Classic Peruvian Pisco Sour Cocktail

Classic piso sour recipe

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  • Total: 10 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 large or 2 small pisco sours
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
405 Calories
0g Fat
68g Carbs
5g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 large or 2 small pisco sours
Amount per serving
Calories 405
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 81mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 68g 25%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 5g
Calcium 33mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The pisco sour is a classic cocktail that you've likely seen on bar menus. It's the national cocktail of both Peru and Chile, where pisco brandy is made and loved. While technically in the same classification as other brandies like cognac, pisco is in a category all its own. It's high proof, typically clear, and can range from slightly sweet to herbal and bitter. It's delicious mixed into cocktails.

There are many ways to make a pisco sour cocktail, but this basic Peruvian recipe is always a hit. Tart, sweet, creamy, and herbaceous, the drink includes pisco brandy, simple syrup, lime juice, egg white, and a sprinkle of Angostura bitters.

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Ingredients

  • 2 ounces pisco
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 3/4 ounce key lime juice
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for piso sour
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Add the pisco, simple syrup, lime juice, and egg white to a cocktail shaker.

    Add sour to shaker
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Add ice to fill, and shake vigorously. Alternatively, you can use a blender if you don't have a shaker.

    Add ice
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Strain into an old-fashioned glass and sprinkle the Angostura bitters on top of the foam.

    Strain into old fashioned glass
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Serve immediately.

    Classic piso sour cocktail
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk for food-borne illness.

Tips

To get the most authentic version of this classic Peruvian cocktail, be sure to heed the following tips: 

  • Since this is a Peruvian-style pisco sour, a pisco from Peru is preferred. A pisco puro is the traditional choice (made using only the Quebranta grape), but an Acholado (a mixture of different grape varieties) will also work nicely. Pisco can be found in liquor stores across the U.S. and ordered online.
  • Very tart lime juice is essential. Many recipes call for lemon juice, possibly a translation error from the Spanish word limonLimones are actually small South American limes, similar to key limes (also known as "Peruvian lemons").
  • Remember that the skin of limes has a lot of essential oils that can be a tad too bitter and sour, so when squeezing your limes, be sure to keep the flesh side facing down and not running down the lime peel. Also, don't drop the lime in as garnish after it’s been squeezed into your drink as it will also tamper with the taste. 
  • Keep the simple syrup really simple. You can use any recipe for simple syrup you want, but the easiest and yummiest option is to forgo the weird sweeteners, artificial sweeteners, or expensive syrups and just do 1:1 ratio of sugar to water and mix. 
  • If possible, use a real egg white. You can always use pasteurized liquid egg whites from a container, but the texture is not quite the same and can affect the look and taste of an authentic pisco sour.
  • Shake your cocktail well so that when you pour it into an old-fashioned glass, you get a nice 1/2-inch layer of foam on top.
  • Don't stress if you don't have Angostura bitters on hand, you can do without. Instead, you can try a sprinkle of cinnamon on top of the foam.

How Strong is a Pisco Sour?

Peruvian pisco can range from 38 to 48 percent ABV and is the only alcohol in a pisco sour. Thanks to the addition of fruit juice, simple syrup, egg white, and a generous shake with ice, the cocktail is relatively light. If a 40 percent ABV (or 80 proof) pisco is used, this recipe will yield a cocktail with about 15 percent ABV, similar to a glass of red wine.