Pisco Sour And Other Pisco Cocktails

Pisco Sour And Other Pisco Cocktails

Pisco is a brandy made by distilling grape wine. It is made in wine-producing areas in Chile and Peru as an alternative to the Spanish orujo which is made from pomace (the solid remains of grapes after the juice is removed). At the time, Chile and Peru imported orujo and other liquors from Spain. Peru was then a viceroyalty of Spain. Peru began to make their own wine in 1560, then the Spanish government banned Peru from exporting their wines to Panama (1614) and Guatemala (1615).

In retaliation to the ban on the exportation of their wines and to find an alternative to the orujo, the pisco was started in the early 17th century but the first batches of aguardiente were used to prevent oxidation of the wines. When the brandy was first made, it was called aguardiente de pisco (lit. alcoholic beverage from Pisco), which was later shortened to just pisco. However, with the mining boom in Potosi, Bolivia, the wine and pisco consumption began to show progress by the time the first pisco was distilled. 

While pisco is a Latin American liquor, the Pisco Sour is an American cocktail credited to Victor Morris, an expat bartender who made this cocktail in Lima in the 1920s. Since then, the cocktail has gained popularity that it became a staple not only in South America but also in other parts of the world where the Hispanic and Latin American culture is strong. This drink is also popular to other cultures, especially after it was served during the 2008 APEC summit in Peru.

Nutritional Guidelines per Serving

Calories                  405

Calories from fat     0               1 %DV*

Sodium                   81 mg       4 %DV

Carbohydrates        68 g          25 %DV

Fiber                       2 g            7 %DV

Sugar                     65 g           11 %DV

Protein                   5 g

*Note: Percent Daily Values are based in a 2000-calorie diet 

Tools Required To Make The Drink

  • Copper mug - best bar glass to use in serving the Moscow Mule
  • Jigger - a bar tool used to measure the ingredients for cocktails
  • Boston shaker - a bar tool composed of two tins, or a glass and a tin part, used to shake and chill cocktail ingredients

Ingredients Required With Measurement

Steps To Make

  1. In a cocktail shaker, add the pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white.
  2. Add ice and shake vigorously. 
  3. Strain in an old-fashioned glass.
  4. Add a few dashes of Angostura bitters on top of the foam.

Note: The original recipe calls for shaking with ice but some observed that dry shaking (shaking without ice) makes a more frothy cocktail.

Recipe Variations 

Pisco is a very popular liquor in South America and in the United States, especially in areas with strong Spanish and Latin American culture. No wonder that there are so many pisco sour and pisco cocktails available. Let’s discover some of them. 

Pisco Verde

The colorless pisco quebranta is a good backdrop for this green cocktail with a hint of mint. A good parade of colors in your Pride celebration. 


  • 2 oz pisco
  • 1 oz gum syrup
  • ¼ oz creme de menthe
  • Orange juice
  • ½ lime
  • Ice

Steps to make

  1. Slice half a lime into small wedges. Remove the seeds. 
  2. Add the pisco, creme de menthe, and gum syrup to a Collins glass. Stir.
  3. Add ice and top with the orange juice. Stir well. 

Blue Chilcano

Add a bit of blue curacao to the classic chilcano to get this vibrant cocktail. Perfect for your Pride celebrations. 


Steps to make

  1. In a Collins glass, add the pisco, blue curacao, and gum syrup. Stir.
  2. Add ice and top with ginger ale.
  3. Garnish with Angostura bitters. 


The Chilcano is a much simpler version of the pisco sour where you just pour everything together in a glass. No shaking, no stirring needed. Just a bit of bite from the bitters


Steps to make

  1. In a Collins glass, pour the pisco and lime juice over the ice. 
  2. Top with ginger ale.
  3. Garnish with Angostura bitters and lime wheels.

El Capitan

The El Capitan closely resembles Manhattan with a taste of Peru. Acholado pisco is the best choice for the El Capitan. It can be garnished with an orange peel but most bartenders suggest green olives since the saltiness of the green olives invite you to take a sip of your cocktail. 


Steps to make

  1. Add the pisco, sweet vermouth, dry vermouth, bitters, and ice into the mixing glass.
  2. Stir for 20-30 seconds until adequately diluted. 
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  4. Garnish with a twist of orange. 

Simple Pisco Punch 

This pisco punch is so easy to make. No slicing of fruits. Just throw in all the juices and the pisco with the ice and you’re all set. The hardest thing to prepare here is the pineapple syrup 


Pineapple syrup

  • ½ pineapple
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Pinch of salt

For the cocktail

  • 2oz Peruvian pisco
  • 1 oz pineapple syrup
  • ¾ oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Lemon peel for garnish

Steps to make

  1. Make the pineapple syrup
    1. Cut up the pineapple into small pieces.
    2. In a saucepan, add the pineapple slices, sugar, salt and water.
    3. Cook over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
    4. Let cool and strain using a cheesecloth. 
  2. Make the cocktail
    1. In a mixing glass, add the pisco, pineapple syrup, and lemon juice.
    2. Stir and garnish with a lemon peel.

