Pisco Sour

5 from 1 vote

Make a smooth and velvety Pisco Sour when you’re craving a delicious classic cocktail. This recipe is top notch and is actually pretty easy to make!

A cocktail glass with a frothy yellow drink, topped with a few drops of bitters, sits on a gold coaster. A gold jigger and a bottle are in the background.

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About this Pisco Sour Recipe

Let’s take a little trip to South America! Yes, right now, with a Pisco Sour in hand. This classic cocktail is the national drink of both Peru and Chile, though it is somewhat debated which country is the origin. But over the years, the Pisco sour has risen in popularity in the United States.

It is very similar to, and possibly based on, the whiskey sour. Both of these are “sour” style cocktails — which are made with a spirit, something sour and something sweet. It tastes sweet and sour and oh-so-refreshing!

The egg white in this drink makes it super smooth and adds the thick layer of foam on top when well-shaken. It’s an irresistibly tasty cocktail that is popular for good reason!

If you’ve never had a Pisco sour, you’ve got to give it a try. Then pair it with some crispy tortilla chips and fresh guacamole for the best cocktail hour. A velvety smooth Pisco sour truly never gets old!

More sour recipes: Honey Lemon Whiskey SourRhubarb SourBlood Orange Whiskey Sour

Why you’ll love this recipe

This cocktail has a unique history and lots of cultural significance! You’re going to love every sip:

  • You only need five simple ingredients to make a pisco sour. It’s a really accesible recipe and doesn’t take much prep time. Anyone can make it!
  • Not only does this cocktail taste incredible but it looks amazing. If you’re a fan of aesthetically pleasing food then you’re going to love this recipe.
  • The sweet and sour combination in this drink is unbeatable. There’s a reason that flavor combo is so popular!
A close-up of a cocktail in an elegant glass with frothy white foam on top, garnished with orange decorative swirls. A second similar glass is partly visible in the background on a gold coaster.

What is Pisco?

Pisco is a type of brandy that is produced in the wine-making regions of Chile and Peru. It is made by distilling fermented grape juice. Its flavor is slightly sweet with a bit of a bite — it actually tastes a little bit like tequila.

Pisco can be clear and colorless, yellow-ish or amber in color. It was developed in the 1500s by Spanish settlers who sought an alternative to orujo, a pomace brandy from northern Spain.

History of a Pisco Sour

Although Pisco has a very long history, the Pisco sour was actually invented around the early 1920s in Lima, Peru. It was created by the American bartender Victor Vaughen Morris and inspired by the whiskey sour cocktail! Since then, it has become a widely known and very popular cocktail recipe.

These days, there is even a National Pisco Sour Day in Peru, celebrated on the first Saturday of February.

Two cocktails in coupe glasses with frothy tops and an orange garnish, surrounded by a bottle of Angostura bitters, a bottle of clear spirit, a strainer, and a gold cocktail shaker on a white surface.

Tools & glassware 

To make a Pisco sour, you’ll need a cocktail shaker and a jigger. Make sure you’ve got plenty of ice on hand so that you can chill the drink well while shaking it up!

You will also need Nick & Nora glasses or other simple cocktail glasses like coupe glasses or rocks glasses.

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Ingredients

Make this cocktail taste perfect with just five simple ingredients! Here’s what you’ll need:

Raw egg warning: Consuming raw or lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk for food-borne illness.

Top view of a cocktail with a frothy white layer and orange bitters garnished with a decorative swirl.

Garnishes

The classic recipe doesn’t have any garnish beyond the drops of Angostura bitters on top. You can use a cocktail pick to draw a line through the drops to make little heart shapes that look like a vine.

But if you want to add a garnish, it’s your cocktail so go for it! A simple lime wedge, a lemon twist or a dehydrated lime slice would all be great. Fresh mint and fresh basil work well too. Or simply add some spices like cinnamon and nutmeg over the top of the foam.

A cocktail in a stemmed glass with a frothy top and orange garnish. Another similar cocktail is seen in the background.

Substitutions & variations

Sugar-free: Make this cocktail sugar-free by using honey or agave nectar in place of simple syrup. A sugar-free simple syrup would be great too!

Vegan version: Want to make a vegan Pisco sour cocktail recipe? Then use aquafaba, which is made from chickpeas, in place of raw egg whites.

Peruvian vs. Chilean: Peruvian Pisco and Chilean Pisco are a bit different. They’re often made from different varieties of grapes. So experiment with different types of Pisco to find what you like the most!

Other bitters: You can use some different dash of bitters in place of Angostura, which is a common style of aromatic bitters. Orange, lavender and cardamom are great. Check out my cocktail bitters 101 post for the best options to choose from.

Change the flavor: Replace the lime juice with lemon juice, passion fruit puree, mango juice or any other fruit you want.

Simplify the recipe: Don’t have lime juice and simple syrup on hand? Then just replace those two ingredients with some sour mix!

