Chilcano – Classic Recipe & History

Chilcano Cocktail
Chilcano Cocktail

Think of this as a Peruvian Moscow Mule, but the bitters add a nice spice. Invented somewhere in the early 1900s in Peru, it can be prepared with simple syrup and bitters or without. While the bitters add a nice kick to the drink, if you choose to prepare it without syrup and bitters, I would add 1 oz (30mls) of ginger beer. The chilcano predates the Moscow Mule, but it is unknown if the chilcano had any influence on creating the Moscow mule in Los Angeles.

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Chilcano

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: Peruvian
Servings

1

servings
Calories

221

kcal
ABV

10%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a Classic Chicano.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice

  • 1 tsp Simple Syrup

  • 3 dashes Angostura Bitters

  • 2 oz Pisco

  • 4 oz Ginger Beer

Directions

  • Add ice to the serving glass. Combine all the ingredients in the serving glass.
  • Give the drink a couple turns to chill and mix.

Notes

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Pisco Sour – The Classic 1920s Peruvian Recipe

Pisco Sour
Pisco Sour

The History Of The Pisco Sour.

There is a debate whether the Pisco Sour was invented in Peru or Chile, and it has merit. Both Peru and Chile argue who created Pisco in the first place, and while similar drinks may have been made around the same time in both areas, the recipe that is considered canon was invented in Lima, Peru, in the 1920s by Victor Morris. Victor Morris was most likely making a sour with egg whites and using the local spirit pisco as the base, an American immigrant living in Peru. He also is most likely the actual inventor of this cocktail. Mixing drinks in this style was an American and British way of making drinks. The local Peruvians or Chileans were most likely drinking their pisco straight.

What Does The Pisco Sour Taste Like?

Many Americans have not heard of the Pisco Sour or even know what Pisco is, for that matter. Pisco is typically an unoaked brandy from Peru and Chili. Both countries claim to have invented it, but no one knows who made it first. Most likely, both counties distilled wine and made Pisco around the same time. Pisco is a beautiful spirit that tastes like a cross between brandy and vodka. Pisco has the standard brandy notes of grape and earthy red wine flavors but lacks the vanilla oak flavors of French or American brandy. Since it is not aged, it has a much drier taste, too, similar to vodka. Traditionally it is sipped neat so the subtle flavors can be savored.

The Pisco Sour tastes like a drier whiskey sour with egg whites. (I prefer to call a whiskey sour with egg whites a Boston Sour). The part that is concerning for most people before trying a Pisco Sour is its knowledge of egg whites. When people hear eggs, they think of scrambled eggs but should be comparing them to a meringue; when shaken vigorously, the egg whites foam into a sweet cocktail infused with divine meringue. Not only is this a good-tasting cocktail, but it’s also amazing.

How To Order a Pisco Sour.

This isn’t really a cocktail you can just order anywhere. This maybe one you end up making at home more often than not. Most normal bars won’t make this for you or they won’t even have Pisco stocked. The Pisco Sour can be ordered at either: 1) A high end craft cocktail bar. 2) Bars that make other cocktails with egg whites. 3) A bar with the Pisco sour on the menu obviously. 4) A Peruvian or Chilean restaurant. And again there is no harm in politely asking if the bartender can make one.

How To Get Egg White Right In Cocktails.

Cocktails with egg whites are difficult cocktails to get right, and anyone who says otherwise is projecting a false image. Everyone who has made a fizz has had one of these pops open on them while shaking, only to make a mess. The best advice I can pass on to making any fizz cocktail is it comes down to 2 things; Technique and chemistry. A common technique that works very well is using a dry shake. A dry shake is shaking all your ingredients together without ice first to make forming the foam easier. The foam will still form with ice, but you will work twice as hard for half the result if you shake with ice first. The first shake is only about 20-30 seconds of vigorous shaking, but this is the part that forms most of your foam. A little tip here is to wrap a kitchen towel around the seal of your shaker because no matter how strong you are or how tight your grip, it will pop open a little. As the egg whites unfold, they can expand up to 8x their original size, thus increasing the pressure inside the shaker and forcing small amounts of the sugary egg mix to squirt out. Wrapping a small towel around the shaker will catch this and keep things clean.

