Blueberry shrub pisco sour cocktail is a pickle twist on the classic Peruvian pisco brandy sour cocktail using a blueberry shrub syrup drinking vinegar infused with fresh lemon, thyme, coriander and cinnamon, flavoured with low GI cane sugar and preserved with coconut vinegar. This is a gorgeous mauve coloured dessert cocktail that uses a real free range organic egg to add a rich smooth creamy texture and mouthfeel and a Blue Mountains Ironbark honey syrup. The blueberry shrub pisco sour cocktail is garnished with a sprig of fresh thyme in flower with light purple flowers and Amargo Chuncho Peruvian bitters. Blueberry shrub pisco sour cocktail is a delicious dessert cocktail and a celebration of fresh in season Spring blueberries made complex and delicious with sweet spice cinnamon, zesty coriander, fresh lemon and thyme.
What is a pisco sour cocktail? History, Ingredients
A pisco sour cocktail is a Peruvian pisco brandy egg sour cocktail using lime and sometimes lemon juice, sugar, pisco, egg white and bitters. Pisco is also made in Chile and the pisco sour is the national drink of both Peru and Chile. For the basic pisco sour recipe I have referred to David Wondrich’s recipe and notes on execution in Imbibe (2015: 119-121), Simon Difford’s wonderfully helpful article Pisco sour cocktail and Pisco sour (Difford’s recipe), Nico Vera’s Pisco sour recipe and article on The origins of the pisco sour and Anton Forte’s Pisco sour recipe appearing in SBS Food.
Origins – Wondrich, Difford and Vera refer to a pamphlet Nuevo Manual de Cocina a la Criolla published in Lima in 1903 by S.E. Ledesma (1903: 32) as the first known published example of the pisco sour recipe which is called simply ‘cocktail’ and calls for:
“Una clara de huevo, una copa de pisco, una cucharadita de azucar fina, a una gotas de limon…Todo esto se bate en una cocktaslera o ponchera, hasta formar un ponchesito.”
1 egg white, 1 glass of pisco, 1 teaspoon of fine sugar, a few drops of ‘limon’, which Wondrich, Vera and Difford interpret as ‘lime’ (‘limon’ can mean lemon, or lime). There are also modern examples of recipes using lemon instead of lime juice such as the Pisco sour recipe of Anton Forte writing for SBS food. The ingredients are to be shaken or beaten in a cocktail shaker or punch bowl to form a ‘ponchesito’ or as Nico Vera puts it a ‘small punch’.
Simon Difford recommends using sugar syrup rather than fine sugar while Wondrich (2015: 121) helpfully recommends dissolving the sugar in the lime juice prior to adding the pisco and egg white.
Ingredients & measures – The recipes above then agree that the basic ingredients for a pisco sour are:
- Peruvian Pisco Brandy – 2-3 shots
- Citrus juice – lime (Wondrich, Vera, Difford) or lemon (Forte) – ¾ to 1 shot
- Sugar (Wondrich) 1 teaspoon, or simple syrup (Difford, Vera, Forte) – from 20mls to 1 shot
- Egg white – from 1 whole small egg white, ½ to 1 oz. egg white
- Bitters – 3 drops as an ingredient (Forte) and 3 drops as a garnish (Vera, Wondrich)
The 1903 recipe uses considerably less citrus and sugar than modern recipes – a few drops and 1 teaspoon – rather than for example ¾ to 1 shot of citrus juice and ½ a shot of simple syrup.
How to make a pisco sour cocktail? Shaking with ice, blending with ice
In the Nuevo Manual de Cocina a la Criolla as quoted above the method to be used to make a ‘cocktail’ is to use either a cocktail shaker or punch bowl to mix the ingredients together. Interestingly, Simon Difford in his article Pisco sour cocktail recounts that Peruvian bartenders may ‘blend’ a pisco sour with ice rather than shaking with ice. Nico Vera in his recipe for Pisco sour also describes this method of using a blender with ice and recommends using 1 oz. per serving to make the cocktails in batches. Modern recipes such as that of Anton Forte and Nico Vera call for use of a cocktail shaker with ice and this is the method recommended by David Wondrich (2015: 121) in Imbibe. As the pisco sour contains egg white it needs a good shake to emulsify the egg white.
How is the blueberry shrub pisco sour cocktail different?
The blueberry shrub pisco sour cocktail follows the basic recipe for a pisco sour cocktail but swaps out the lemon or lime juice for blueberry shrub syrup and replaces the fine sugar with honey syrup made from Blue Mountains Ironbark honey for a seasonal blueberry pickle twist on the pisco sour cocktail.
