Pisco Sours: As Easy as Falling Off a Bike the Wagon


(Photo by AFP/Martin Bernetti)

Earlier in the week, the blogosphere buzzed over this photo of Bush drinking Peru’s national drink, a Pisco Sour. There was a lot of discussion about whether Bush had fallen off the wagon or not–but the discussions of what a pisco sour is fell short, I felt, of what my good friend Jeff had taught me in grad school (Jeff, who is Peruvian, whined for a year straight that he couldn’t get proper Peruvian, as opposed to Chilean, pisco in Ann Arbor).

So I asked him to do a post on pisco sours. And, since he says they go well with Thanksgiving (if you happen to have pisco lying around your liquor cabinet), I thought I’d better link to his post today.

Here’s his description of what a pisco sour is:

In an effort to explain the significance of the pisco sour, I provide below a recipe for the drink that I had published in the International Cookbook for AU’s International Student and Scholar Services office. (Please feel free to order the cookbook, which has been created to raise funds for an emergency fund for international students on campus, something greatly needed. Not only does the book make a great stocking stuffer, but you’ll find a whole menu that I’ve come up with with Peruvian food.)

Pisco sours also make a great drink for Thanksgiving, as would making the stuffing infused with some pisco, as I did a few years ago. If I only knew the president would have partaken with us, I would have invited him over for dinner!

Pisco Sour
Submitted by Jeffrey Middents, Assistant Professor of Literature
Serves 4

History tells us that the War of the Pacific ended in 1883, but disputes linger on over 100 years later. The northern territory claimed by Chileans in the middle of the Atacama desert turned out to be very rich in nitrates, copper and saltpeter – and happened to be a wonderful growing area for grapes. Today, Chile is internationally recognized for alcoholic beverages made from grapes, including a lucrative wine industry and, recently, pisco. Peruvians would claim otherwise: a very potent type of brandy distilled from grapes, pisco has historical connections to many areas of southern Peru, including Chicha, Ica, Arequipa, Lima, Tacna and – not so surprisingly – Pisco. Although both countries now make pisco, there are subtle differences, primarily involving how long the fermented drink is aged. Although Peru has filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization for proprietary rights to the drink, it may still be easier to find Chilean pisco in the United States. As a Peruvian, I would disapprove and tell you to purchase it online… but if don’t tell your guests, they’ll never know.

The pisco sour is a very simple drink to make, and a favorite among tourists. I will warn you that its taste similar to lemonade masks the very potent alcohol. Being American and not knowing the Peruvians are notorious for starting everything late, my father mistakenly arrived on time for a function in his honor held in Peru in the 1960s and started drinking this tasty concoction – only to find he had become rather inebriated by the time the event got under way. (Thankfully, he didn’t make a scene.) The recipe I am providing here is a more traditional preparation; in a rush, my good friend Barbara says that substitute limeade concentrate for the limes and sugar syrup works just as well. The general proportions are 3 parts pisco for 1 part juice and 1 part sugar syrup.

Click through for his recipe. And please remember–don’t pisco and drive.

I’m still waiting, though, for his recipe for the funky stew with the corn on the cob in it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

15 replies
  1. oldoilfieldhand says:

    Methinks George has fallen from the wagon on multiple occasions, long absences from public view, predictably long holiday weekends and all months that begin with August.

  2. MadDog says:

    Doesn’t appear to be actually “sipping” that Pisco, does he?

    Chugging ‘em down, just like most of his other Frat habits, will be the best his legacy can be.

  3. Rayne says:

    Holy CRAP, that’s not a fluffy little sissy drink.

    I figured a drink with lime juice, simple syrup, egg white and a local brandy would be more like a old-fashioned Elks Fizz or Millionaire cocktail.

    But 7-plus ounces of something similar to grappa or Metaxa? Jeebus. Better hope that recipe was for (4) or more servings.

  4. PJEvans says:

    He looks like it’s at least his second one that session.

    People I know who know recovering alcoholics say that they’ve been told that said recovering alcoholics can detect if there’s been any in the glass, even if it’s been dumped out. For a drink that actually contains it – you bet they know there’s alcohol in it. George can’t be that oblivious, either. He knows he’s drinking.

  5. alabama says:

    Who mixed the drink? Was it mixed at all, or was it just poured out of a grapefruit juice bottle? Or squeezed from fresh grapefruits?

  6. wavpeac says:

    I still think the most incriminating information was his bruised face, twice in the course of a year period of time. Hearing doctors discuss his choke on a pretzel, and the seemingly obvious instinctive truth that when we choke we do not go out “bam” and hit our faces on the floor. It would be a slow asphyxiation as opposed to a black out or seizure that often grips the alcoholic. The only people I know who have gotten bruised faces from falling (outside of domestic violence, fighting, or a car wreck) were alcoholics that fell.

    I hope some day the truth comes out..It has amazed me that the dynamics of an alcoholic family seem present on a national scale with all it’s glorious consequences. The truth is that we have all been harmed by this. We can’t out run it…but we can develop better ways of dealing with it. I believe that as a nation this president was enabled and even harmed. It’s a chronic and fatal disease and we joke, make light, but the truth is that it’s a killer.

    I think that it would be an interesting study to look at addiction and leadership and it’s consequences. I think that addiction has a way of magnifying character defects and infusing cognitive distortions to a degree unlike many other mental illnesses. It’s my humble opinion that humanity is in denial about it’s true consequences and how it links to violent behavior and the cognitive distortions that lead to violence.

    Hitler was a speed addict. I think it would be interesting to study the disease, the drug of choice and it’s consequences. Is there a connection? between atrocious behaviors, paranoia, the cognitive distortions that feed ethnic cleansing, racism, slavery, genocide, and sexism that kills.

    Fascinating to me.

  7. Leen says:

    Really would not matter if Bush fell off the wagon he behaves like a drunk anyway. Does as he pleases, abuses, creates disasters and leaves everyone else to suffer and clean up his mess. He could care less about the consequences of his actions and is in complete denial.

    Just wish the wagon that he may have fallen off of would back up.

  8. serge says:

    At the end of your post, are you referring to Frogmore Stew, or as it’s also referred to in these here Southern parts, Beaufort Stew? Shrimp (dialectically a.k.a shrump, shramp, etc) with smoked sausage, potatoes, and sweet corn cobs? It’s one of the ultimate meals.

Comments are closed.