Pisco Sour

published Feb 22, 2024
Pisco Sour Cocktail Recipe (Peruvian)

The classic Peruvian cocktail made with pisco, lime juice, and egg white.

MakesMakes 1 drink

Prep5 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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angled shot of a single pisco sour in a coupe glass.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

Although it may seem strange to see egg white as an ingredient in a cocktail, this unusual addition is the key ingredient in a pisco sour, one of my favorite cocktails. It’s the South American version of a whiskey sour that has pisco as its base. When shaken vigorously, the egg white becomes beautifully frothy with an almost creamy texture. 

The pisco sour has a lot going for it: Sweet, tart, a tiny bit bitter, and a touch rich from the foamed egg white (even though there’s no dairy). With its two distinct layers and swirl of aromatic bitters on top, it’s visually stunning and worth the extra shaking it takes to produce this pretty cocktail. Here’s how to make it.

What Is a Pisco Sour?

Pisco is a South American brandy made from grapes, and is made in either Peru or Chile. The pisco sour is one of the most popular drinks in both countries, with each having their own version. 

  • The Peruvian pisco sour is made of Peruvian pisco, lime juice, egg white, sugar, and bitters. This recipe is for the modern Peruvian pisco sour.
  • The Chilean version has Chilean pisco, limón de Pica (a very acidic South American lime) juice, and powdered sugar. 

Key Ingredients in a Pisco Sour

  • Pisco: While both are made from grapes, Peruvian and Chilean piscos are aged and distilled differently. Use a Peruvian pisco here like Barsol Pisco, which is single distilled and distilled to proof.
  • Egg white: You’ll need an egg white for the foamy top. Use a pasteurized egg white, as it will be consumed raw (most egg whites sold in the U.S. are pasteurized).
  • Lime juice: Plan on one lime or 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice per pisco sour.
  • Simple syrup: The sugar in simple syrup balances out the tartness of the lime juice.
  • Bitters: A few drops of Amargo Chuncho (Peruvian bitters) or Angostura bitters finishes the pisco sour.

How to Make a Pisco Sour

  1. Dry shake. Start by shaking lime juice, pisco, egg white, and simple syrup together in a cocktail shaker. Do not add ice at this point — you want to just get the egg white foamy.
  2. Shake with ice. Once the egg white is very foamy, add ice and shake again. This will chill and dilute the cocktail as the ice melts a little.
  3. Strain and garnish. Strain into a chilled glass and top with a few shakes of bitters. The layers in the cocktail will eventually settle, leaving a thick, foamy layer on top.

If You’re Making a Pisco Sour, a Few Tips

  • Start with an egg white that’s at room temperature. The egg white is the key ingredient here for the signature foamy top of a pisco sour. An egg white that’s at room temperature will foam up faster (a cold egg white will still foam up eventually, but just need more shaking time).
  • Don’t skip the dry shake. You’ll need to shake the pisco sour without ice long enough that the egg white gets very foamy. It should take 1 to 1 1/2 minutes of vigorous shaking, and if your arm gets tired, recruit a friend to take over! Once the egg white is foamy, add the ice and do another round of shaking until the outside of the shaker is nice and frosty. (This is also the same technique in other egg white cocktails like the Clover Club.)
  • Make it pretty. A few drops of bitters on top of the pisco sour adds fragrance, a touch of bitterness to balance the tart and sweet flavors, and a pretty visual on the foam. Drag the tip of a toothpick through the drops of bitters to make an elegant swirl pattern.

Pisco Sour Cocktail Recipe (Peruvian)

The classic Peruvian cocktail made with pisco, lime juice, and egg white.

Prep time 5 minutes

Makes Makes 1 drink

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    medium lime

  • 2 ounces


  • 3/4 ounces

    simple syrup

  • 1

    large pasteurized egg white

  • Ice

  • 3

    drops Angostura or Chuncho Amargo bitters


  1. Place a 6-ounce or larger Nick and Nora or other stemmed cocktail glass in the refrigerator or freezer to chill while you make the cocktail.

  2. Juice 1 medium lime until you have 3/4 ounce. Place in a cocktail shaker and add 2 ounces pisco, 3/4 ounce simple syrup, and 1 large egg white. Seal the shaker and shake vigorously until the egg white is very frothy, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

  3. Open the shaker and add enough ice to fill the shaker halfway. Seal and shake again until the outside of the shaker is very frosty, about 20 seconds.

  4. Pour through a strainer into the glass. Top with 3 drops Angostura or Chuncho Amargo bitters, then lightly drag a straw or toothpick through the bitters to create a swirl pattern.

Recipe Notes

Raw egg whites: Consuming raw egg whites will always come with some inherent risks. That's why we recommend using pasteurized eggs, which are gently heated, to reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses. All egg products in the United States are pasteurized, as required by the USDA — so you're good to go as long as you stick to eggs from the grocery store (don't use ones that come straight from the farm).