International Pisco Sour Day
the first Saturday in February
International Pisco Sour Day stems from National Pisco Sour Day, which was established as an official government holiday in Peru in 2003, to honor the pisco sour drink. The name of the drink stems from its base liquor, pisco. In the sixteenth century, Spanish settlers began making aguardiente from fermented grapes. The liquor has been called pisco since at least 1764, being named after the Peruvian port it was shipped out of. The name began being used for aguardiente that was made in Chile as well.
Both Peru and Chile claim the pisco sour as their national drink, and claim pisco liquor as their own. Although evidence shows the drink was created in Peru, a debate over the drink's origin persists, and has been a piece of contention between the two countries. The Peruvian version of the drink has a Peruvian pisco base, lime juice, syrup, egg whites, Angostura bitters, and ice. The Chilean version uses Chilean pisco and pica lime, but does not use bitters or egg whites.
The drink was invented in the early 1920s in Lima, Peru, by American bartender Victor Vaughen Morris, who developed it as a variation of the whiskey sour. He opened Morris' Bar in Lima in 1916, and it was frequented by the Peruvian upper class and English-speaking foreigners. The first mention of the drink appears in the September 1920 issue of the Peruvian magazine Hogar. A 1921 magazine attributed Morris as its inventor, and an advertisement for the drink appeared in a newspaper in Valparaiso, Chile, in 1924. The drink evolved during the early 1920s. In July of 1924, Mario Bruiget began bartending at Morris', and added egg whites and Angostura bitters to the drink, making it what it is today.
The drink began to spread after Morris closed his bar in 1929; bartenders went on to work at other places and brought the recipe with them. It made its way to California in the 1930s, being found as far north as San Francisco. By the 1960s it could be found in New York. It began being served by luxury hotels in Lima, Peru, in the 1940s. Today it is known around the world, making it fitting it is celebrated with an international holiday.
How to Observe
Drink a pisco sour to celebrate the day! There are a few ways you could make it:
- Peruvian version
- Chilean version—to make it more authentic use a Pica lime
- International Bartenders Association version
Pisco sours pair well with ceviche, a popular Peruvian dish, so it may be fitting to make this dish as well. Other seafood dishes also pair well with the drink.