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A Cocktail for the End of the World: The Pisco Sour

Posted in Food & Entertaining

Detail from the Mayan Calendar

With Friday being the day The Mayan Calendar ends -– it seems fitting that we look to South America for a drink that will appropriately honour the occasion. One wouldn’t want to go into eternity clutching a soda water.  Would just seem terribly impolite.

The Pisco Sour fits the bill perfectly. Invented in Peru around 1900, the Sour adds Pisco, (a Peruvian grape brandy that’s a little rough around the edges – think a feisty tequila) to fresh lime, a simple syrup and egg white to create a creamy, frothy, limey, lethal drink.

And then tops it off with the secret ingredient – a dash of Angostura bitters  – for the kind of salty surprise ending some people are hoping for tomorrow.

pisco-sour-su-1194627-xVery tart lime juice is a MUST. Some recipes call for lemon juice – but they’re just plain wrong. Along with many other things that seem to have been lost in translation between Maya and meme is the use of “limon” in many recipes.  Limones are actually a small South American limes, similar to the American key limes. Lemon changes the whole character of this drink and must be avoided at all costs.

Give this cocktail a good solid, earth moving shake – so that when you pour it into an old-fashioned glass, you get a nice half-inch layer of smooth, shiny foam on top.


  • 3 ounces pisco
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ounce key lime juice
  • 1 egg white
  • Angostura bitters (2-3 dashes)
  • Ice cubes
  1. Mix the pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add ice to fill, and shake vigorously.
  3. Strain into an old-fashioned glass, and sprinkle the Angostura bitters on top of the foam.
  4. Serve immediately.
  5. Makes 1 large (8 ounce) cocktail or 2 small cocktails.

After a couple of these –  whether it’s the end of the world as we know it or not, I promise – you’ll feel fine*. (*Apologies to R.E.M.)

(Pisco Sour image by Leigh Beisch found here, Mayan calendar detail found here)

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  1. Wow, I’ll look for som Pisco at Bevmo today!

    December 23, 2012
  2. Marisa Antonini
    Marisa Antonini

    Having just recently been in Peru and having learned to love this drink, even though I am not much of drinker now I know, it is sweet and delicious
    I had as many as 2 for lunch when the would serve them,
    something that I have never done in my life
    Thank you,

    December 21, 2012
    • Hey Marisa = what a perfect way to celebrate Peru – 2 Pisco Sours at lunch sounds perfect! sofagirl

      December 25, 2012

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