Peruvian Pisco Brandy – I have used a Peruvian pisco brandy – Bar Sol pisco as the base spirit – to my taste this pisco has a lovely spiciness.
Blueberry shrub syrup – The blueberry shrub syrup uses fresh in season blueberries paired with fresh lemon, thyme, coriander and cinnamon, sweetened with low GI cane sugar and preserved in coconut vinegar for a spiced and deliciously complex blueberry flavour base. Importantly the shrub syrup adds a lovely and complex fruit, spice and sour flavour to the cocktail acting as both a souring and flavouring agent and gesturing back to the origins of the sour in punch. The spice notes in the shrub complement the spice of the pisco. Shubs are a wonderful way to add sourness and complex flavours to cocktails as through a process of infusion in season fruit and vegetables can be blended with spices, herbs and sugar and preserved with vinegar such as in my pineapple and fennel shrub which is delicious in margaritas or raspberry shrub which adds a delicious and delicate raspberry and lime flavour to a gin fix.
Ironbark honey syrup – The Ironbark honey from the Blue Mountains has a delicious spice flavour that very nicely complements both the pisco brandy and the spices in the shrub – it adds unique flavour along with sweetness to the drink.
Real free range organic egg white – I have used a quality real free range organic egg white.
Peruvian bitters – Peruvian Amargo Chuncho bitters add complex spice in the drink and as a garnish.
How to make a blueberry shrub pisco sour cocktail – The blueberry shrub pisco sour cocktail is made by adding all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and dry shaking, then adding ice and shaking for a further minute to really froth up the egg white. The drink is then strained into a cocktail coupe, garnished with bitters and a sprig of fresh thyme.
Styling – Fancy coupe, fresh thyme sprig & blueberries – The blueberry shrub pisco sour cocktail is a gorgeous light purple colour that matches the amazing light purple flowers on my thyme plant some of which I also added to the shrub for flavour. I have chosen to serve this drink in a vintage cut glass cocktail coupe that features a rose motif. The aroma of thyme conjures sunshine and warmth and the tiny delicate flowers are so beautiful and perfectly match the blueberry colour of the shrub syrup, so I have added a sprig of fresh thyme for a pop of added delicate green and purple colour and a lovely warm herbaceous aroma. I shot this cocktail with some fresh blueberries in the foreground and I recommend serving or garnishing with fresh blueberries as well. The blueberry shrub pisco sour cocktail is a celebration of Spring – new flowers and fruits – fresh in season blueberries and thyme.
Blueberry shrub pisco sour cocktailPrint Recipe
- 1 shot blueberry shrub syrup (follow this link for the full recipe and tips)
- 4 teaspoons 1:1 honey syrup made from Blue Mountains Ironbark honey and hot filtered water, mixed and cooled
- 2 shots pisco Peruvian brandy, Barsol used here
- 3 drops bitters, Amargo Chuncho Peruvian bitters used here
- 1 real free range organic egg white
- Garnish: fresh thyme sprig, drops of Amargo Chuncho Peruvian bitters, fresh blueberries
- Glassware: Coupe
Add the blueberry shrub syrup, Ironbark honey syrup, pisco and bitters and eggwhite to a cocktail shaker
Dry shake for 30 seconds
Add a handful of ice and shake for a further 30-60 seconds until very cold and the ice has dissolved – you cannot hear it loudly clacking against the shaker, the sound of the drink shaking will change to a more fluid and viscose noise
Strain into a cocktail coupe
Carefully drop 3 drops of Amargo Chuncho Peruvian bitters on the surface of the drink to garnish, tease out the sides with a toothpick if desired to create a pretty design
Garnish with a fresh thyme sprig in flower and serve with fresh blueberries
S.E. Ledesma (1903). Nuevo Manual de Cocina a la Criolla.Ledesma - Valladolid: Lima.
David Wondrich (2015). Imbibe.Perigree: New York.
’Limon’: meaning both lemon and lime
Moira Lavelle (2015).Why asking for a lime in Spanish-speaking countries. In PRI.
Online pisco sour recipes and articles
Simon Difford (2019).Pisco Sour cocktail. In Difford’s Guide.
Simon Difford (2019).Pisco Sour (Difford’s recipe). In Difford’s Guide.
Anton Forte (accessed 2019).Pisco sour. In SBS Food.
Nico Vera (2011).Pisco Sour. In Pisco Trail.
Nico Vera (2013).The Origin of the Pisco Sour. In Pisco Trail.