Latin America’s influence on cocktails has resulted in numerous iconic inventions, with one of the more overlooked classics being the pisco sour. Though the drink is often made with lime, many hold that the pisco sour is properly made with lemon, hence its arguable lineage from either the whiskey sour or the silver fizz. As for the pisco itself, it is distilled from muscat grapes — introduced to the region by the Spanish centuries ago — and you should know that the Peruvians and the Chileans produce two very different takes on this aromatic spirit.

At Brooklyn’s new Leyenda bar, the Buena Onda (or “cool”) cocktail resembles the slightly sweeter Chilean version; it’s made with Kappa pisco. Bartender and owner Ivy Mix also enhances this spirit with a bit of Argentina in the form of a yerba mate infusion. It’s a subtle shift from what could be thought of as the original pisco sour, and the cocktail seems to deliver the best of both worlds: Mix uses both lemon and lime, balancing complexity with refreshment. The result is a bright flavor with only half an egg white for texture, and still an all-around great way to open the appetite.

No need to pick sides; almost any variation on the pisco can be delicious, but it’s good to know what’s in your glass. While others may be content to order yet another round of mojitos or margaritas; for me, it’s the simple yet luxurious pisco sour that stands out from the rest. Enjoy.

Pisco Sour

Servings: 1 cocktail

Ingredients
2 ounces pisco
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup
1 egg white

Directions: 

  1. Combine liquid ingredients into the small shaker tin and egg white separately into the large tin.
  2. Dry shake without ice for 10 seconds, then add ice to the tins and shake again for 10 seconds.
  3. Strain into a sour glass and garnish with a dash of Angostura bitters and cinnamon on the foam.

Buena Onda Cocktail

Servings: 1 cocktail

Ingredients
2 ounces mate-infused Kappa pisco*
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 fresh lemon juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup
1/2 egg white
3 dashes Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit Bitters

Directions:

  1. Combine liquid ingredients into the small shaker tin and egg white separately into the large tin.
  2. Dry shake without ice for 10 seconds, then add ice to the tins and shake again for 10 seconds.
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a dash of Angostura bitters on the foam.

*Infusion directions:

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of mate per 750 ml bottle and let sit for 8 minutes.
  2. Strain and store for later use.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Check out these cocktails of the week on Food Republic: