I’ve had Pisco Sours on the brain lately, probably because of the avalanche of emails that arrived last week announcing the approach of Peru’s national Pisco Sour Day, which falls on the first Saturday of February. Obviously this is not the first Saturday of February, but I’m posting a Pisco Sour nevertheless. Look out, folks. Watch as I break all the rules! Performing feats of mixological daring-do! While standing on my head!
Okay, that last part was totally a lie. But I am a loner, Dottie. A rebel.
This recipe is one that I bookmarked æons ago, back before Gourmet magazine existed only in bits and pixels. The online publication ran a retrospective of some favorite recipes from each decade of the magazine’s history, including cocktails. Naturally I went a little bookmark crazy with so much bounty to choose from, and the recipes were quickly swallowed up by the massive stockpile of bookmarks I continued to save—until I had the good sense to clean house, rediscovering some fun vintage recipes in the process.
The Pisco Sour La Fonda del Sol is one such drink. It comes from a landmark restaurant, La Fonda del Sol (Inn of the Sun), which opened in New York City in 1961. It was a largely authentic Latin American restaurant serving food and cocktails from south of the border, a rare find in the ’60s. I am generally transfixed by cocktail recipes from the ’60s and early ’70s, largely because they tend to fall into two camps: really, really good or really, really bad. Some of the best and most revered bartenders of the twentieth century were still behind the stick in 1964, when this recipe was printed, but the cultural shift away from the mixed drinks that had dominated since Prohibition and into a mixological no-man’s-land was already underway. Fortunately, the folks at La Fonda del Sol were serious about their Pisco Sours—that is, they are really, really good.
Yield: 3 small or 2 good-sized drinks
3¾ oz pisco brandy
1½ oz fresh lime juice
3 heaping teaspoons granulated sugar
2 egg whites
Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice (a two-part cobbler style works best here). Shake well, usually for about a minute, until the egg white is frothy and emulsified. Strain into three small coupes or two regular cocktail classes.
Though I occasionally find it a pain to deal with recipes that pre-batch cocktails in odd numbers like three portions, in this case it’s actually rather nice. Drinks that are shaken with egg white take a heck of a lot of shaking to make properly, so the return on your sore biceps will be greater. I particularly enjoy this recipe because it isn’t overly sweetened—the sugar rounds out the lime juice without distracting from the flavor of the pisco and adds just a bit more body to the drink. If you, like me, enjoy a few drops of bitters on top of your Pisco Sours, feel free to add them even though they aren’t in the recipe. The drink tastes lovely without them, but some Angostura or Amargo Chuncho bitters on top really make this sour sing.