Cocktail of The Month: Pisco sour

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When you’re in the mood for a Peruvian/Chilean sour-sweet cocktail – and let’s face it, when aren’t you – the disputed national drink of both countries, the Pisco Sour, is the one you really want. First made in 1903, drinks historians reckon, it’s an oldie and a goodie.

First, let’s start with the Pisco. Pisco is a clear brandy made from 100% grape juice. You’ll see the grape varieties on the bottle, and it’s most likely you’ll be able to choose from Quebranta or Italia styles. If you see “Acholado”, this is great too; it means a blend of two or more grape styles. Whichever you choose, remember that the Italia varieties make a more aromatic cocktail, whereas Quebranta pisco is stronger tasting.

Isn’t the best thing about a cocktail having to hear the maker tell you all about its history? Inflict that pleasure on your guests by recounting the origins of Pisco in Peru in the 1500s, and how Chile has a deep cultural connection with the drink too. “The War of the Pacific certainly didn’t make amends with Peru for laying claim to Pisco’s origin story,” you could say, to rousing applause.

But we digress. Let’s get back to the cocktail at hand. For this South American beauty you’ll need egg white to thicken and sugar syrup to take the edge off. To further entertain your guests, you can explain that three neat dabs of bitters; not only look nice, they stop the egg white from smelling like a spare room filled with damp washing. You can of course leave out the egg white, but the texture is nicer with it in. Serve in a coup, or an old fashioned glass straight-up, or shaken with ice. Your call.

As ever, we’ve mixed things up a little, by using an intriguing new spirit called Strawbar as the base. Distilled from fresh, organic Greek starwberries, Strawbar's unusual, fragrant character is proving a hit with mixologists. It comes in two strengths, Origin (40% abv) and Platium (45%). The distillery behind it also provides employment and promotes local produce in an area of rural northern Greece that's having a pretty tough time, so good stuff all round.

In our sour, the sugar syrup is replaced with Maraschino liqueur to add a sweet, vegetal note, and the whole thing is finished with dashes of Peychard Bitters.

How to make Strawbar Sour

Ingredients:

40ml Strawbar Platinum

20ml Maraschino Liqueur

20ml fresh lime juice

2 dashes Peychard Bitters

1 egg white

Method:

Reverse shake, double strain and decorate with a Peychard strip.

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