Machu Picchu Shot

This version of the overly sweet shot Machu Picchu cocktail gives you just the right enough sugar rush and a bit of kick. 


  • ⅓ shot grenadine
  • ⅓ shot orange juice
  • ½ oz creme de menthe
  • ½ oz pisco

Steps to make

  1. Mix together creme de menthe and pisco. Set aside.
  2. In a shot glass, add the grenadine.
  3. Float the orange juice on top by pouring it over the back of the bar spoon.
  4. Add the creme de menthe/pisco mix on the uppermost layer using the bar spoon technique. 

Funky Pisco Sour

For those with egg allergies, the aquafaba is a good substitute to the froth without the hives and the need for antihistamines afterwards. A good way to enjoy your classic pisco sour. 


Steps to make

  1. In a cocktail shaker, add the pisco, hibiscus syrup, amaretto syrup, lime juice, lemon juice, and aquafaba.
  2. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  3. Strain into a wine glass.
  4. Fill an atomizer with orange blossom water and spray over the glass.
  5. Finish off with some dried rose petals. 

Nice and Slow (Vegan Pisco Sour)

Here’s another version of a vegan pisco sour with a delightful vegan marshmallow garnish. You can roll your marshmallow in cocoa powder for a richer aroma and taste. 


Steps to make

  1. Dry shake the pisco, cinnamon liquor, lemon juice, syrup, and aquafaba.
  2. Strain into a coupe.
  3. Garnish with ground gloves and vegan marshmallow.

Algarrobina Pisco Cocktail

Carob is a good substitute for cocoa and chocolate for those with chocolate intolerance or if you don’t like the added sugar to make the bitter cocoa more pleasurable. Pound per pound, algarrobina syrup has less sugar than chocolate syrup, making it a good substitute. Of course, you can always substitute the algarrobina with chocolate syrup if you feel like it. 


Steps to make

  1. Chill a glass by filling it with ice..
  2. In a blender glass, add the pisco, gum syrup, milk, egg yolk, algarrobina and ice.
  3. Blend for 15-20 seconds.
  4. Remove ice from the glass. 
  5. Pour algarrobina syrup on the inside of the glass to garnish.
  6. Strain the blended cocktail into the glass. 
  7. Garnish with a sprinkling of cinnamon powder on top. 

Pineapple Jam Pisco Punch

Add more sweetness and fiber to this punch by using pineapple preserve or crushed pineapple in heavy syrup. You can always use the canned ones if you don’t want to go the extra mile to make your pineapple preserve. 


Steps to make

  1. Add 8-10 ice cubes into a goblet.
  2. Add the lemon juice, pineapple puree, pisco, and pineapple preserves. Stir.
  3. Add the carbonated water. 
  4. Garnish with a cherry and a pineapple spear. 

Passionfruit Pisco Sour

An exotic take to this Latino drink gives it a fresh taste. 


Steps to make

  1. In a blender, add the ice, passionfruit juice, simple syrup, pisco, and egg white. Blend for 20 seconds.
  2. Transfer into the serving glass.
  3. Garnish with passionfruit seeds and a dash of Angostura. 

Substituting orange juice with the lemon or lime gives this cocktail a less sour taste, making it more delightful to drink. 


  • 2oz pisco
  • 3oz navel orange juice
  • 1 egg whites
  • Navel orange wheel for garnish

Steps to make

  1. Dry shake the egg white in a shaker.
  2. Add the pisco and navel orange juice into the shaker
  3. Add ice and shake for 10 seconds.
  4. Strain into a coupe glass.
  5. Float a navel orange wheel on top of the cocktail. 

Pineapple Coconut Pisco Sour

A combination of coconut water and pineapple juice gives this cocktail a fresh tropical taste for your summer parties. 


Steps to make

  1. Stir together the pisco, pineapple juice, coconut water, simple syrup, and bitters.
  2. Dry shake 1 egg white with a pinch of salt, until foamy.
  3. Add a third of the liquor mixture into the shaker and add ice.
  4. Shake until well-chilled.
  5. Strain into lowball glasses and garnish with a pineapple wedge. 

Pineapple-Red Pear Pisco Punch

This cocktail is a good choice to serve during Thanksgiving, especially in states with strong Latin American and Hispanic roots. 


  • 1 pineapple, sliced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 red pear
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups pisco

Steps to make

  1. Peel the pineapple and slice in quarters. Reserve one quarter, wrapped in plastic wrap. Slice the remaining 3 quarters.
  2. Mix the pineapple slices and sugar together until all the slices are coated. Chill for 8 hours.
  3. Blend the chilled pineapple-sugar mixture. Strain.
  4. In a pitcher, add the strained pineapple juice. 
  5. Thinly slice the remaining pineapple and 1 red pear and drop into the pitcher with the pineapple juice.
  6. Add the lemon juice. Chill for 1-2 hours.
  7. Add ice and the pisco.
  8. Serve in lowball glasses

Pineapple Pisco Sour

Another refreshingly delicious pineapple pisco sour. It’s a bit heavier than the classic pisco sour but is also a good choice for those who cannot tolerate raw eggs. 


