Pisco is a South American grape brandy from either Peru or Chile. In fact there is nothing Peruvians and Chileans like to argue about more than which of them invented pisco and its definitive cocktail the Pisco Sour. Actually, they like to argue about football too. Objective observers are pretty sure the Peruvians have dibs on the cocktail, at least in its best known form, with its invention by resident gringo Victor Vaughen Morris at his Lima bar somewhere between 1916 and 1924. His creation was likely just a version of the whiskey sour of his homeland but using the more available local hooch. It took a Peruvian bartender there, Mario Bruiget, to perfect the formula with the now ubiquitous (outside of Chile anyway) version with egg-white and bitters. When Morris piscoed himself to death a few years later his bartenders spread the Pisco Sour recipe far and wide. While the version I’m using here is, indeed, the Peruvian one I’m going to attempt to appease both camps by using Chilean pisco as the base, but feel free to use either kind. While it’s fairly acceptable to decorate your Pisco Sour with dots of Angostura bitters, Peruvian Amargo Chuncho bitters are the real deal. They have a rather unique fruity yet mild bitterness that I really like and I use them in many other drinks such as the Moral Turpitude (I just chose a more accessible bitters for publication). Dot a few on the firm surface of the drink and, if you are inclined, once they have spread out a little just gently drag a cocktail stick or toothpick through them to make some pretty patterns. I’m sure you can do a better job than my cack-handed attempt. It seems a shame to use delicious Chuncho as a simple decoration so I often fire a couple of dashes into the shaker as well.
2oz / 60ml pisco (I used Capel).
1oz / 30ml fresh lime juice.
0.75oz / 22ml simple syrup (1:1).
0.75oz / 22ml egg-white or aquafaba.
Shake long and hard with ice and strain into a chilled champagne coupé or a small tumbler. Wait a minute for the foamy head to develop then drop a few dots of Angostura or Amargo Chuncho bitters on top (see text).
Toast Victor and Mario.