pisco sour

Serves 1.

Note: To make simple syrup, combine 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan over high heat, gently simmering until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and cool completely; refrigerate in a tightly sealed jar for up to two weeks. Pisco Sour formulas can subtly vary -- more or less lime juice, pisco, simple syrup or egg white -- depending upon the bartender. "Like the Bloody Mary in this country, everyone thinks his or her [Pisco Sour] recipe is the best," writes Dale DeGroff in "The Craft of the Cocktail" (Clarkson Potter, $35). "Including me." From pisco importer Jeffrey Phillips.

• 1/4 c. (2 oz.) pisco

• 1/8 c. (1 oz.) freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 1/8 c. (1 oz.) simple syrup (see Note)

• 1/8 c. (1 oz.) pasteurized egg white

• 3 dashes bitters


In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine pisco, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white, and shake for 10 seconds. Strain into a glass, crown with bitters and serve.


Serves 1.

This pisco-based margarita is the top-selling cocktail at Cuidad, the Los Angeles restaurant owned by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, the Food Network's "Too Hot Tamales."

• Lime slices

• Margarita or kosher salt

• 1/4 c. (2 oz.) pisco

• 1/8 c. (1 oz.) orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau)

• 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 1/2 c. ice cubes


Rub edge of glass with lime slice and dip edge of glass in margarita (or kosher) salt. In a blender, combine pisco, orange liqueur, lemon juice and ice and blend at high speed until smooth. Pour into prepared glass, garnish with lime slice and serve.

Pisco punch

Serves 12.

Note: This recipe must be made in advance. Pineapple-infused pisco and grapefruit- and lime-infused simple syrup add contemporary flavor notes to this classic punch, first concocted in late 19th-century San Francisco. "It was [writer] Jack London's favorite drink," said author Dale DeGroff. From Bon Appetit magazine.

• 1 large pineapple (about 4 lb.), peeled and cut into 1-in. pieces

• 1 (750 ml) bottle pisco

• 2 c. simple syrup, divided

• 1 1/2 tsp. freshly grated lime peel

• 1 1/2 tsp. freshly grated white grapefruit peel

• 2/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice

• Ice cubes

• Pineapple leaves for garnish (optional)


Place pineapple pieces in a large glass jar or bowl. Pour pisco over pineapple, cover and refrigerate for 3 days, shaking occasionally. Divide simple syrup between 2 small bowls, mixing grated lime peel into 1 bowl and grated grapefruit peel into other bowl; cover and refrigerate both bowls overnight.

When ready to serve, strain pisco into a glass pitcher (discarding pineapple). Strain both syrups into pisco (discarding peel). Add lemon juice and stir to blend. Fill 12 small glasses with ice and punch, garnish with pineapple leaves (if desired) and serve.


Serves 1.

Note: Cointreau is an orange liqueur. From "The Art of the Bar" by Jeff Hollinger and Rob Schwartz (Chronicle Books, $24.95).

For thyme syrup:

• 1 c. sugar

• 1 1/2 c. water

• 5 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs

For cocktail:

• 1 fig, quartered, plus extra quarter for garnish

• 1 tbsp. ( 1/2 oz.) thyme syrup

• 3 tbsp. (1 1/2 oz.) pisco

• 1 tbsp. ( 1/2 oz.) Cointreau (see Note)

• 1 tbsp. ( 1/2 oz.) freshly squeezed lime juice

• Fresh thyme sprig for garnish


To make thyme syrup: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, water and thyme. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and gently simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. Strain syrup through a fine-mesh sieve (discarding thyme) and into a tightly sealed glass bottle; syrup can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

To make cocktail: In a cocktail shaker, muddle quartered fig with thyme syrup. Top with ice, add pisco, Cointreau and lime juice and shake 10 seconds. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a tall cocktail glass, garnish with fig quarter and thyme sprig and serve.

Chilcano de pisco

Serves 4.

From "The South American Table" by Maria Baez Kijac (Harvard Common Press, $21.95).

• 2 c. ginger ale

• 1/3 c. pisco

• 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 2 drops bitters

• Crushed ice

• 4 lemon slices for garnish


In a glass pitcher, combine ginger ale, pisco, lemon juice and bitters. Pour in tall glasses filled with ice, garnish with lemon slices and serve.