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Frosty Pisco Sour Drink Recipe

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home". She belongs to Cook's Recipe Testers for "Cook's Illustrated".

Pisco sour cocktails

Pisco sour cocktails

The Best Peruvian Pisco Sours

Pisco sour is the most popular drink in Peru. Every household thinks their recipe is the best. However, Victor's pisco sours are legendary. A perfect balance of sweet and tangy, they are rich and bright with a silky mouthfeel and foamy head.

When we finally plucked up the courage to ask Victor for his recipe, we were surprised to find his measurements simple and easy to remember. The hardest part is squeezing the lime juice, but a lime squeezer will make the job quicker and more enjoyable.

Pisco is actually grape brandy. Although some say it tastes similar to tequila, pisco has its own unique flavor. Pisco sours became popular in the United States during the Gold Rush of California, when Peruvians boasted to fellow miners about their national cocktail.

Nowadays, pisco sours have taken on a modern twist with exotic ingredients like passion fruit or Peruvian golden berries. Our favorite, though, is still Victor's traditional recipe. We hope you enjoy his pisco sours as much as we do!

pisco-sour-recipe
  • Tips & Substitutions for Perfect Pisco Sours

  • Recipe: Authentic Peruvian Pisco Sours

  • Recipe: Quick Pisco Sours

  • Ingredients & Substitutions:

  • What's a Key lime?

  • Pisco: Acholado vs. Quebranta

  • What is Jarabe de Goma (Gum or Gomme Syrup)?

  • Recipe: Homemade Gum Syrup

Tips for Perfect Pisco Sours

  • See the section "Ingredients & Substitutions" at the end of the page for information on finding ingredients and easy substitutions.
  • Use cold, refrigerated ingredients for the best results.
  • If you're concerned about the safety of a raw egg, substitute 1 Tablespoon pasteurized egg white.
  • If you have a large egg, include only part of the egg white. The egg gives pisco sour its characteristic thick and foamy head.
  • If you don't have jarabe de goma or simple syrup, substitute one Tablespoon of white sugar per ounce of pisco.
  • When juicing Key limes, be careful not to squeeze too hard so the bitter flavor of the rind doesn't transfer to the juice.
  • This recipe calls for Peruvian pisco, or grape brandy made in Peru. Chilean pisco is sweeter and lower proof, so the results will be different with Chilean pisco.
  • In a pinch, substitute grappa or tequila for the pisco.
  • If using a shaker instead of a blender, add everything but the ice cubes. Shake for 30 seconds. Add ice and shake for another 30 seconds. Serve.

Cook Time

Prep timeReady inYields

15 min

15 min

Serves 6–8

Authentic Pisco Sour Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Key lime juice, freshly squeezed*
  • 1 cup jarabe de goma*
  • 1 cup small ice cubes
  • 2 cups Peruvian pisco*
  • 1 small egg white
  • Bitters, for sprinkling
  • * Or see the "Ingredients & Substitutions" section at the end of this page

Instructions

  1. Pour all ingredients but the bitters into a blender container.
  2. Blend on high for a minute or until foamy and smooth.
  3. Pour into glasses and sprinkle with bitters. Serve and enjoy!

Quick Pisco Sour

Not necessarily authentic but still delicious, this Pisco Sour is made with ingredients easy to find in the U.S.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces frozen limeade concentrate
  • 12 ounces Pisco
  • 1 small egg white
  • 2 cups small ice cubes
  • Bitters (preferably Amargo Chuncho), for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender container.
  2. Process on high until smooth and frothy.
  3. Pour pisco sour into glasses and sprinkle with bitters.
Pisco Sours Ready to Serve

Pisco Sours Ready to Serve

pisco-sour-recipe

What's a Key Lime?

Key limes, also called Mexican limes and West Indian limes, are the most popular citrus fruit in Peru. Higher in Vitamin C, they are thinner skinned and smaller than Tahitian or Persian limes (commonly found in U.S. grocery stores).

Sometimes referred to as "bartender's limes", their tart flavor lends itself perfectly to alcoholic beverages such as Pisco sour, margarita, mojito or gin & tonic.

