10 minutes away from the Machu Picchu train, with hourly shuttle service provided.
Peruvian Pisco sour at Las Qolqas

The Peruvian Pisco Sour: 1 Drink with a Unique Flavor

Pisco Sour is a traditional Peruvian cocktail composed of pisco, lemon juice, sugar, ice, and bitters. It has become a popular drink worldwide due to its balanced flavor and easy preparation.

Moreover, its geographical origin in Peru, a country with a rich culinary culture and a long history of pisco production, has increased its international appeal.

Pisco is a type of brandy produced in Peru from fermented grapes. The beverage is known for its unique flavor and its versatility in cocktail preparation.

1. History of The peruvian Pisco sour

The Pisco Sour originated in Peru in the early 20th century and is one of the country's oldest cocktails. The history of the Pisco Sour dates back to the era of alcohol prohibition in the United States when bartenders were seeking new ways to mix alcoholic beverages.

In the 20th century, during the inauguration of the Cerro de Pasco railway by an American mining company, whiskey ran out at the party. To address this, bartender William Morris from Utah created a variation of the whiskey sour using local grape brandy called "Pisco" and lemon juice.

The resulting drink was a resounding success and became the fashionable beverage in Lima's society.

The name "Pisco" for grape brandy was already in use in the 18th century and originated from the port of Pisco, from where the liquor was exported and popularized in San Francisco during the Gold Rush of the 1850s. At that time, a drink called "Pisco Punch" was created.

The Pisco Sour quickly became a popular drink in bars and clubs in Lima and over time spread throughout the country. For decades, the Pisco Sour has remained one of the most representative drinks of Peru and has become a symbol of the country's culinary culture.

Despite its popularity in Peru, the Pisco Sour was not widely known outside the country until the 1990s, when it began gaining popularity in other Latin American countries and in the United States.

2. What Ingredients are in a Pisco Sour?

To make a classic peruvian Pisco Sour, the following ingredients are needed:
● Pisco: This is the main ingredient and the base of the cocktail. Pisco is a type of brandy produced in Peru from fermented grapes. There are different types of pisco, each with its own flavor and aroma characteristics.
● Lemon Juice: This ingredient provides the balanced citrus flavor that characterizes the Pisco Sour. Fresh lemon juice is recommended for a more intense flavor.
● Sugar: Sugar is used to balance the citrus flavor of the lemon juice and give the cocktail a sweet touch. White or brown sugar can be used, depending on personal preferences.
Bitters: This ingredient is used to add a bitter touch to the cocktail. Bitters are a mixture of herbs and spices added to alcoholic beverages to give them a bitter flavor and complement the taste of other ingredients.
● Ice: Ice is used to chill the cocktail and give it a smooth and creamy consistency.
Beaten egg white

In addition to these basic ingredients, there are many variations of the peruvian Pisco Sour that include different additional ingredients, such as flavored syrups, fresh fruits, herbs, and spices. Some examples of popular variations include Pisco Sour with mango, Pisco Sour with passion fruit, and Pisco Sour with fresh herbs.

The quantity of each ingredient may vary depending on personal preferences, but generally, a ratio of 2 parts pisco, 1 part lemon juice, 1 part sugar, and 2 or 3 drops of bitters is recommended.

3. How Is the Peruvian Pisco Sour Made?

The Pisco Sour is an easy-to-make cocktail and can be prepared in just a few minutes by following these simple steps:

  1. Prepare the ingredients: Measure and cut the necessary ingredients to prepare the cocktail. Make sure to have a cocktail shaker and a cocktail glass on hand.
  2. Mix the lemon juice and sugar: In a cocktail shaker, add fresh lemon juice and sugar. Shake until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Add the pisco and bitters: Add the pisco to the cocktail shaker and mix well with the lemon juice and sugar. Add the bitters and shake for a few more seconds.
  4. Add ice and shake: Add ice to the cocktail shaker and shake for a few seconds until the mixture is cold and creamy.
  5. Serve the Pisco Sour: Pour the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass and let it rest for a few seconds before serving.

