How To Make An Authentic Peruvian Pisco Sour

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Peruvian Pisco Sour is an elegant and delicious cocktail that combines 5 simple ingredients. Known as the national drink of Peru, this iconic and beloved drink even has its own national holiday; the first Saturday in February.

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What is Peruvian Pisco Sour?

Pisco Sour Lima by Authentic Food Quest for Peruvian Pisco Sour Recipe
Having Pisco sour in Lima

As the name suggests, Pisco, a clear grape brandy is the main ingredient in the Pisco Sour cocktail.

This Peruvian cocktail uses Peruvian Pisco as the base liquor and the addition of lime juice, syrup, ice, egg white, and Angostura bitters. 

Pisco Sours are delicious and easy to drink. The sweet and tart flavors are complementary making the cocktail quite refreshing. 

Be warned though, the alcohol level in a Pisco Sour can be quite strong, starting at about 40%. You want to watch how many you drink as they can knock you off your feet.

Discovering Peruvian Pisco Sour the National Drink of Peru

Claire and Rosemary at Pisco Festival in Lima Peru for Peruvian Pisco Sour
Claire and Rosemary at a Pisco Festival in Lima, Peru

Pisco sour cocktails are ubiquitous in Peru. This cocktail is a popular option at happy hour.

As you walk down the streets, you’ll be tempted by happy hour menus. Discounted prices for Peruvian pisco sour or cocktails with pisco abound.

Our first experience with Peruvian pisco sours was in Cusco, our port of entry. Not surprisingly, we had our first cocktails while exploring the historic capital of the Inca Empire.

Just before arriving in Cusco, we had spent time in Chile exploring the local flavors. The Chilean Pisco Sour is also considered Chile’s national cocktail and we were curious to taste the differences.

 As Pisco sour novices the differences were not immediately noticeable. Smooth, and tasty, we enjoyed the zesty and refreshing flavors. 

Both Peru and Chile claim the Pisco Sour as their national drink. While similar, there are notable differences. 

In Chile, Pisco Sour is made with Chilean Pisco, lime juice, sugar instead of syrup, and excludes Angostura Bitters and egg whites. 

Peruvian Pisco is used in Peru, as well as lime juice, simple syrup, ice, egg white, and Angostura bitters. 

Regardless of where it was invented or by whom, this cocktail remains a classic and one that should be experienced.

READ MORE: Chilean Pisco Sour – How to Make it at Home

Origins and History of Peruvian Pisco Sour

Pisco Sour in Lima by Authentic Food Quest for Peruvian Pisco Sour Recipe
Delicious Pisco Sour’s in Lima

Peruvian Pisco Sour originated in Lima, Peru. It was invented in the early 1920s by American, Victor Vaughen Morris. 

A bartender working in Cerro de Pasco, a city in central Peru, he opened Morris Bar in Lima in 1916. 

It quickly became a popular spot for Peruvian upper class and English speaking foreigners. 

The Peruvian Pisco Sour cocktail underwent several changes over the years. Mario Bruiget, a Peruvian bartender working at Morris Bar is credited for creating the modern Pisco Sour recipe.  

In the latter 1920s, Bruiget altered the recipe by adding Angostura bitters and egg whites, creating the famous cocktail.

Peruvian Pisco Cocktails

Peruvian Drinks by Authentic Food Quest
Chilcanos, the other popular Peruvian Pisco based cocktail

While the Pisco Sour remains the most popular Pisco cocktail, we were excited to discover the Chilcano in Lima.

The Chilcano, another Pisco cocktail, is a refreshing beverage you’ll find easily in Peru. 

Like the Pisco Sour, the Chilcano also uses Peruvian Pisco as the base liquor.

Chilcano’s are not as strong as Pisco Sours and are made with the addition of lime juice, ginger ale, ice and Angostura bitters.

There are many variations of Chilanos. Many use exotic fruits like maracuya or lucuma, perfect for those who like cocktails with a sweeter profile.

READ MORE: 10 Unique Peruvian Drinks To Help You Have a More Local Experience

How To Make A Peruvian Pisco Sour At Home

In Lima, Peru, we shared an Airbnb with Patricia, a local, in the foodie neighborhood of Lince.

Her boyfriend, Enrique, a self-proclaimed Pisco Sour connoisseur taught us how to make Peruvian Pisco Sour one Friday evening.

Before dinner, Enrique laid out the five simple ingredients and we got to work.

Peruvian Pisco Sour Ingredients

Pisco Sour Ingredients by Authentic Food Quest for Peruvian Pisco Sour Recipe
The five simple Peruvian Pisco Sour ingredients

Best Pisco For Pisco Sour

Best Pisco for Pisco Sour Recipe by Authentic Food Quest
Creating the perfect Peruvian Pisco Sour

While in Lima, we visited one of the oldest Pisco wineries distilleries in the  town of Lunahuana.