If you cannot find Key limes in your area, substitute freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice. There is no substitute for freshly squeezed citrus juice.

pisco-sour-recipe

Pisco: Acholado vs. Quebranta

The Quebranta variety of grapes grows along the desert coastal area of Peru and produces the pisco with the highest alcohol content. Pisco made with Quebranta grapes is non-aromatic and best appreciated in the mouth rather than the nose. Quebranta pisco has a taste profile including banana, lucuma and passion fruit with a lingering flavor of chocolate and raisins.

Acholado is a blend of piscos made of different varieties of grapes. Although Quebranta pisco is most often used in Pisco Sours, acholado pisco can also make a very nice cocktail. Sample both Acholado and Quebranta piscos to find your favorite.

What's Jarabe de Goma (Gum or Gomme Syrup)?

Although jarabe de goma costs only $2–3 in Peru, gomme or gum syrup has become both rare and expensive in the U.S. market. Interestingly, it was the sweetener of choice for bartenders of the 50's for the velvety viscosity and body it lends to classic cocktails such as the Old Fashioned.

Gum syrup also rounds out the alcoholic bite of cocktails made with pisco, making them taste fuller and richer. It has the advantage of acting as a thickener and gives drinks a light, airy texture. If you have time to plan ahead, why not try the following easy recipe for homemade gum syrup? Although you may have to invest initially in a few ingredients, you can whip up a large batch and store it in the refrigerator for several months.

If you're in a rush, though, you can substitute rich simple syrup for the gum syrup. Just boil 1 cup of water with 2 cups of sugar for a minute or until the sugar dissolves. You'll still get the sweet and tangy flavor, but the Pisco Sours won't be quite as creamy or frothy. In a pinch, you can also substitute 1 Tablespoon of white sugar for every ounce of pisco, although this is our least favorite option.

Homemade Jarabe de Goma (Gum or Gomme Syrup)

Recipe courtesy of Craft Cocktails at Home by Kevin Liu

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon gum Arabic
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon egg white powder

Instructions

  1. Heat water and sugar and stir for about a minute, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.
  2. Add gum Arabic and xanthan gum. Stir until powders dissolve.
  3. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. Stir egg white powder into the cooled mixture.
  5. Let homemade gum syrup rest for 2–3 hours, or until thickened.

Questions & Answers

Question: What is rich simple syrup?

Answer: Sweeter than basic simple syrup, rich simple syrup doubles the amount of sugar for a 2:1 ratio of granulated sugar to water. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves.

© 2013 Vespa Woolf

Comments

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 18, 2014:

PeggyW, thanks so much for the pin and all your support.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 17, 2014:

Came back to say that I will now pin this to my drink board on Pinterest. Thanks again for your recipe.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 10, 2014:

Rebeccamealey, thanks for your enthusiastic comment!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on March 10, 2014:

Oh, how yummy!!! I didn't know key limes were sometimes called Mexican Limes. Now I can say I love Mexican lime pie! Beautiful Hub!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on November 24, 2013:

Suzanne Day, pisco is also made in Chile although it originated in Peru. You may hear Chileans disagree with that statement, though. I hope you can try it sometime. Thanks!

Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on November 24, 2013:

I have never heard of Pisco until today, but it looks like quite the refreshing drink to have in the summer!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on July 04, 2013:

Carol7777, I hope you have a chance to try this Peruvian Pisco Sour drink someday! Thanks for coming by.

carol stanley from Arizona on July 04, 2013:

I am always fascinated with the many new drinks that come to view everyday. This does sound good..I love anything sour.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on June 24, 2013:

DeborahNeyens, I'm so glad you enjoyed the pisco sour! How surprising to find a Peruvian drink right smack in the Midwest. It must be a very happening new bar. : ) Thanks so much for your feedback, I really appreciate it.

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on June 24, 2013:

I meant to come back and tell you this sooner, but shortly after reading this hub I went to a new bar in town and guess what they were serving? Yes, I've now had a Pisco Sour! It was just as delicious as I thought it would be after reading this.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on June 14, 2013:

Alocsin, you always enjoy my Peruvian recipes. I hope you can try this one! Pisco sour is the national drink of Peru and has a flavor that has to be tasted to appreciate. Enjoy and thank you for the votes!

