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Have you substituted something for Pisco in a Pisco Sour?

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I just came back from South America and forgot to bring a bottle of Pisco with me. It isn't available where I live, and now I'm addicted to Pisco Sours! In a culinary class on the ship, we were told how to make a good substitute by mixing ? Maybe it is brandy and tequila? I can't remember. Anyone else heard of this? I want to give it a try.

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  1. Pisco is an unaged brandy, and I don't think it has a very unique flavor among that category of spirits. Can you get an unaged brandy from some other country? (Italy and Portugal produce a lot of them, for example.) Where do you live?

    I think a better substitute, if you can't find an unaged brandy, would be to simply use a not-very-aged version, e.g. a VS Cognac. Not really the same, especially when compared with an aromatic pisco, but perhaps close enough for making a sour.

    1. Thanks, that is interesting. I live in México, I suppose the Mexican brandy (El Presidente) is unaged. I usually have a bottle of that. I don't think a Peruvian or Chilean would like to hear that the flavor is not unique, but it's ok with me!

      1 Reply
      1. re: MazDee

        Why would you think that El Presidente is unaged?

        Try making other types of Sours.

        2 oz./60 ml. of any spirit
        .75 oz./22.5 ml. Lemon juice
        .75 oz./22.5 ml. Simple syrup or dark simple syrup (you can adjust Lemon & Syrup to taste)
        1 egg white
        1 dash Angostura bitters
        3 drops Angostura bitters for garnish

        Shake on ice and double/fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with three drops of Angostura bitters.

        (Double/fine strain means that besides the Hawthorne strainer you pour through a fine strainer like a tea strainer to remove the tiny ice shards. This leads to a smoother and creamier foam on top. I do this for all shaken drinks.)

      2. If you add a different base Liquor I think you have a different drink.
        Whiskey Sour, Brandy Sour, Vodka Sour etc.......
        Since Pisco is made from Grapes I would Think that Marc or Grappa would be the closest substitute.