On a tour with the owner, we learned about the four main types of Peruvian Pisco.

To make this iconic Peruvian cocktail, Pisco, exclusively from one type of grape varietal is preferred. The most popular is the Quebranta grape varietal. This grape is considered a non-aromatic variety making it perfect for the Pisco cocktail.

Pisco made purely from Quebranta grapes is Puro or Pisco Puro, meaning from one grape variety. This Pervian pisco is intense and complex, and one of the strongest Pisco varietals.

Where to Buy Pisco in The US

Pisco Italia att Bodega Rivadeneyra Pisco Winery in Peru by AuthenticFoodQuest
Pisco Verde Italia

Walk into any supermarket in Peru and you’ll find an impressively large range of pisco varieties. Unfortunately, this is not the case in the United States. Despite the growing popularity of Pisco and Pisco Sours, the brands available are limited.

Some of the most popular Pisco brands you’ll find in the US are Peruvian Macchu Pisco, BarSol and Caravedo. From Chile, Capel and Alto del Carmen are widely available.

Depending on where you live in the country, you can visit Total Wine & More, Binny’s Beverage Depot or BevMo. Alternatively, look for Pisco at the local liquor stores in your area.

Step by Step Pisco Sour Recipe

Making an authentic Peruvian Pisco Sour is incredibly easy. With Enrique’s guidance, the first step was to separate the egg white from the yolk.

Then place one egg white into a blender and mix it with ice. 
The Pisco Sour recipe has 6 part Pisco, 2 part simple syrup, 2 part lime juice, ice all blended together.

Once blended together, pour into four cocktail glasses.

Top the foam on each glass with 3 drops of Angostura Bitters. This indispensable cocktail fixture gets rid of the egg taste and brings forward the Pisco Sour flavors.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: For a great accompaniment to your Peruvian Pisco cocktail, enjoy our delicious authentic Mexican guacamole recipe.

Pisco Sour Lima by Authentic Food Quest for Peruvian Pisco Sour Recipe

Peruvian Pisco Sour Recipe

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

This easy Peruvian Pisco Sour recipe calls for only 5 ingredients and a blender. To make this  magical cocktail, simply blend Pisco, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, egg white and Angostura bitters.

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces (180 ml) of Peruvian Pisco
  • 2 ounces (60ml) of simple syrup, Peruvian jarabe de goma
  • 2 ounces (60ml) of lime juice
  • Ice to blend
  • 1 egg white
  • Angostura Bitters for garnish

Instructions

    1. Separate the egg white from the yolk
    2. Place egg white and ice into a blender and mix until frothy
    3. Add Pisco, simple syrup, lime juice into the blender and mix well
    4. Add ice to blender and mix until smooth
    5. Serve into 4 glasses with a ½ inch (~1.5cm) layer of foam on each glass
    6. Garnish with 3 drops of Angostura bitters in each glass
    7. Serve immediately

Notes

Notes: For the tastiest Peruvian Pisco Sour, keep the ingredients as simple as possible. Use real egg whites instead of pasteurized liquid egg whites. Make freshly squeezed lime juice and do not use lime juice from concentrate. 

If you don’t want to use a blender, you can also make this Peruvian Pisco Sour cocktail using a cocktail shaker.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 416Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 16mgCarbohydrates: 77gFiber: 0gSugar: 76gProtein: 1g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information is generated by an online API and makes calculations based on serving sizes. These figures are only estimates and results may vary.

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76 comments

  1. My husband’s from Chile, so the conversation with his Peruvian friends always ends up in friendly banter about whose country this drink originated in. It’s frothy and so delicious!

    Reply
  2. My husband’s from Chile, so the conversation with his Peruvian friends always ends up in friendly banter about whose country this drink originated in. It’s frothy and so delicious!

    Reply
  3. Your site is unbeatable if I need to find a cocktail recipe, and this recipe is not an exception. It seems something new to give a try! I will make it for sure. 🙂

    Reply
  4. I could not have imagined that you need eggs for making Peruvian Pisco Sour!! Pretty interesting to learn the process and to visit a bodega. It is such a refreshing cocktail, isn’t it.

    Reply
    • Indeed Medha, a delicious cocktail with a fascinating history. The egg is one of the elements that distinguishes it from a Chilean Pisco Sour. The taste differences are subtle and enjoyable in either country. If you haven’t tried one, we highly recommend it. You’ll be delighted. Cheers!