Tips to Enhance the Flavor:

  • Use good quality pisco: The flavor of the Pisco Sour largely depends on the quality of the pisco used. Make sure to use good quality pisco for optimal taste.
  • Adjust the amount of sugar to your taste: The amount of sugar used can vary depending on personal preferences. If you prefer a sweeter taste, add more sugar, and if you prefer a more citrusy taste, add less sugar.
  • Experiment with different types of pisco: There are many different types of pisco available, each with its own flavor and aroma characteristics. Experiment with different types of pisco to discover your favorite.
  • Use fresh ice: Fresh ice is important for chilling the cocktail and giving it a smooth and creamy consistency. Be sure to use fresh ice for optimal taste.
peruvian pisco sour at hotel ecolodge Las Qolqas Ollantaytambo

4. Variations of the Pisco Sour

The peruvian Pisco Sour is a versatile drink that has been adapted and customized in different regions of Peru and other countries. Some of the most popular variations include:

  • Chilcano de Pisco: A variation that adds ginger ale and lime to the classic recipe. It's a popular choice in Lima and is considered a refreshing summer drink.
  • Pisco Punch: A San Francisco variation that adds sugar, lemon, and pineapple juice. It is said to have been created by Duncan Nichol in the 19th century and is a popular choice in the United States.
  • Pineapple Pisco Sour: A variation that adds pineapple juice to the classic recipe, giving the drink a sweet and tropical twist. It's a popular choice on the Peruvian coast.
  • Passion Fruit Pisco Sour: A variation that adds passion fruit puree to the classic recipe, providing a sweet and exotic flavor to the drink. It's a popular choice in the Peruvian jungle.
  • Mango Pisco Sour: A variation that adds mango puree to the classic recipe, giving the drink a sweet and tropical flavor. It's a popular choice on the Peruvian coast.

It's important to note that these are just a few of the most common variations of the peruvian Pisco Sour. With a bit of creativity, you can experiment with different flavors and combinations to create your own unique version of this classic drink.

5. Recipe for Making the Peruvian Pisco Sour  at Home


  • 2 oz of Pisco
  • 3/4 oz of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz of simple syrup (sugar dissolved in water)
  • 1 egg white
  • Ice cubes


  1. In a cocktail shaker, add the Pisco, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white.
  2. Add ice to cover the mixture in the shaker.
  3. Shake well for 20 seconds or until the mixture is well blended and chilled.
  4. Place ice in an Old Fashioned glass and pour the Pisco Sour mixture over the ice.
  5. Garnish with a lemon slice or cherry, if desired.
  6. Serve and enjoy your homemade Pisco Sour.

6. Pisco Sour in Ollantaytambo

Camarero en restaurante El Pututu preparando el pisco sour

Ollantaytambo is a beautiful town located in the Cusco region of Peru, known for its Inca architecture and stunning natural landscape. This town is also famous for its bars and restaurants serving a wide variety of beverages, including the Pisco Sour.

It also hosts the train station where you can catch the train to Machu Picchu.

The Pisco Sour in Ollantaytambo offers a unique experience that combines local tradition with the creativity of bartenders. Here, Pisco Sours are prepared with fresh and local ingredients, such as fruits and spices, giving them a unique and authentic flavor.

Additionally, the bars in Ollantaytambo often offer variations of the peruvian Pisco Sour, such as versions with passion fruit, lime, mango, and more, all of which you can enjoy while taking in the stunning views of the town.

Visiting Ollantaytambo and trying its local version of the peruvian Pisco Sour is an experience you shouldn't miss. With its authentic flavor and unique atmosphere, you're sure to thoroughly enjoy this Peruvian beverage.

Among the best places in Ollantaytambo to savor a Pisco Sour are alongside the Inca imperial road and the Urubamba River.

We highlight the Eco-Lodge Las Qolqas for its unique location, where you can combine a delicious drink with an unforgettable mountainous environment.

In conclusion, the Pisco Sour is a unique and versatile drink that has been an integral part of Peruvian culture for over a century. With its combination of simple ingredients and its tangy and sweet flavor, it has become a popular drink both within and outside of Peru.

Furthermore, in the Ollantaytambo region, the peruvian Pisco Sour is an even more enriching tourist experience due to its location in the beautiful Urubamba River valley and its proximity to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu.

For those interested in experimenting with this drink, we recommend following the detailed recipe included in this post and considering trying some of its variations to find your preferred taste. We also recommend visiting Ollantaytambo and enjoying a fresh and authentic Pisco Sour at the eco resort Las Qolqas bar and restaurant or at one of the local bars in the region.

In conclusion, the Pisco Sour is a drink worth getting to know and appreciate, both for its history and its unique flavor. We hope to have provided a deeper understanding of this beverage and encourage everyone to experiment with it at home or during their next trip to Peru.