During my trip to Peru last year, I had the opportunity to explore the Pisco bar scene in Lima, and I discovered a dramatic difference compared to the scene here in San Francisco. Every bar prepared their own Pisco infusions or macerados with herbs or fruits, and they each displayed a wall full of bottles with Pisco of different colors that almost looked like a collection of science experiments. One of my favorite macerados was made using coca leafs, which gave me the inspiration to prepare a new cocktail for National Pisco Sour Day.
Since coca leafs are not available in San Francisco, I looked for something that had a similar flavor profile, and quickly decided on trying yerba mate, the tea leafs that are popular in Argentina and Uruguay, and which I could pick up at my local market. But because infusing the Pisco could take days, I opted to make an infused simple syrup with the yerba mate. A couple of hours in the Pisco Trail lab, and I arrived at a recipe I liked — presenting, an herbal variation of Peru’s National Drink, the Yerba Mate Pisco Sour.
- 3 oz. Pisco
- 1 oz. yerba mate simple syrup
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- 1 oz. egg whites
- Angostura bitters
Mix the Pisco, yerba mate simple syrup, lime juice, and egg whites in a shaker. Add ice and shake for 1 minute to form a thick foam. Serve strained in a cocktail coupe or tumbler and garnish with 3 drops Angostura bitters. Optional — use a toothpick to swirl the drops and create bitters art.
For the Pisco, use a Quebranta grape varietal or an Acholado blend. To make the yerba mate simple syrup, combine 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, and 3 tablespoons loose leaf yerba mate in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a slow boil, stir, and simmer until the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain the yerba mate simple syrup into a mason jar and let cool before using.