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on June 13, 2013:

I don't know where you come up with these fantastic recipes, but I should like to try this one. Voting this Up and Useful.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on June 09, 2013:

Jackie Lynnley it really is a refreshing drink and very popular in Peru. Thanks for your comment!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on June 09, 2013:

Why is my mouth watering? lol Looks great!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on June 09, 2013:

Cybershelley, Key limes are the key ingredient in this Peruvian drink recipe. I hope you can try it sometime! Thanks for coming by!

Shelley Watson on June 09, 2013:

There is something special about limes, they do so much for food and drinks. Thank you for sharing this delicious Peruvian cocktail and its substitutions.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on June 06, 2013:

JustAskSusan, I hope you can try a pisco sour someday!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on June 06, 2013:

DeborahNeyens, I hope you can try a Peruvian pisco sour someday. They're so refreshing and unique. Thank you for your meaningful comment! Have a great day.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on June 06, 2013:

I know I'd like this drink.

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on June 06, 2013:

I love learning about Peruvian food and ingredients from you. Pisco is another one I've never heard of. The cocktail sounds delicious. I love lime in drinks - margaritas and mojitos are two favorites.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on June 02, 2013:

tammyswallow, I'm glad you enjoyed this Hub! Pisco is an interesting spirit and one worth trying. Hope you can try the pisco sours someday. Thanks!

Tammy from North Carolina on June 02, 2013:

I have never hear of a Pisco before. This looks amazing! Your hub is really gorgeous. This looks like something I would really enjoy.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 31, 2013:

KoffeeKlatchGals, I'm glad you're going to try this delicious cocktail recipe from Peru. Enjoy and thanks for the comment!

Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on May 31, 2013:

Wow, what a delicious refreshing drink. I'll be trying it. I love sours. up and amazing.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 30, 2013:

anglnwu, it's always nice to know someone who appreciate Key limes. Their flavor is hard to beat! I hope you can try this pisco sour someday. Thanks for your comment.

anglnwu on May 30, 2013:

My, your presentation is award-worthy. I love it. I love key limes and I can only imagine how delicious this drink is. Great hub and shared.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 29, 2013:

DDE, pisco sour really is a delicious beverage. I hope you can try it soon!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 29, 2013:

agapsikap, thank you for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed reading about pisco sours and hope you can try them soon! They will transport you to Peru.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 29, 2013:

Wow! Incredible and refreshing indeed and sounds a wonderful idea to give it a try soon.

agapsikap from Philippines on May 28, 2013:

This one looks great. I think I should be trying this one soon. And have to drink it with eyes closed and imagine I'm in Peru. (giggling) Thank you for this. I enjoy reading it. Those borders are attractive.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 28, 2013:

AliciaC, thanks for your kind words...the borders really do dress it up. I hope you can try pisco sour sometime!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 28, 2013:

Randomcreative, thanks for your kind words. I hope you can try the pisco sour sometime. It really is unique and delicious.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 28, 2013:

Deborah-Diane, I do hope you try the pisco sour sometime. It's a fun cocktail to make for guests and really brightens up a meal. Enjoy and thanks for all your support!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 28, 2013:

Moonlake, thanks so much for the comment and votes.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 28, 2013:

Thundermama, enjoy and thank you for coming by!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 28, 2013:

rebeccamealey, we do enjoy the acholado version of pisco sour. : ) Thanks for coming by!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 28, 2013:

pinto2011, I'm sorry you don't have the ingredients in your country. You could try a citrus juice, the simple syrup and any clear liquor that's available in India. At least you'd get the general idea. : ) Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 28, 2013:

Suzie, thank you for your kind words and your continued support. Pisco sours are a well-loved drink in Peru and they are also popular in other parts of the world. I learned a lot when researching the section about jarabe de goma. It really is an important addition to the drink. I appreciate the votes, share and comment!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 27, 2013:

This drink sounds delicious, vespawoolf. Thanks for the recipe and all the details. I love the borders in this hub, too!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 27, 2013:

I've never had a Pisco sour, but I'm intrigued now! Thanks for the detailed resource. Love your photos.

