All the cocktails that I’ve ever posted here have one very important common ingredient — Pisco. Infused Pisco, Pisco with herbal simple syrups, Pisco with citrus, and sometimes, Pisco mixed with other spirits such as Sweet Vermouth, Bourbon, or Rum, but Pisco has always been the star. Except today. For the first time, I am posting a cocktail recipe that does not have any Pisco. What inspired me to break my Pisco rule? My grandmother. Presenting, a cocktail dedicated to my Abuelita Rosa — The Peruvian Whiskey Sour.
My grandmother passed away at the start of 2014, and though I was very sad by her death, it provided my family an opportunity to remember and celebrate her life. In my opinion piece, Peru’s Goddesses of Food, I name Abuelita Rosa as one of my culinary heroes, and I have many memories of the meals she cooked for the entire family in her small kitchen when I was a child. She truly enjoyed preparing Peru’s traditional dishes. But there was one thing few people knew about her. She loved her Whiskey.
So, to honor her love for Whiskey, I imagined us making a Whiskey cocktail together. But what ingredients would we use? What would give it the Peruvian touch? What would be its story? First, the Whiskey. A Whiskey made with quinoa, for the earthy taste of the Peruvian Andes. Then, limes instead of lemons, just like in the Pisco Sour or Ceviche. Finally, simple syrup won’t do, but rather Peruvian raw sugar syrup with herbal hints of cloves, cinnamon, and oranges. No egg whites, no garnish, just those three ingredients.
If she were still here, she would be almost 100 years old. And if I could make this cocktail for her, she would sip it at the kitchen table, her diminutive frame slightly slouched as she used both hands to hold the drink up to her lips while she smiled, almost mischievously. Why? Well, we had just played a trick on the origin story of the Pisco Sour. We had just made the Whiskey Sour more Peruvian. ¡Salud Abuelita! And she would reply with a toothless grin and her song — ♫ Whiskey-te ♫ Whiskey-te ♫ Whiskey-te ♫
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake to chill, and serve strained in a glass or small mason jar topped with ice cubes.