While researching the last eight Remix columns (tough job, right?), each time I've learned some new piece of cocktail arcana. This month I not only tried pisco for the first time, I fell down the trivia rabbit hole of sours (lemon, sugar and egg white), fizzes (lemon, sugar and club soda) and flips (I'll get to those in another column). The egg white in a sour is what gives it that smooth, thick texture. But by adding club soda to my pisco sour to brighten it up, I learned, I'd put it into the “silver fizz” cocktail category (you guessed it: lemon, sugar, club soda and egg white). Then when I added blackberries, it turned hot pink, so I've dubbed my version the neon fizz.
About pisco: It's a clear Peruvian brandy similar to grappa, raki or marc; like all of those, pisco distilled from grape skins, stems, seeds and pulp*, and like all of those, it's wickedly strong, which is why I wanted to lighten things up with some bubbles. Pisco (which means “little bird” in Quechua) is an ideal player in a mixed drink and the latest bartenders' darling – recipes abound online – but I like a cocktail that doesn't shut you down after just one. After you try the neon fizz, visit our Salivation Army blog (blogs.orlandoweekly.com/salivationarmy) for another pisco cocktail I came up with, the somewhat more rustic basil-blackberry fizz.
classic: pisco sour
• 2 ounces pisco, chilled
• 3/4 ounce lemon juice
• 3/4 ounce simple syrup
• 1 large egg white
• 4 drops Angostura bitters
Place everything but the bitters into a cocktail shaker and shake for 10 seconds. Add ice to the shaker and shake for 10 more seconds, then strain into a chilled rocks glass or coupe. Top with bitters.
remix: neon fizz
• 2 ounces pisco, chilled *
• 1/2 ounce limoncello liqueur
• 1 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
• 2 teaspoons seedless blackberry jelly,
room temperature **
• 1 large egg white
• club soda or seltzer
• fresh whole blackberries
Place the first five ingredients in a chilled shaker, make sure you have a good tight seal, and shake hard for 10 seconds. Open up the shaker, add some cracked ice and shake for another 10 seconds. Strain into a chilled tall glass and fill up with cold fizzy water – careful, it will foam up! Garnish with two or three fresh blackberries on a cocktail pick.
* Note: I used Pisco Portón, a mosto verde blend, which is not actually distilled from pomace but from the first pressing of juice.
** Note: Bonne Maman brand is a good choice here. I specify jelly because it's smoother than jam or preserves, both of which would leave floating fruit bits in the cocktail. Leave the jelly out on the counter for a few hours and it should be loose enough to mix readily; if you don't have time, microwave it at 50 percent power for 10 seconds or so to make it more liquidy. Just don't add the jelly to the shaker while it's still hot or it will scramble the egg white.