Pisco, a South American brandy-like liquor, is becoming increasingly popular in the cocktail world.
The most famous Pisco-made drink is the Pisco sour, a classic sour-style drink that packs a delicious punch.
But what exactly is this liquor, and where does it come from? How do you use and serve Pisco in drinks like the Pisco Sour?
What alternatives can be used if you don’t have any Pisco available? Here’s your introduction to Pisco and some guidance on using it for its most famous cocktails.
Pisco is a clear brandy made from grapes that are traditionally produced in Peru and Chile.
It has origins going back to the 16th century when settlers first arrived in the area and began utilizing native grape varietals to make a unique style of brandy with deep ties to Spanish brandy-making culture.
Its flavor is unique, containing hints of stone fruit, citrus, and even floral notes.
The drink can be enjoyed neat or mixed into cocktails, making it a versatile addition to any drink menu.
Pisco’s prevalence can also be seen in various traditional dishes such as ceviche or tiraditos, where it’s used for its distinct yet light flavor profile to bring out the freshness of the seafood.
Pisco is truly an internationally recognized spirit with a rich history that still holds up today.
What Can I Substitute for Pisco in a Pisco Sour Drink? 4 BEST Substitutes
If you’re looking for a substitute for Pisco in a Pisco Sour drink, you have plenty of options.
From white rum to whiskey and other base spirits, here are four of the best substitutes for Pisco in your next cocktail:
1 – Grappa
Grappa is a strong Italian spirit made by distilling grape pomace.
For centuries, it has been an integral part of the Italian culture, usually enjoyed as an after-dinner digestif.
The taste of Grappa is smooth and delicate, with hints of citrus, floral, and spices on the finish.
Those looking to substitute Pisco in its renowned cocktail, the Pisco Sour Drink, would be wise to try Grappa first; its bittersweet flavor adds complexity to the drink.
With just white sugar syrup, lime juice, egg whites, and Angostura bitters accompanying it in a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, the Grappas transforms from a simple after-dinner beverage into a sophisticated libation sure to please everyone at the party.
2 – White Tequila
White Tequila is a spirit that has surged in popularity over the past few years.
One sip reveals why.
It sips smoothly but with a complexity of flavors not found in other spirits: subtle notes of citrus and baking spices typical of an agave-forward spirit.
It’s not surprising then that this Tequila has become a popular substitute for Pisco in the beloved Pisco Sour drink.
To make this customizable twist on the classic, start with a white tequila base, substituting lime juice for lemon juice and topping it off with egg whites just as you would with a traditional Pisco Sour; the result will be delicious and totally your own.
3 – Single Malt Scotch
Single Malt Scotch is a whiskey produced from non-malted barley, which results in a smoother and less smoky flavor profile than traditional whiskies.
Ardbeg, Laphroaig, and Macallan are some of the commonly known single malt scotches, and they offer notes of honey, peat, fruits, smoke, and dried oak.
For an interesting twist on the classic Pisco Sour drink, swap out the Pisco for one of these single malt scotches.
The subtle yet complex taste will bring a unique depth to the signature citrus flavors of this refreshing cocktail.
4 – Cachaça
Cachaça is a white Brazilian liquor made from sugar cane juice.
It has an intense and complex taste, combining notes of grass, vanilla, and fruit in its subtle sweetness.
Most popular in the nation of origin, cachaça is used to make many drinks like caipirinha and batidas.
For non-Brazilians looking for a nice twist on classic drinks like Pisco sour, cachaça can be used as a substitute.
All you have to do is first use lime instead of lemon juice, omit the bitters and use one serving each of syrup, egg whites, lime juice, and cachaça while shaking vigorously before sipping it.
Cachaça’s uniqueness makes it a great addition to the classic Pisco sour.
In summary, there are several great substitutes for Pisco in the classic Pisco Sour drink.
Grappa, white Tequila, single malt scotch, and cachaça all make excellent alternatives to the classic spirit.
Whether you’re looking to add a hint of complexity or just want to mix things up with a unique twist on an old favorite, these four substitutes are sure to make your next Pisco Sour drink a hit.