      Reply
  5. You ladies are speaking my love-language right now. haha. I LOVE Pisco Sours and I loved having them in Peru. I didn’t even think doing this kind of your. I love it! I’ll have to absolutely look this up when I get back to Peru. Until then, I’ll use your recipe to get my fix 😉

    Reply
    • Awesome, Paige. We are indeed Pisco Sour fans, especially in Peru. The next time you are back in Peru, it’s worth visiting the distillery. So much history and fascinating process. Be sure to brush up on your Spanish though. Thanks for stopping by and virtual Pisco Sour toast to you 🙂

      Reply
  6. I have fond memories of going to Pisco on my 1st wedding anniversary, and trying a Pisco Sour in the “home region” I love that you went to a Pisco winery. I worked in the spirits industry for many years, and It is great to see there is a process, regional differences, quality and traditions associated to distilling Pisco and award-winning products! Great post!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much Dorene. So glad this article took you back favorably down memory lane. It was our first experience at a Pisco distillery and it was fascinating. A great drink and a fascinating Peruvian history. Thanks for stopping by, Cheers!

      Reply
  7. This post is indeed a tour de force on the National drink of Peru. The history and origins of the Pisco Sour make for some fascinating reading. I liked the part about the distillation process and how the drink finally finds its way into sparkling glasses. I had read about Pisco Sour earlier but had a lot of questions about it, but this post answers all my queries. Very informative and interesting post.

    Reply
  8. I don’t think I have ever had a Pisco Sour and now I want one.. I am about to go meet a client for a drink and I am going to beg the bartender to try and make one. The egg will probably prevent me from getting it but if not here, when I get home!!

    Reply
  9. Pardon my ignorance but I really hadn’t heard of The Pisco Sour before! 😐 WOW! A Pisco Sour day is celebrated! Wow! Such an interesting story behind the drink and it is interesting to see how two countries are trying to claim it 😀 So nice that you got to visit a winery and take the tour!The place looks stunning! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful local experience with your readers! I learnt something new today!

    Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed the article and learning about Pisco Sour. It is the national drink of Peru and it is quite revered. No worries about not knowing about it before. Now that you do, the next time you eat at a Peruvian restaurant, don’t hesitate to ask for a Pisco Sour. Cheers!

      Reply
  10. Yes, Peru is all about food and drinks! I’ve learned that already on my flight to Lima when the ladies sitting next to me recommended nothing but food – no museums, no Machu Picchu, nope, just food. And having a nice Pisco Sour for an aperitif or one or two after a good meal is certainly a nice treat. At the Hotel Bolivar in Lima they serve you a large one and call it a ‘cathedral’ – I got very religious there…

    Reply
  11. I have to admit, I never even heard of Pisco Sours and now after reading this I want to try it! Very informative post and I love the way you have written this.

    Reply
  12. Wow! You are dedicated!

    I have not been to that part of the world yet, but I must say, it is high on my list. It looks delicious, and the process looks fascinating.

    Just awesome. I am not sure how many you tried, but that sounds like one hell of an alternative pub crawl.

    Reply
    • Peru is an incredible country to visit and the food and drinks are divine. If it’s high on your list, definitively recommend. The Pisco Sours are everywhere and you don’t need to look to far to try them. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  13. Such a great experience! Thanks for sharing this informative post! It’s really nice to know how this delicious authentic Peruvian Pisco Sour came from and how it is made. I can say a really nice place to visit.

    Reply
  14. Just discovered your blog and love the concept. This post is particularly fascinating and the accompanying photos made me feel like I was there! Makes me want to visit Peru ASAP!

    Reply
  15. A fascinating post I must say, motivates me to visit Peru and taste this wonderful drink. Appreciate the way in which you have detailed the entire distillation process.

    Reply
  16. I love pisco sours!! But I didn’t know the history or that Chile specializes in the drink as well. Thank you for sharing! I know what ill be doing on Feb 6th 😀

    Reply
    • Agree…the food and drink of a place are important to understand the culture and locals. The Pisco Sour is really good…do watch out though it’s easy to drink and quite strong. Try one out at a Peruvian restaurant near you…you will not be disappointed. Cheers!

      Reply
  17. The bodega looks fascinating. Loved to see how it’s been produced and valued as national cocktail. And oh, the good thing it everyone can easily do it at home. Cheers!

    Reply
    • Hi Jessica, thanks for your comments. Yes, the bodega was a lot of fun. It was our first time seeing the production process of Pisco and we learned a lot. It is a very popular cocktail with it’s own national holiday coming up in February. Cheers!!

      Reply
  18. This is a totally new thing for me. Never had heard about the Pisco Sour! You have really given a beautiful narration of your quest to find the ways how Pisco is made…the simple recipe…and everything…loved the way you have narrated your experience too….

    Reply
    • Thanks so much Bilna for your comments. Glad that you enjoyed the story telling and narration approach for the Pisco Sour. If you have never heard about it, try it out at a Peruvian restaurant near you. This cocktail is delicious and one that should be experienced. Let us know what you think of it after you’ve tried it:) Cheers!!

      Reply

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