IBA Adventures: Pisco Sour!

So the Pisco Project continues! This time we visit the Official IBA Cocktail list for more Pisco fun.

The IBA (International Bartenders Association) list of Official Cocktails is THE go-to for the real recipe to Classics, the actual list of recognized Classic drinks, and a nice little guide of 40+ cocktails to memorize (I forget from time to time, but there is an app for that!).

For this particular Pisco fun, we reference the only Cocktail on the list with Pisco in it – the Pisco Sour! 

Pisco Sour, for all intents and purposes, is built much like a Whiskey Sour, with the liquor, citrus juice, and syrup. The Pisco Sour however adds one more fun ingredient – RAW Egg White. The Egg adds the extra froth to the drink, giving a good look and also, a little more of a soft touch in a way to the strong presence this drink brings to the table.

For this Pisco Sour project I took two different Pisco’s (Chilean and Peruvian) and three different recipes, just for kicks.

I’m sure this pair looks familiar, since we just talked about them the other day.

Peruvian (left) and Chilean (Right) - Pisco Power ups!

Peruvian (left) and Chilean (Right) – Pisco Power ups!

The first Pisco Sour recipe I used, the original IBA version, goes like this:


IBA Sanctioned Recipe; Dirty Hour Approved Awesome

IBA Sanctioned Recipe; Dirty Hour Approved Awesome

Pisco Sour: IBA Version

  • 1.5oz Pisco
  • 1oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2/3oz Simple Syrup
  • 1 raw egg white
  • Angostura Bitters

Add all ingredients to a shaker without ice and shake (Dry Shake) a few times. Then, add ice, and shake well; use a strainer and strain into wine glass. Couple dashes bitters for fun and style.

This was an excellent drink. I would compare and say it was a frothy Whiskey Sour – and the unique flavor profile of both Pisco’s bring out that extra goodness that the egg whites provide with the Angostura.

The Inca Gold (Peruvian Pisco) version came on with a strong flavor profile, and the strength of Pisco. This Pisco added to the lemon and sugar that give the drink that whetting and appetite building push.

The Alto del Carmen (Chilean Pisco) version could be the embodiment of a near perfect drink. I loved this version. It had a hint of White Wine flavor on the end of every sip, and that same, strong flavor profile that Inca Gold had – bold, PISCO POWER, and the fresh sweet n sour from the lemon and syrup combo.

The second recipe I tried was the Bartenders Companion, which I have had a copy of for quite some time, and, really have not “tested” a whole lot of recipes, but, here we go!


Pisco Sour, the quick N easy way

Pisco Sour, the quick N easy way

Pisco Sour: Bartenders Companion Version

  • 1.25oz Pisco
  • 2oz Sweet and Sour
  • 3 dashes Angostura

Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice; shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

A pretty basic recipe presented; definitely a quick and easy for a bartender…aannnnnnddd not too shabby. Definitely nowhere near close to the IBA version, but still packs a good punch overall and maintains the concept of the drink as a whole, even without the Egg White addition.

The Inca Gold version had the muskiness of the Pisco come thru, but was overall sharp and crisp still while the Alto del Carmen was sweet and savory, not missing a beat.

For the last version, I went with the The New York Bartender’s Guide.

NYC Bartender take on Pisco Sour

NYC Bartender take on Pisco Sour

Pisco Sour: NY Bartenders Guide:

  • 2oz Pisco
  • 1.5oz Lemon and Lime Juice
  • 1/2 Tablespoon sugar

Add all ingredients to an ice filled shaker. Shake and strain into cocktail glass.


This here was the worst version of the drink. It was pretty much what a crappy dive bar would serve, or a bartender trying to resolve not having the fresh IBA item’s.

The Inca Gold version was very pungent, just basically Pisco with sour in it, and no balance of sweet, and the Alto del Carmen version is less pungent than the Inca Gold, but still very unbalanced and just overpowering, almost just like squeezed lemons dropped into Pisco.

I dumped this into a jug as a Sangria starter, as these just were not proper to drink at all.

So what did we learn on this venture into the Pisco Sour and various recipes?

Well in this instance that the Official IBA version reigns supreme. As I delve further into the Official IBA Cocktail list, I wonder if others will be like this. It also made me wonder about the recipes listed in any place, how they are vetted (if at all), and if something was missed maybe in the recipe on any angle.

I have 30+ Bartending books lying around, in addition to the good old internet.

Looking forward to more of these projects coming down the pipeline and enjoying all the fun I had on this one all over again – Pisco Power!

All the Pisco Sours bringing the Pisco Power

All the Pisco Sours bringing the Pisco Power!


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