Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pisco Margarita

Two factors forced me to rethink my margarita recipe: 1.) Meghan claimed a margarita I made her over the summer was boring.  This is like telling me that I'm mishandling the charcoal grill or my martini's not dry enough.  These things should not happen and a small piece of me dies on the inside if and when they do.  2.) We have a big bottle of Chilean Pisco and Meghan claims to not like raw egg in her cocktails.  I know, can you believe the hand I've been dealt?

First, the Pisco.  The dramatic rescue of thirty-three Chilean miners trapped for over two months began this evening as the first of the men has been lifted out of the collapsed mine.  It seems fitting to raise a glass in toast to everyone involved in this miraculous rescue, and what better way to do that than with a classic cocktail adapted with a Chilean specialty.  Last summer I spent a week in Santiago, Chile while visiting a colleague and interviewing for a postdoctoral position.  During that week I drank somewhere between ten and fifty-seven Pisco Sours. Some with hot peppers (Aji Sour), some with ginger (Sour de Campo), and all with raw egg whites.  Pisco is a liquor distilled from grapes (in Chile, that's typically Muscat) originally developed by Spanish "settlers" in Peru.  The drink consists of pisco, lime, simple syrup, egg white, and bitters.  When made right (enter my downfall), it is light, crisp, refreshing, and unlike most cocktails you'll try.  

Pisco Sour
  • 2 oz Pisco
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 dash bitters (typically regional bitters, but Angostura will work)
Shake the ingredients (minus the bitters) vigorously with ice.  Then shake extra vigorously.  Pour into a rocks glass or a short champagne flute.  If you shook the drink with the proper level of strength and enthusiasm you should have a nice foam on top, if not, hit the gym.  Garnish the top with a dash of bitters.

Now, that's all well and good, but maybe you're not excited about mixing egg whites with your liquor.  Another way to enjoy Pisco is in the confines of an old favorite, the margarita.  

Pisco Margarita
  • 2 oz tequila
  • 1 oz Rose's lime juice (even better is fresh lime juice + simple syrup)
  • 3/4 oz of orange liqueur (Triple sec is less sweet, Grand Marnier and Orange Curacao are more sweet)
  • 3/4 oz Pisco (
  • dash of orange bitters
Stir and serve on the rocks (with a salt-rimmed glass, if you must).  

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