Wet Bar Wednesday

One of the things I look forward to in eternity, at least as I hear it described in passages such as Psalm 23, is the amazing plethora of tastes to be enjoyed.  Both food and drink I trust will be in abundance, without all the negative repercussions commonly associated with their enjoyment in our experience.  There are so many amazing different tastes from around the world that you could spend a lifetime seeking them all out and never experience them all.

Drinks are the same way.  Every part of the world has resources at hand for fermenting to create alcoholic beverages of different kinds.  Tasting these as one travels – or if one is blessed to have a good liquor store nearby – is a real treat.
Perhaps the first cocktail my wife really found to her liking was discovered in a little Peruvian restaurant in St. Louis called Mango.  While the restaurant has changed locations since we dined there seven or more years ago, we still remember the cocktail my wife discovered – the pisco sour.  
Pisco is a brandy.  A brandy is a liquor derived from a fruit distillation, most commonly grapes. Pisco originates in Peru and Chile.  There is rather heated debate between these two countries as to which of them is the home of pisco, and of course which country crafts better piscos.  I don’t think it was that popular here in the United States until relatively recently, but I could be wrong.  A well-stocked liquor store might carry pisco.  In our part of the world you can also find it at Trader Joe’s.  
Once you find the pisco, you have to resign yourself to another ingredient that some people find objectionable – an egg white.  In a pisco sour, an egg white is shaken with the ingredients and provides a frothy topping to the drink.  It’s not as bad as it sounds.
  • 1 part pisco
  • 1/2 part fresh lemon juice
  • 1 part purified water
  • sweetener to taste (1 tbsp of sugar, a squirt of agave nectar – you’ll have to experiment!)
  • 1 egg white
  • bitters (Angostura or Peschaud’s are fine)
Put all of the ingredients together in a shaker with a little ice.  Also go ahead and put ice in the glass you’re going to serve it in so the glass is cold and ready.  Now take the shaker and shake well.  More than you might for another drink because you’re not just mixing the flavors of the ingredients, you want the egg white to sufficiently whip up.  
Strain the shaken mixture into the glass.  There should be good inch or more of froth on top if the liquid drink and ice.  Shake a few drops of the bitters onto the foam.  If you like bitters, use a bit more.  If you don’t, use a bit less.  Bitters are a popular ingredient in many classic drinks.  They were included for their digestion-enhancing properties, and so are often found in after-dinner drinks, also known as digestifs.  Although bitters are alcoholic, in this drink they are used primarily for flavoring.  There are some drinks and brands of bitters that are treated more like liquors in their own right – such as Fernet Branca.  These drinks are very strong in taste, and tend to either be intensely liked or intensely disliked.
As for the pisco sour, the overall result is a nicely balanced drink between the tartness of the lemon juice and the sweetness of the sugar.  Which side of the balance you prefer to err on is something you’ll have to figure out for yourself, and then make sure you remember the proportions you like.  The bitters add a bit of aroma to the drink as well as a bit more flavor than just the sweet and sour.  
Enjoy responsibly!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s