Next and more important is chemistry. You have to get the science right for egg whites to foam properly. Denaturing/unfolding egg protein into a meringue is more science than brawn, and a friend of mine who is a baker once gave me this advice for how she made meringue at the bakery.

  1. Keep it room temperature.
  2. Use an acid to help break the proteins hydrogen bonds and unfold it in addition to beating it.
  3. Use sugar to stabilize the foam from collapsing and to form smaller bubbles.

A mistake I made for a long time was using eggs fresh from the fridge. Even if I’m doing a dry shake, I’m still starting with cold ingredients. So take the eggs out and let them come to room temperature first. Cold egg protein is much more stable and difficult to break apart than if it is at room temperature. The next tip is to use acid. Bakers will use cream of tartar as the acid helps accelerate the denaturing process along with beating it. In the cocktail, we use lemon or lime juice. It is much, much harder to form a foam without using an acid. The last bit of advice is to use sugar to stabilize the foamed protein from collapsing. A sweet liqueur alone isn’t enough. I’ve tried making fizzes with just liqueurs for sweeter alone, and they have never formed a good foam. This needs real simple syrup. If you don’t use sugar in your Fizz, what will happen is the foam will develop, but it will collapse back into the liquid just as fast, and you will be left with a thin layer of lame bubbles on top. It will still taste the same and be good, but that beautiful foam will be gone, and for these drinks, the large foam head is the garnish. The sugar makes the water “wetter” and helps keep the suspended air inside from combining into larger bubbles. This helps form a smoother micro bubble foam.

Cocktails with egg whites are some of the most elegant and sublime cocktails, but they are not the easiest to make. Eventually, you can get to a point where you can make them correctly and consistently, but it can take a while and many failed attempts. Hopefully, the tips I gave help shorten that journey. There are a lot of tips and tricks out there for making fizzes, and I tried to keep mine reasonable and realistic, but see what works for you. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and still, I have the occasional one that doesn’t foam up well, even though I make them all the same. It’s just the nature of the egg sometimes, and I accept it and make it again.

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Pisco Sour

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: Peruvian
Servings

1

servings
Calories

214

kcal
ABV

17%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the a classic Pisco Sour.

Ingredients

  • 1 Whole Egg White

  • 2/3 oz Lemon Juice

  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup

  • 2 oz Pisco Sour

  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients except bitters in the shaker without ice. Shake dry for 30 second – egg foams better when not cold.
  • Now add ice to the shaker. Vigorously shake again till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Strain into glass to remove ice shards. Add a couple drops of bitters on top to decorate

Notes

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If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
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El Capitan – Make This Fantastic Early 1900s Cocktail

El Capitan Cocktail
El Capitan Cocktail

The History Of The El Capitan Cocktail.

Many online resources claim the El Capitan cocktail was invented in Peru during the early 1900s, but they offer evidence other than the fact that it has Pisco in it. The oldest recipe for the El Capitan I was able to find comes from the 1935 Old Waldorf Astoria cocktail book. Just because it has pisco doesn’t mean it came from Chile or Peru; for example, the pisco punch was invented in the 1890s in San Francisco. I’m willing to believe the El Capitan cocktail came from pre-prohibition New York. The Old Waldorf-Astoria book is the first record of it, and during that time, there were many variations on the Manhattan cocktail being made in New York City, which this drink resembles. Often, a romanticized history is made up when the exact origin of food or beverages is unknown.

The History Of The Original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

The original Waldorf Hotel was opened in 1893 by William Waldorf Astor of New York. Named after the town of Waldorf, Germany, the Astor Families’ ancestral home, the Waldorf was the apex of luxury New York hotels at its opening. A few years later, in 1897, as a bit of humorous rivalry, William’s cousin, John Jacob Astor IV, would open the Astoria Hotel right across the street. John built the Astoria in the same renaissance revival style and even commissioned the same architect, but made sure to make his hotel a little bit bigger than William’s Waldorf Hotel. Named after the town of Astoria, Oregon, The city founded by John Jacob Astor senior in 1811, the Astoria Hotel was an even more beautiful version of the Waldorf. Fun facts: Astoria, Oregon, is the oldest American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains and the location of the film Kindergartner Cop, starring the great Arnold Schwarzenegger. Also, John Jacob Astor IV helped develop early versions of the turbine engine, wrote sci-fi books, and was one of the most famous Americans to perish with the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.

