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Mar 19, 2007 07:34 AM

Who makes good Pisco Sours?

I vacationed in Peru this week last year and must have drank at least 1000 pisco sours while down there. I haven't had many since returning, but tried one this weekend at Noir. I think Noir is overpriced and the cocktail skills of the bartenders are a bit inconsistent----they try, but not too hard.

The pisco sour at Noir was easily the worst I've ever had. Bitters were a main ingredient in the drink, making the liquid pink and really heavy tasting. In Peru, bitters were added at the end as a final seasoning, rather than a major component of the drink. The Noir version had little froth because of weak shaking----the froth makes the drink, in my opinion. It was just a poor version all around.

Where have people had success with this drink? Should I go to No. 9 or Eastern Standard for good versions? I'd love it if there was a less expensive option. Do any of the Peruvian restaurants make them well-----I think most of these spots don't have full liquor licenses?

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  1. the bartending at noir isn't very good. even for their house drinks. piscos at esk are terrific. and not outrageously priced.

    can't speak to any of the peruvian restaurants.

    1. Hmmm, I remember bartending at Noir being terrible at first, then getting good when they hired a new bar manager away from the B-Side (Paul?). I've had some good drinks made by their latest bar manager (Ben), albeit at some cocktail events elsewhere where he was a guest bartender. I wonder if this is an issue of Noir being only any good if the manager is actually behind the stick?

      You can get a good Pisco Sour at several places, including the Franklin, the Red Fez, the Alchemist Lounge, Cuchi Cuchi, and Solea in Waltham. It really seems to be catching on (I just bought a bottle of Pisco for my bar, anticipating warmer weather).

      Local cocktail blog sponsored a Pisco event at the Alchemist recently (which I missed, sadly); see the entry "Pisco'd" at .

      3 Replies
      1. re: MC Slim JB

        I agree, I've had some good drinks at Noir; it's more erratic than board faves, granted, but it can do the trick.
        I had a good one last fall at Thoreau's Bar at the Wequasset Inn in Chatham, FWIW.
        I'm surprised to read below that Machu Picchu makes them; b/c DoubleMan, I agree w/ you, I believe most Peruvian joints around don't have the licenses to make them?

        1. re: tatamagouche

          I remember reading here that Machu Picchu got a full license when it moved to its new, bigger space across the way in Union Square, Somerville. Most other places I know with Peruvian cuisine (Rincon Limeno, Don Ricardo) are beer/wine only,

        2. Recently had a good one at Kendall Sq

          2 Replies
          1. re: 9lives

            Ditto. Frankie makes awesome classic cocktails.

            1. re: penny

              Alas, Frank has departed Anise, and has yet to re-alight anywhere else as far as I know. So... I wouldn't go near the bar there with a 10-foot pole at present.

          2. I am pretty sure when I was last at Eastern Standard one of my friends had a good Pisco Sour.

            3 Replies
            1. re: lissy

              Yes, we had an excellent Pisco Sour at Eastern Standard recently.

              1. re: Rubee

                Really? With the egg-whites and all?

                1. re: Chicky

                  Yes. No 9 Park makes excellent ones too.

            2. I have had decent ones at Toro and at Machu Picchu in Union Square.