  • 2 cups fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup pisco
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • Ice 
  • Pineapple and cherries for garnish

Steps to make

  1. Blend the pineapple, pisco, sugar, and lemon juice. Pulse for 30 seconds.
  2. Add ice and continue blending for 30 seconds.
  3. Transfer in a glass and garnish with a pineapple wedge and a cherry.

Mango Pisco Sour

This rich and creamy version of pisco sour with heavy tastes of tropical mango is a welcome version of the classic pisco sour. 


  • 5 oz mango cubes
  • 4 oz maple syrup
  • 10 oz pisco
  • 2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
  • Ice
  • Cherries for garnish

Steps to make

  1. Blend the mango until smooth.
  2. Add the maple syrup, pisco, lemon juice, and egg white.
  3. Blend for 30 seconds.
  4. Add ice and continue blending for 30 more seconds.
  5. Serve in lowball glasses. Garnish with a cherry.

What Food Does It Go Well With

The safest choice when making liquor and food pairing is to go with dishes of the same origin as the liquor. Here, we chose Peruvian and Spanish dishes to go with your pisco cocktails. 

Lomo Saltado

Usually served with rice and potato fries, this beef stir-fry recipe is a good choice to serve for dinner to go with your pisco sour or pisco cocktails. 


Delightfully delicious ceviche made with fresh fish and topped with chips for that modern feel. The citrus notes of the marinade makes it a perfect pair for the pisco sour. 

Yuca Frita with Garlic-Cilantro Sauce

Served with vegan garlic-cilantro sauce, fried yuca is the perfect complement for the pisco sour. Though you might want to go easy on it since the pisco sour is already heavy in calories. 

Causa Rellena 

If you thought mashed potatoes are the best, wait until you try this Peruvian potato-chicken layered dish that pairs perfectly well with your pisco sour. 


These yummy quesadillas recipes will surely be a good choice to serve with your pisco sour and other pisco cocktails. 


What is a pisco?

Pisco is made by distilling fermented grape juice into a high-proof (60-100 proof) brandy that is either colorless or yellowish to amber. Its name hails from the town of the same name in Peru. 

Can you drink pisco straight?

Yes, it can be drunk straight but experts prefer the aged Chilean pisco since it has a more rounded flavor and is best used as a digestif

How is pisco different from brandy? 

Pisco is a type of brandy made from distilling wine produced in the wine-producing areas in Chile and Peru. Brandy, in general, can be made from mash, juice or wine of grapes, fruits, or grape pomace. For example, cognac is a grape brandy from the Cognac region of France. Fruit brandies include the Framboise (raspberries), Kirsch (cherries), Slivovitz (plums), and Poire (pears). Grappa is a pomace brandy made in Italy and California. 

What are pisco varieties?

Peru has three known varieties of pisco based on the variety of grapes and the method of distillation. The first variety is the puro which is made from one grape variety. The second variety is the acholado which is made from a blend of different kinds of grapes. The third variety is the mosto verde which is from partially fermented grapes. This is sweeter than the other varieties. 

Chilean pisco, on the other hand, has three varieties that are separated by the type of aging vessels and length of aging. The youngest variety is the white which is aged for just 60 days in glass, stainless steel or ceramic vessels, or untreated wood. The second variety is the envejecido, which is aged in American and French oak barrels for 2 or more years. The de guarda is the intermediate pisco which is also aged in American and French oak barrels but for a shorter period of at least 180 days. 

How many pisco brands are there?

Currently, pisco is produced in 4 countries, each with its own pisco brands. In Chile alone, there are 14 brands, the United States has 2 and Australia has one. But the most number of brands come from Peru with a total of 59 brands. However, these are only the main brands of pisco.

What is the difference between pisco from Peru and Chile?

Peruvian pisco is distilled in a copper pot still (used to distill liquid mixtures by heating to boil and then cooling to condense the vapor) and usually is distilled only once. The alcohol content is between 38-48 percent. Usual varieties are Quebranta, Mollar, Common Black, Muscat, Albilla, Italia, and Torontel. The Peruvian pisco can also be distilled in Lima, Inca, Arequipa, Moquegua, and Tacna. These are the only areas allowed by Peruvian laws to produce pisco. 

Chilean pisco, on the other hand, has higher alcohol of 73 percent after the dilution since it is distilled as many times as the distiller wants. The bottled pisco can have an ABV of 30% for the Pisco Corriente or traditional pisco) and 43% ABV for the Gran Pisco. Chilean laws require the distilleries to grow their own grapes. Accepted grape varieties are Muscat, Torontel, Pedro Ximenez or Moscatel de Asturia. 


Pisco sour and other pisco cocktails deserve a place in the cocktail scene to add to your favorite cocktails. Sure, it can take a bit of getting used to especially if you are more familiar with the regular brandy. It has a taste of sweetness and depending on the grapes used to make it, it can have the same bouquet as the wines you are used to. If you don’t have pisco, you can use grappa, a brandy made with grape pomace, although it has a more tangy taste, thanks to the grape skin in it. 

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