Cusco Sour


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Introduction to the Cusco Sour

Discover the vibrant flavors of Peru with the Cusco Sour, a regional twist on the classic Pisco Sour. This cocktail blends the traditional spirit of Pisco with the unique sweetness of chicha morada, a Peruvian purple corn drink. Its rich color and balanced taste make it a standout choice for cocktail enthusiasts.

Originating from the heart of the Andes, the Cusco Sour captures the essence of Peruvian culture. The cocktail’s intriguing mix of ingredients offers a journey through taste, with each sip reminiscent of Peru’s diverse culinary landscape. Let’s dive into the world of this exquisite South American creation.

Whether you’re a seasoned mixologist or a curious beginner, the Cusco Sour is a must-try. Its preparation is an art form, combining technique with the finest local ingredients. Get ready to shake up your cocktail routine with this alluring and refreshing beverage.

Key Facts About the Cusco Sour

  • Alcohol Volume: Approximately 17% ABV (34 proof)
  • Calories: Approximately 200 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: Approximately 15g
  • Preferred Glass: Chilled cocktail glass
  • Typical Garnish: Dash of Angostura bitters

Interesting Facts about the Cusco Sour

  • The Cusco Sour is a testament to Peru’s rich history, incorporating chicha morada, a beverage with roots in pre-Columbian times.
  • Unlike its classic counterpart, the Cusco Sour is traditionally served without ice to prevent dilution and maintain its robust flavors.
  • Chicha morada is not only a key ingredient but also a healthful addition, packed with antioxidants from the purple corn.

Cusco Sour Cocktail

Tasting Notes

The Cusco Sour is a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, and bitter notes. The Pisco provides a strong, grape-based foundation, while the chicha morada adds a subtle fruity sweetness. The lime juice introduces a refreshing acidity, balanced by the smoothness of the simple syrup.

This cocktail is perfect for those who appreciate a drink with depth and complexity. Its unique flavor profile makes it suitable for various occasions, from festive gatherings to a quiet evening at home. The Cusco Sour is a celebration in a glass, ready to delight the palate of any adventurous drinker.

History of the Cusco Sour

The Cusco Sour’s origins are deeply rooted in Peruvian culture, where Pisco has been a staple spirit for centuries. The cocktail is a regional adaptation of the Pisco Sour, which itself is a part of Peru’s national identity. The addition of chicha morada gives the Cusco Sour its distinctive character and ties it to the Andean tradition.

Chicha morada has been enjoyed in Peru long before the Spanish conquest, traditionally made from purple corn, fruits, and spices. Its incorporation into the Cusco Sour is a modern twist, showcasing Peru’s ability to innovate while honoring its past. The cocktail has gained popularity, becoming a symbol of Peruvian pride and craftsmanship.

As the Cusco Sour continues to gain international recognition, it serves as a liquid ambassador for Peru’s rich heritage. Each ingredient tells a story, from the Pisco’s grape varietals to the chicha morada’s ancient roots. The cocktail is not just a drink but a cultural experience, inviting imbibers to explore Peru’s history with every sip.

Cusco Sour Ingredients

  • Pisco (2 oz / 60 ml): The base spirit, Pisco, is a clear, potent grape brandy that provides a robust flavor foundation.
  • Chicha Morada (1 oz / 30 ml): This traditional Peruvian beverage adds a unique sweetness and a deep purple hue.
  • Fresh Lime Juice (1 oz / 30 ml): Adds a necessary citrus tang, balancing the sweetness of the chicha morada and syrup.
  • Simple Syrup (3/4 oz / 22 ml): A sweetener that smooths out the sharpness of the lime juice.
  • Egg White: Creates a silky froth that adds texture and a visual appeal to the cocktail.
  • Angostura Bitters (1 dash): Provides a hint of spice and helps to balance the cocktail’s flavors.
  • Ice Cubes: Used during shaking to chill and dilute the drink to perfection.

Did you know? The Cusco Sour is a testament to the versatility of Pisco, demonstrating its ability to blend seamlessly with a variety of flavors.

Preparing Cusco Sour

Cusco Sour Method


Begin by combining Pisco, chicha morada, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white in a cocktail shaker. This mixture forms the base of the cocktail’s flavor profile.


Add ice to the shaker until halfway full. Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. This step is crucial for chilling the drink and creating the signature frothy egg white foam.


Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass. The straining process ensures a smooth texture, free from ice shards or pulp.


Finish with a dash of Angostura bitters on top of the foam. This not only adds complexity to the flavor but also serves as an aromatic garnish.

Serving Suggestion

The Cusco Sour is traditionally served in a chilled cocktail glass. The choice of glassware is important as it maintains the temperature and showcases the drink’s frothy top and vibrant color.

