilled water
10 ounces lemon juice
1 750 ml bottle (24 oz.) of Pisco Portón
Ice cubes

1. Cut the pineapple into ½-by-1 ½–inch squares and put into a bowl of simple syrup to soak overnight.
2. In the morning, mix the water, lemon juice, and pisco in a large bowl.
3. Prior to serving, pour the punch into a large pitcher with generous amount of ice.
4. Serve 3 to 4 ounces of punch per glass, adding a square of the soaked pineapple to each.
5. More lemon juice or simple syrup may be added to taste. Serve very cold.

How to Make Chilean Pisco Cocktails

Pisco Sour

Recipe by mixologist Luis Felipe Cruz

3 ounces Pisco Waqar
1 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce lemon juice
½ egg white (optional)
several ice cubes

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker.
2. Shake well and strain into a chilled flute.

Pisco Punch
Recipe by mixologist Luis Felipe Cruz

¾ ounces pineapple marinade
2 ounces pisco
2 orange slices
3 marinated pineapple wedges
Ice cubes
Club soda

1. Muddle the orange slices and 2 pineapple slices in a cocktail shaker.
2. Add the pisco, pineapple marinade, and several ice cubes and shake well.
3. Strain into and ice-filled goblet.
4. Top with no more than 2 ounces of club soda.
5. Garnish with a pineapple wedge on the goblet rim.

Pineapple Marinade
1 ripe pineapple
30 cloves
1 quart simple syrup

1. Core and remove the rind from the pineapple.
2. Cut the pineapple into rings and then into wedges.
3. Place the pineapple wedges in a deep container.
4. Add the cloves and simple syrup, and marinate for 24 hours.

I write about the worlds of Brooklyn firemen, Yemeni jihadis, Chinese internet vigilantes, Malagasy river guides, and Barcelona private eyes—anyone whose story moves me. A year before 9/11, I began producing a television documentary and reporting a book about a group of elite rescue firemen in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. The Last Men Out: Life on the Edge at Rescue 2 Firehouse, published by Henry Holt, follows ten years in the life of their company, from the high of knocking down a wall of flames to the low of losing a brother.
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