The rivalry was short-lived, though, and the two hotels joined together almost immediately, forming the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1897. Opened on the Waldorf side of the hotel, the Waldorf-Astoria bar was one of the top bars in New York, serving wealthy socialites. From 1897 to 1919, the Waldorf-Astoria bar stood as a testament to the pre-prohibition elite bar scene and helped solidify many of the American classics we know today. With the closing of the bar in 1919 and many of the New York elites moving further north, the hotel’s image became dated, and its current structure and location needed to change too. In 1929 the company sold its hotel on 5th and 34th to Empire State Inc. and began constructing the more modern Waldorf-Astoria on Park Avenue. The original hotel was demolished and replaced by the Empire State Building. Hoping to preserve the legacy of the original hotel’s bar, the company’s publicist, Albert Crockett, managed to collect and publish most of the bar’s classic cocktail recipes in part IV section A of “The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book.” He added popular present-day (1934) cocktails in Section B but maintained that section A of the book had all the original recipes from the hotel’s old days.

Recipe Resources

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El Capitán Cocktail

2 from 1 vote Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

158

kcal
ABV

25%

Total time

3

minutes

The Classic Waldorf Astoria Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 1.5 oz Pisco

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 20 – 30 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass.

Notes

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If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

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Pisco Punch – Duncan Nicol’s Classic 1890s Recipe

Pisco Punch Cocktail
Pisco Punch Cocktail

The History Of The Pisco Punch.

Invented in the 1890s at the Bank Exchange Saloon in San Francisco, the Pisco Punch recipe was kept a closely guarded secret by its creator Duncan Nicol. Over time, people learned that Duncan Nicols punch contained Pisco, gum syrup, pineapple juice, and lemon juice, but the exact proportions have always remained hidden. Mr. Nicol would even pre-mix large drink containers in the backroom by himself so no one could see him make it. Some believed it even contained some cocaine. Once prohibition kicked in in 1920, Duncan Nicol shut the doors of the Bank Exchange Saloon and retired from bartending at the age of 65. Even after closing his bar, he never revealed the full recipe. So keep in mind that this is not the original recipe, but an assumption of what that original recipe could have been based on comparing all the different versions of the drink.

The Pisco Punch’s Secret Ingredient And Original Recipe.

No one knows the exact recipe for this cocktail, as its creator, Duncan Nicol, took it to the grave with him in 1926. Duncan Nicols went to great lengths to ensure his Pisco punch recipe stayed a secret and would pre-mix it alone. When he sold it, people began to guess that it most likely contained pisco, gum syrup, pineapple juice, and lemon juice. Many even believed it had cocaine as a secret ingredient to provide a bit of a pick me up. That wouldn’t be too unusual during that period as cocaine was not regulated, and several other beverages had it. (That’s actually how Coca-Cola started as an American version of French coca wine.) No one ever found out about the promotions, though the recipe I have provided here is an averaging of all the different variations of this cocktail. Averaging doesn’t always produce the best recipes, but I think it’s spot on.

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Download The Official Vintage American Cocktails App

Discover what classic cocktails you can make right now with the ingredients you have. Check out the Vintage American Cocktail app.

Pisco Punch

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

183

kcal
ABV

18%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a classic Pisco Punch.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice

  • 1/3 oz Gum Syrup

  • 1 oz Pineapple Juice

  • 2 oz Pisco

Directions

  • Add ice to the serving glass. Combine all the ingredients in the serving glass.
  • Give the drink a couple turns to chill and mix.

Notes

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Make Cocktails Like A Pro

If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
  • Tips and tricks from years of experience.
  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.