National Pisco Sour Day!
The origin of the Pisco Sour, the specialty cocktail of Portillo, has its disputes. Some argue it was developed in Peru while others say the drink’s origin harkens back to Chile. We won’t get into the arguments both sides purport, rather, we’d like to talk about why it’s so special to us!
Let’s start with the pisco. Pisco is a color-less or yellow-ish colored brandy made by distilling fermented grape juice into a high-proof spirit. In order to be called pisco, it must be made in one of two regions in Chile — Atacama or Coquimbo. The production of this slightly sweet spirit has reached 30 million+ liters in Chile (almost three times as much as Peru, we’ll add quickly.)
This unique and local spirit is the basis and most important feature of a pisco sour. The sour comes from the lemon juice. Some argue key limes or regular limes make a better pisco sour, but we stick with the lemon juice for a slightly tangier flavor. To combat the tang and add some sweetness, simple sugar syrup is the third component to this cocktail.
An egg white is the fourth and most classic component of this drink. This is where the froth and the richness of the drink come from. Bitters finish off the drink but not before the first four ingredients are blended with ice… and blended well, frothiness is a key component to the drink!
Now here’s another place the Portillo cocktail differs from other pisco sours you may have had… we serve ours in a long-stem cocktail glass. Think a stubby champagne flute. We believe this helps the drink keep its froth and deliciousness through the entire consumption.
The best way to experience a Portillo Pisco Sour is to belly up to the bar and have our long-time bartender, Jaime, mix you up one of his refined batches. He has been making pisco sours for over 40 years… so you know they’re great!
Here’s our recipe, we’d love to see your replications on our social media pages!
Recipe for a Pisco Sour (6 servings) is below.
1 part lemon
2 parts Chilean pisco
1 part simple sugar syrup or powdered sugar
egg white (one egg white for roughly four drinks)
Put the pisco and the sugar in a blender and mix until the sugar is well incorporated. Add the lemon the egg white and the ice. Continue mixing until the ice is well blended and the drink has a nice head of foam. When serving put a few drops of bitters on the foam in each long-stem glass.