Deborah-Diane from Orange County, California on May 27, 2013:

This really does sound like a refreshing summer drink. I don't know if I'll ever get to Peru, but I can at least enjoy their cocktail.

moonlake from America on May 27, 2013:

Sounds great and looks so pretty. Voted up and five stars.

Catherine Taylor from Canada on May 27, 2013:

Oh my goodness this sounds amazing. I love key lime and this drink just sounds to good to resist. Time to break out the blender.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on May 27, 2013:

Sounds like quite an interesting, and delicious drink. I'll take mine a la Alcholado!

Subhas from New Delhi, India on May 27, 2013:

Hi vespawoolf! I would surely have loved to make such a drink after going through your beautifully illustrated article but alas all the ingredients are not available in my country. Very nice and finely detailed article.

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on May 27, 2013:

Hi Vespa,

Another recipe well worth waiting for! How fascinating this was as many ingredients are totally new to me so loved this info and background. I am learning so many interesting things about Peru (my bucket list top venue) and Pisco Sour drink sounds a real summer classic to savor. I agree with sgbrown too your formatting and layout is stunning and so creative, just shows how detail matters and visually it is UP THERE. Loved this hub so much I would love to make it so will be pinning for my reference. All the votes, shared, wonderful recipe Vespa!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 27, 2013:

Chitrangada Sharan, I'm glad you enjoyed reading about this refreshing summertime cocktail. I don't know what type of lime you have in India, but I hope you have a chance to try it. Thank you for coming by!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 27, 2013:

lindacee, I'm glad you're going to try the national drink of Peru! It really is refreshing and delicious. Enjoy and thank you for taking the time to comment.

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on May 26, 2013:

Thank you for these.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on May 26, 2013:

So appropriate for a summer drink! I loved the recipe. We do take chilled lime juice but this look different. And the way you presented this hub has made it even more delicious and soothing to the eyes.

Thanks for sharing!

Linda Chechar from Arizona on May 26, 2013:

What a great summertime cocktail! Not only refreshing, but they look so tasty too! With the substitutions you provided, it should be simple to mix up a batch. Now, I have to make a stop at the liquor store to find pisco. Thanks again for another great recipe and background on this Peruvian drink!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 26, 2013:

Sgbrown, I'm glad you enjoyed this Hub. The Key lime juice really is the key--no pun intended. : ) Thanks for the vote and comment. I always appreciate your support.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on May 26, 2013:

This looks awesome! I love drinks with fresh squeezed lime and I like the idea of the "head" on this drink, cool! I also loved your formatting on this hub, very nice! Voting up, useful and interesting. :)

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 26, 2013:

rajan jolly, I'm glad you enjoyed reading about this delicious drink from Peru. How nice that you can appreciate the addition of gum syrup, too. Thank you for your meaningful comment and the votes!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 26, 2013:

This looks too delicious. Lime juice is my favorite drink during summers and the variety of ingredients add to this Pisco sour seem to not only ake it look lovelier but I can smell the flavors as well.

Nice that you included recipes for the gum syrup too.

Voted up and awesome.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 26, 2013:

PeggyW, thank you for your meaningful comment. I'm glad you found this Hub useful and hope you can one day try our Peruvian pisco sour cocktail. Enjoy and I appreciate the votes!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 26, 2013:

Although I have never had a Pisco Sour Drink, it does sound good with the key limes being one of the main ingredients. Love the formatting of your hub! Your drink recipe covers everything from "A" to "Z" and even has substitutions. UUI votes and thanks!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 26, 2013:

GlimmerTwinFan, I'm glad you like the sound of this cocktail. It really is delicious and easy to make. Enjoy! I appreciate the pin and comment.

Claudia Mitchell on May 26, 2013:

Ooohh yummy. I love sour drinks, like a whisky sour. This looks very good, especially on a hot summer day. Great pics and info for substitutions. Thanks! Pinned.