Garnish with a dash of Angostura bitters. The bitters should be carefully placed on the foam, creating a visually appealing contrast and adding a subtle spice to the cocktail’s aroma.

Elevating the Cusco Sour

  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Freshly squeezed lime juice and homemade chicha morada can significantly enhance the cocktail’s flavor.
  • Proper Technique: A vigorous shake is key to achieving the perfect froth from the egg white.
  • Chill Your Glass: A chilled glass will keep your cocktail at the optimal temperature for longer.

Cusco Sour Cocktail Served

Substitutions and Alternatives for the Cusco Sour

If chicha morada is unavailable, a mix of purple corn juice and additional simple syrup can be used as a substitute. This alternative maintains the cocktail’s signature color and sweetness.

For those who prefer a non-alcoholic version, omit the Pisco and increase the amount of chicha morada and lime juice for a refreshing mocktail.

Similar cocktails include the classic Pisco Sour and the Chilcano, which also feature Pisco as the primary spirit.

Add a Twist

Consider infusing the Pisco with herbs or fruits for an added layer of flavor. A sprig of rosemary or a few berries can introduce new dimensions to the cocktail.

Experiment with different bitters to find your preferred garnish. Chocolate or orange bitters can offer an interesting variation on the traditional recipe.

For a festive touch, garnish with an edible flower or a twist of citrus peel, enhancing both the drink’s appearance and its aromatic qualities.

Preferred Liquors for the Cusco Sour

Select a high-quality Pisco, such as Pisco Portón or Barsol, to ensure the best flavor foundation for your Cusco Sour. These brands are known for their superior taste and authenticity.

When choosing a Pisco, consider the grape varietal used, as it can influence the cocktail’s final taste. A Quebranta or Italia grape Pisco is often recommended for its smoothness and subtle fruit notes.

Similar Cocktails to the Cusco Sour

If you enjoy the Cusco Sour, you might also like the following cocktails:

  • Classic Pisco Sour: The traditional version of the cocktail, focusing on the pure flavors of Pisco and lime.
  • Chilcano: A simpler Pisco-based drink, mixed with ginger ale and a splash of lime for a refreshing twist.
  • Algarrobina Cocktail: Another Peruvian classic, this cocktail combines Pisco with algarrobina syrup for a sweet and creamy texture.

Food Pairings to go with the Cusco Sour

The Cusco Sour pairs well with a variety of foods. Try it with:

  • Peruvian ceviche, where the citrus notes complement the acidity of the marinade.
  • Grilled meats, as the cocktail’s sweetness can balance the charred flavors.
  • Spicy appetizers, where the Cusco Sour’s refreshing qualities can cool the palate.

Cusco Sour FAQs

Can I make a Cusco Sour without egg white? Yes, you can omit the egg white, but you’ll lose the frothy texture that it provides.

Is there a vegan alternative to egg white in the Cusco Sour? Aquafaba, the liquid from canned chickpeas, can be used as a vegan substitute for egg white.

How can I make chicha morada at home? Boil purple corn with pineapple, apple, cinnamon, and cloves. Strain and sweeten with sugar to taste.

What if I can’t find Pisco? While there is no perfect substitute for Pisco, grappa or a mild white brandy could be used as an alternative.

How important is the type of Pisco I use? The grape varietal and quality of Pisco can greatly affect the cocktail’s flavor, so choose a high-quality Pisco for the best results.

Cusco Sour_001

Cusco Sour

The Cusco Sour is a Peruvian cocktail that is a regional variation of the classic Pisco Sour. It incorporates the traditional South American spirit Pisco with the addition of a unique local ingredient: chicha morada, a Peruvian purple corn drink. This blend gives the Cusco Sour its distinctive color and a hint of sweetness, complementing the sourness of the lime and the frothiness of the shaken egg white.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Course Cocktail
Cuisine Peruvian
Servings 1 cocktail
Calories 200 kcal


  • Cocktail shaker
  • Strainer
  • chilled cocktail glass


  • 2 oz Pisco
  • 1 oz Chicha Morada
  • 1 oz Fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 oz Simple syrup
  • 1 Egg white
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Ice cubes


  • In a cocktail shaker, combine the Pisco, chicha morada, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white.
  • Add ice to the shaker until it is about halfway full.
  • Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds to chill the mixture and create a frothy egg white foam.
  • Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass.
  • Add a dash of Angostura bitters on top of the foam for garnish.
  • Serve immediately.


The traditional Cusco Sour does not include ice in the serving glass, as it is meant to be enjoyed without dilution. If chicha morada is not available, it can be substituted with a mix of purple corn juice and additional simple syrup to taste.
Keyword Angostura Bitters, Chicha Morada, Classic Cocktail, Cusco Sour, Egg White, Lime Juice, Peruvian Cocktail, Pisco, Purple Corn, sour cocktail

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