The Pisco Sour, consisting of pisco (Peruvian or Chilean grape brandy, typically unaged), lemon or lime juice, simple syrup, eggwhite, and bitters, is the national drink of Peru. Unlike many such cocktails of this period, it does have traceable origins. The original recipe is credited to American-born bartender Victor Morris, who moved to Peru in the early twentieth century with intentions to work on the railroads, but somehow got sidetracked into opening his own namesake bar in Lima instead. He ran the Morris Bar from 1916 to 1929. According to pisco historian Guillermo L. Toro-Lima, Morris published his recipe in a 1924 Lima cookbook that contained no eggwhite or bitters and was
based on the Whiskey Sour.
The eggwhite came into play some time in the late 1920s and was likely originated on the Peruvian luxury hotel circuit by a Morris protege. The eggwhite version became the default recipe in the 1950s, often gussied up with artful swirls of bitters atop the fluffy white clouds in the glass. Toro-Lima suggests it was restaurateur Joe Baum who popularized the Pisco Sour in New York City in 1960, when he featured it on the opening menu of La Fonda del Sol as the “Pisco Sawyer,” and a few years later when Braniff Airways served it on its South American-bound flights.
In 2007, sometime after modern cocktailians globally embraced the Pisco Sour and helped expand its appreciation, the National Institute of Culture of Peru officially declared the first Saturday in February as World Pisco Sour Day. This day not only celebrates the cocktail but boosts the reputation of Peruvian pisco, spotlighting its quality and complexities. The festival naturally includes its own cocktail
competition with classics and twists.
Origin: Lima, Peru
Inventor: Victor Morris
Premises: Morris Bar
Alcohol Type: Pisco
60 ml (2 oz) pisco
22 ml (3/4 oz) fresh lime or lemon juice (or a mix of both)
22 ml (3/4 oz) simple syrup
1 eggwhite (or aquafaba)
Shake all ingredients except the bitters with ice (some prefer to dry shake for a few seconds
without the eggwhite for extra froth, then add it with the ice to finish) until frothy and well chilled, at least 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Carefully place 3 dots of the bitters atop the egg white foam. Using a toothpick or cocktail pick, swirl them into the foam (optional, but encouraged).
Extracted from the book Signature Cocktails by Amanda Schuster published by Phaidon.