Thursday, May 21, 2009
Pisco Sour - Part Uno
Pisco is a grape-based brandy, almost exclusively referenced as part of the Pisco Sour. It's a drink I heard described as being pretty awesome - not quite a whiskey sour, a little more refreshing than people might typically find a whiskey sour to be. I picked up a bottle of pisco recently, and then accessed a recipe for Pisco Sour on an iTouch app I downloaded for drink recipes (seemed reasonable enough).
I should have known when the recipe called for "1 to 2 Tbsp of sugar" in a drink to be shaken over ice that something wasn't quite right. Of course, I should have known enough not to make the drink using that ingredient - sugar won't dissolve in cold liquids on it's own very much if at all, so, not surprisingly, the first pass created a drink with a lot of sugar crystals in the bottom of the glass and left behind in the shaker. Also not surprisingly, the drink came off truly deserving of its "sour" title. The only other ingredients I had been given for the drink were 2 measures of pisco and one of lemon juice, so what I got was a whole lotta lemon pucker.
Realizing the error of my ways (and drinking the first drink anyway - I'm not an idiot, after all), I decided to substitute some agave nectar for the raw sugar. Agave nectar is awesome stuff - like a simple syrup, but with a little extra herbiness in with the mild sweetness. Despite what you might think, it doesn't taste anything like tequila - it's a pretty neutral sweetner, and you can get it in its all natural version. This yielded a MUCH better drink - proper sweet / sour balance, definitely drinkable and refreshing. Winner, I thought, and pretty simple.
Turns out, it's a little TOO simple.
Looking up pisco on Wikipedia, the drink recipe (and history) called for: pisco; limes, not lemons; egg white; bitters; and simple syrup instead of "sugar." That would definitely yield a more complex drink - the bitters would definitely add a layer of flavor complexity, and the frothy egg white would give it some texture lacking from my version. I might stick with the lemon - although I think I used all my lemons last night, so if it means skipping a run to the co-op, I'll use limes.
So, tonight I'll try Pisco Sour v.Dos - and I'll look for a better iTouch drinking app.