The Pisco Sour, no discussion about Peru would be complete without mentioning this frothy, sour, and sweet cocktail. The origins have been debated many times (example) of whether it originated in Peru or Chile, however it seems that Peru has claimed both Pisco and the aforementioned Pisco Sour as its own.
Using Pisco, a Peruvian un-aged brandy similar to Grappa, as the base spirit, a Pisco Sour also includes fresh lime juice, simple syrup (or gomme), and egg white to make this cocktail. The ratios of these items tend to vary depending on where you happen to order this one from, although there is typically a full ounce of the syrup, Peruvians like things sweet. The drink typically uses a non-aromatic, pure Pisco (Pisco Puro) as the spirit in order to make the Pisco stand out. A more balanced and aromatic variety would be easily covered up by the sourness of the limes and sweetness of the sugar.
Speaking with Peruvians the key to this drink, which makes it so unique to Peru, is the Peruvian limes. These limes really do have a great mix of sour and tartness with a good amount of residual sweetness, which. However, if you balance the flavor you can easily use ANY limes with this drink. As long as you put the right balance of ingredients this will still be awesome, you don’t have the awesome rainforest backdrop (you cannot imitate that delight) which in my mind “makes” the drink, but the flavor will be correct.
I stick by the 4-1-1-1 technique but the 3-1-1-1 is still valid…
4 oz Pisco
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
1 oz (or just 1) egg white
Shake this a long time to emulsify the egg white, strain into a cocktail glass, and finish with 3 drops of Angostura for decoration. An interesting thing to me is that most Peruvian bartenders do not dry shake (shake before adding ice) the egg white, and I guess if you shake with ice long enough it really isn’t necessary. Enjoy!