Instructions

Ready to make the tastiest Pisco sour? Here’s what you’ll need to do:

A hand pouring liquid from a small brass container into a textured clear plastic cup.
A hand pours a light yellow beverage from a brass measuring cup into a clear textured glass on a white background.
A person's hand pouring a clear liquid from a small metal cup into a textured glass containing a light yellow beverage.
A hand pours liquid from a glass bowl into a tall, textured glass filled with a light yellow beverage.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, and then combine Pisco, lime juice, simple syrup and egg white.

Shake the mixture well for 2-3 minutes to invigorate the egg white. If you don’t shake it enough, you won’t have that classic thick layer of froth on top.

A hand holding a cocktail shaker with a gold-colored lid, filled with a light yellow liquid. The shaker has a textured, transparent body. The background is plain and white.
A hand is using a brass cocktail strainer to pour a light-colored liquid into a clear wine glass on a white surface.

Strain the Pisco sour mixture into a Nick & Nora glass or any other cocktail glass that you have on hand.

A clear wine glass filled with a pale yellow foamy drink, with a red liquid drop falling towards the surface.
A person's hand is using a dropper to add a red liquid to a frothy, pale yellow cocktail in a stemmed glass.

Then carefully place a few drops of Angostura bitters on top of the foam. Use a toothpick or cocktail pick and drag the tip through the center of the drops off bitters to make them into heart shapes.

A cocktail glass filled with a pale yellow liquid and topped with foam, garnished with three drops of bitters. A hand is placing a gold cocktail pick into the drink from above.
A hand holding a metal tool above a cocktail glass with a frothy drink topped with a few drops of bitters.

Tips & tricks

Check these simple tips and tricks to ensure that your Pisco sour is absolutely perfect:

  • If you prefer, prepare this cocktail with a dry shake first. Then add the ice and do a second shake. This can help make the egg white foam extra foamy!
  • To ensure a super smooth cocktail, double the mixture. You can use one egg white for two drinks if you are using large eggs or bigger.
  • Fresh squeezed lime juice is the best option for this cocktail! You can use bottled if you’re in a pinch, but the flavor is better with fresh lime juice.

Food pairings

Serve this sweet and sour beverage with creamy favorites like marinated cheese and pimento cheese. For something a little salty, serve with some popcorn shrimp.

If you’re using a Peruvian Pisco, serve up some yuca fries and Peruvian roast chicken too!

Or go Chilean. Make some Chilean style steak and fries or lomo saltado as a great pairing for this Pisco sour! For an extra cozy meal serve this cocktail with Chilean carbonada soup.

FAQ

What kind of alcohol is Pisco?

Pisco is actually a type of brandy. It is a hard liquor with an alcohol content of 38% to 48% ABV.

Does a Pisco sour have raw eggs?

A classic Pisco sour recipe does have raw egg whites! However, you can skip it or make a vegan version with aquafaba if you would prefer not to consume raw eggs.

More Lime Drink Recipes

— Did you make this recipe? —

Please leave a ★★★★★ review or comment below.

A cocktail glass with a frothy yellow drink, topped with a few drops of bitters, sits on a gold coaster. A gold jigger and a bottle are in the background.

Pisco Sour

Yield: 1 drink
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Make a classic pisco sour with this quick and easy recipe! A sweet and sour cocktail that never gets old.
5 from 1 vote
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ingredients

  • 2 ounces pisco
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • ¾ ounces simple syrup
  • 1 small egg white or ½ large egg white
  • 4 drops aromatic bitters such as Angostura

instructions

  • In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine pisco, lime juice, simple syrup and egg white.
  • Shake well for 2-3 minutes to invigorate the egg white. If you don't shake it enough, you won't have a very thick layer of froth on top.
  • Strain into a Nick & Nora glass or other cocktail glass.
  • Carefully place four drops of Angostura bitters on top of the foam.
  • Draw the tip of a cocktail pick or toothpick through the center of the drops to make them into heart shapes.

notes

Egg whites: Consuming raw or lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk for food-borne illness. Omit the egg whites or use aquafaba if you don’t want to use egg whites. If using eggs, you can use one egg white for two drinks if you are using large eggs or bigger. 
If you prefer, prepare this cocktail with a dry shake first. Then add the ice and do a second shake. This can help make the egg white foam extra foamy!
Lime juice: Fresh squeezed lime juice is the best option for this cocktail! You can use bottled if you’re in a pinch, but the flavor is better with fresh lime juice. 
Substitutions: You can use 2 ounces of sour mix place of the lime juice and simple syrup. 

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nutrition information

Yield: 1 drink

amount per serving:

Serving: 4ounces Calories: 99kcal Carbohydrates: 20g Protein: 3g Fat: 0.1g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g Sodium: 63mg Potassium: 95mg Fiber: 0.1g Sugar: 17g Vitamin A: 14IU Vitamin C: 9mg Calcium: 9mg Iron: 1mg
did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #feastandwestrecipes!
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