Peru traditionally celebrates the classic Pisco Sour on the first Saturday in February with a national Pisco Sour Day. In the UK, some bars and restaurants have turned this into a whole Pisco Sour Week which runs until February 8, offering special promotions and twists on the classic recipe.
Seven Peruvian restaurants in London are celebrating throughout the week, supported by Peru’s Trade & Investment Office in the UK. Its director Jaime Cárdenas said: “This first activity is part of a comprehensive strategy to enhance the presence of Peru through its gastronomy. It will bring our friends in London an opportunity to enjoy an assortment of Pisco Sour cocktails.”
At Coya in Mayfair, they are offering a flight of Pisco Sours at £15 (pictured top), drawing on the bar’s range of infused piscos. It consists of three flavours: raspberry and thyme, rhubarb, and Williams pear.
At Chotto Matte in Soho, head bar chef Fabiano Latham and his team are offering a Pisco Sour made with 1615 Quebranta pisco, lime, sugar and egg white plus Peruvian-inspired Chuncho bitters made from south American barks and herbs.
Chotto Matte is also offering a Jasmine Sour, made with Porton Pisco infused with organic jasmine, mixed with triple sec, lemon, sugar and egg white. The bar is also offering a Piscolada made by combining 1615 Quebranta, lime, pineapple and Coco Lopez cream of coconut.
Chuncho bitters are also used for a twist on a Pisco Sour at Señor Ceviche in Soho alongside a passion fruit variant. Tito’s at London Bridge is offering mango and passion fruit twists, all made with Sol de Ica Quebranta Pisco.
At restaurant Lima Floral in Covent Garden, bar manager Damiano Barbato and his team are offering a classic Pisco Sour made with Luna Pisco and bitters plus lime, sugar syrup and egg white. Among other Pisco Sours (pictured above), there is also a twist called Maracuyá – Spanish for passion fruit – which is made with Luna pisco infused with passion fruit.
At Pachamama in Marylebone, twists include a Chicha Morada Pisco Sour, made with Barsol Quebranta Pisco, lime, egg white and the Peruvian corn-based soft drink, chicha morada.
A more complex twist is the Spiced Camomile Pisco Sour, again with Barsol Quebranta, lime and egg white but with the addition of camomile syrup, Becherovka herbal liqueur, white chardonnay and Dead Rabbit Orinoco Bitters.
Pachamama uses another Peruvian pisco, La Diablada Acholado, for its Flower Pisco Sour, combining lemon and egg white with apple sherbet and elderflower cordial.
At Tierra Peru in Islington, their traditional Pisco Sour uses 1615 Quebranta Pisco plus Angostura Bitters but twists include the Lucuma & Mandarine Sour, combining 1615 Torontel Pisco with egg white, the pulp of south American fruit lucuma, Mandarine Napoleon liqueur and an Opies cherry.
Tierra Peru’s Elderflower & Coca Sour uses another 1615 pisco, Acholado, mixing it with lemon and egg white plus coca leaf liqueur and elderflower cordial. Other fruity twists on the classic use ingredients such as mango, passion fruit, coconut and strawberry.
All seven of these restaurants are taking part in the London Pisco Sour Trail competition, encouraging people to use the #LPSW hashtag and like the London Pisco Sour Week page on Facebook with chances to win prizes. People can collect official #LPSW wristbands in the restaurants and enjoy £5 Pisco Sours all week. See Facebook and Twitter for details.
Other London bars are waiting until Pisco Sour Day on Saturday February 7 to celebrate. At Pisco Embassy, the late-night bar in Islington’s Upper Street, pisco specialist José Francisco-Modonese will offer a 12-strong menu of Pisco Sours, including some with the bar’s own pisco infusions.
Fruity twists at Pisco Embassy add ingredients such as physalis juice or passion fruit puree, while the Chicha Sour is inspired by the chicha morada soft drink.
Chicha Morada Sour
50ml Chicha extract
20ml Sugar syrup
25ml Lemon juice
25ml Egg white
Garnish with violet flowers.
At Sushisamaba in the City, Richard Woods has added his own twist with a pisco infused with matcha tea, combined with an orange liqueur, sour, sugar and egg white (pictured below). Another twist, called the Mandarin, adds juice from the Japanese yuzu fruit.
To complement the range of Pisco Sours, Sushisamba’s executive chef Claudio Cordoso has created special dishes including crab tomales with purple potato aji amarillo and lime, and scallop ceviche, with apple, passion fruit, maize morada and Peruvian leche de tigre.
On Saturday, Ceviche Soho is running a free one-hour Pisco Sour masterclass at 4.30pm, hosted by Peruvian chef and restaurateur Martin Morales alongside his executive bar manager Miguel Arbe. Held in the restaurant’s Pisco Bar, it will include tastings from Ceviche’s extensive collection of homemade Peruvian pisco infusions – known as “macerados” – and show guests how to make their own Pisco Sour. To book a place, email email@example.com.
Each guest will also have a chance to win a signed copy of a limited-edition Pisco Sour screen print by graphic artist Crispin Finn. The first edition of the A3 artwork is limited to just 100 copies, each hand-printed, signed and dated by the artist. The prints will also be available to buy at the Pisco Sour masterclass and on the Ceviche and Crispin Finn websites, priced at £45 each.
Martin said: “The Pisco Sour should be recognised as one of the best classic cocktails in the world. It’s tastier than a Mojito and friendlier than a Negroni, and comes with an incredibly curious story and rich history.
“For those reasons I challenged Roger and Anna at Crispin Finn to create a homage to the national cocktail of Peru ahead of National Pisco Sour Day. They have been enchanting the art and bar worlds with their iconic cocktail screen prints for some time and I pointed out that they had missed out a very special one: the Pisco Sour. So we got to work on it and the finished print is as perfect as the serve itself.”
The Pisco Sour was invented by American bartender Victor Morris in Lima in the early 1920s as a variant of the Whiskey Sour. During the 1930s, the drink made its way into California and, by the late 1960s, could also be found in New York City.