Picked up a bottle of Pisco to try a Pisco Sour and are now looking for other Pisco-based drinks to try? By a strange coincidence, I am as well! This is a much simpler drink, and not as fun as the Pisco Sour, but still enjoyable. I’ve also seen it referred to as simply a “Chilcano.”

Chilcano de Pisco

Pour a shot or two of Pisco over ice into whatever tumbler or highball glass you have handy. Fill with ginger ale. Add in a squirt of lemon juice and a shake or two of angostura bitters. Garnish with a slice of lemon.

As you can see, it’s an exact recipe. The core of it is Pisco and ginger ale similar to a rum & coke. In fact, I’ve seen some recipes that stop right there, and that’s an enjoyable drink. If you’re feeling like you simply must measure things, 6:1 ale to Pisco seems about standard. The lemon juice and bitters make it more fun, but it’s a subtle change. This is a summery drink, which Christy also enjoys sampling.

This is the cocktail I most associate with internet drinks, mainly because cocktail bloggers and devotees seem to have revived it in the past few years. While I like an Aviation, it tends towards being a little too sweet or tart to be one of my favorites. Still, the drink is intriguing, so I find myself returning to it. I’ve heard that Maraska instead of Luxardo might alter it more to my liking, but for now I’ve only had Luxardo maraschino liqueur.

Which brings us to maraschino liqueur. If you haven’t before, it’s worth trying but it really doesn’t taste anything like those bright red “cherries” in a jar. There is some cherry flavor, but it’s subtle, and the liqueur is a clear syrup. It’s powerful stuff, which is why I tend to recommend it in moderation.


2 oz gin
1/2 oz maraschino liqueur
1/4 oz lemon juice

Shake over ice, garnish with a cherry.

Now, a couple of notes:

  1. use a dry gin. Sapphire works just fine, and I actually like it better than Plymouth in this case. Save the aromatic gins for a martini, the maraschino is just going to fight with them.
  2. Go easy on the maraschino and lemon juice. I see both of those increased in some recipes, and I think they just take over at that point. The lemon juice should be softening and complementing the maraschino liqueur, but not a huge presence on its own. The maraschino liqueur, at least the Luxardo that I have, is powerful stuff. It can easily take over your drink, which really isn’t the point.


Note that the above is me breaking a few rules. For one thing, that’s Magellan gin, which looks pretty cool but doesn’t work very well here. Since it works so fabulously in a martini, save it for that. Also, I added a lemon twist, which again isn’t as good as the original recipe’s call for a cherry.

23. January 2007 · Comments Off on Sidecar · Categories: Cocktails · Tags: , , , , , , ,

This entry is unusual in that I tend to avoid posts about drinks I don’t really enjoy. It’s often a sign that I haven’t figured the drink out, yet. That may be the case here, but perhaps it’s just my lack of interest in brandy and general wariness of lemons. Sidecars do come up somewhat often, and since they’re a good way to use up some of that brandy that’s hanging around after making mulled wine, I wanted to revisit it. After some experimentation this is the version I’ve enjoyed the most:


1.5 oz brandy
1 oz cointreau
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice

Shake over ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass (I’ve also seen it served in an old-fashioned glass). Garnish with a lemon twist, preferably flamed if you’re really classy.

This is less brandy and less lemon juice than is usually called for, although I do tend to pour the brandy somewhat generously. I also like more cointreau than is usual, something reflected in this recipe.


This cocktail came about since I had accepted a dubious mission. Namely, making dinner. Now, I don’t mind cooking dinner, it’s just that I have a few things I know how to do well, and when I move beyond that arena there is a high potential of Bad Things Happening. I just don’t have the familiarity with the terms and process so end up with everything needed to happen at one point, and finding myself chopping the garlic as the onions are burning. I decided to get myself in the mood, I’d revisit the Sidecar. I happened to have fresh lemons on hand, which provided enough juice for me to experiment a couple of times to find the version I liked the best (above).

Having succeeded in something that seemed close to cooking (a recipe, multiple ingredients, what can be the difference?), I opened the cookbook and started working.

Chris Cooking with Sidecar

Alas, the Sidecar was of little help. I eventually managed to get my way through a really quite simple recipe involving a forest of some theoretically enchanted broccoli without mucking it up too badly (ok, perhaps there was too much dill). Still, I had my usual moments of panic as all the timers went off, things boiled over and ingredients that needed adding were yet to be chopped. In the end, I have another recipe I now know enough to probably prepare more cheerfully next time, and the feeling that I’ve finally got at least a handle on a cocktail that’s been on my mind for some time.

This is theoretically a bit of a trendy drink these days, but I hadn’t heard of it until National Repeal Day when I noticed it floating about the internets. Christy sent me to BevMo tonight to pick up some wine. Sending me unsupervised to a liquor store with decent selection is a poor financial decision, but I managed to contain myself to just picking up some Pisco. It’s an interesting spirit, it’s actually a brandy based on muscat grapes and has a fairly unique flavor. Not something I need to drink straight, but I had purchased it for a Pisco Sour anyways.

DeGroff’s recipe:

Pisco Sour

1½ oz. Pisco Aba
3/4 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz. Simple Syrup
Several drops of Angostura Bitters
One Small Egg White

Shake all ingredients (thoroughly!) with ice and strain into a small cocktail glass. Sprinkle a few dashes of Angostura Bitters on the foam created by the egg whites.

Ok, the thoroughly bit is my addition, but it’s important. Do your hands hurt? If you pause do you see layers (plural) of ice on the shaker? Ok, you’re almost done. You need to destroy the egg, and in the process produce a foamy drink to float the bitters on.

I often enjoy DrinkBoy’s take on cocktails, and I actually made his first before trying DeGraff’s. DeGraff has a lot more simple syrup and bitters in it, which rounds out the drink and keeps the Pisco from being quite so vocal. I liked it better, and so did Christy, so that’s what is posted above. Finally, a tragic admission, I didn’t have fresh lemon juice which means I used that crap out of a plastic lemon and it’s blatantly obvious in the drink itself. Do yourself a favor and use fresh lemon juice.

The drink is fun, and the egg whites give it an enjoyable texture. The bitters form a nice, orange-brown color, and the bitters and Pisco end up giving it a different flavor up front than at the end. It certainly seems like a summer drink, which perhaps makes sense given its Peruvian (or Chilean, depending on who you ask) origins. I’d love to muck with it and a fresh lemon, although after making two I ended up using more fake lemon “juice” to play with the Combustible Edison mainly due to the fact that it’s fun to play with fire. That and I love me the Campari.

Variations at:
The Art of Drink
DC Drinks
and, of course, Wikipedia

Update: picture of the Pisco Sour (v.1)

Pisco Sour I