Last week, we were lucky enough to have cooking lessons at El Bolivariano. While we were lucky enough to learn the steps to make fresh ceviche and lomo saltado, the real treat was learning how to make the perfect Pisco Sour – a typical Peruvian cocktail that uses Pisco, an alcohol from fermented grapes. Whilst Pisco Sours can be found in every bar, restaurant, and even café throughout Peru, El Bolivariano gave us the real secret to making the best-tasting version of the drink – a cocktail shaker. Before I explain the importance of this apparatus, here is the recipe (straight from the bartenders at El Bolivariano!):
2 oz Pisco
½ oz lemon juice
¾ oz simple syrup
1 egg white
After all these ingredients are added to the shaker (in order, of course), our bartender explained that the perfect Pisco Sour must be shaken vigorously for at least two full minutes. Once he finished and poured the concoction into a small glass, we all tasted a small sip. When servers brought us all our own a few minutes later, there was an obvious difference in taste, and it seemed, quality, of the drinks. Our bartender explained to us that the Pisco Sours we had been given had been mass-produced in a blender back in the kitchen. The difference, then, was obviously the shaker. But why? It turns out that using a shaker and making each cocktail individually increases the aeration of the egg white, which makes for a lighter drink. This, in turn, makes the lemon flavor more prominent. So now you know – never skimp on a shaker, especially when it comes to Pisco Sours!