All hail the pisco sour. The South American libation (the drink has both Chilean and Peruvian roots) may not be one of LA's signature cocktails, but it should certainly be popping up on your radar more. The steady rise of pisco has lead to some fantastic variations at cocktail bars around the city, whether fruit-infused or traditional, and it's high time we took more notice. Whether you're enjoying it on a rooftop bar or at a dive bar, get to know the best pisco sours in Los Angeles—and spread the word, please.
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Where to find the best pisco sours in LA
The city of Bell creeps up on you suddenly. One minute you are driving along the 710, past a field of warehouses and industrial smoke stacks; the next you are suddenly on Atlantic Avenue, the hub of Bell that includes Eduardo Ruiz's Corazón y Miel, an inviting Latin restaurant that brings curious diners—and drinkers—in from all over LA. The Flor y Miel Sour here is a dream. A tantalizing mix of pisco, cocchi Americano, benedictine and prickly pear is topped with frothy egg white and a gentle squeeze of lime, resulting in a creamy sip that is at once sweet and sour. A solid alternative is Ramon's Pisco Fizz, made with pisco, orange blossom water, lemon, lime and egg white.
Peach-flavored cocktails have the tendency to bring you back to that summer when Peach Schnapps was taken in sips from a plastic flask, passed around a campfire from friend to friend. At FOH, though, peach is upgraded in the form of a pisco sour—or, as it is adorably dubbed here, the Peach-Co Sour. Pisco, peach and a froth of egg white decorated with bitters and bee pollen result in this pretty concoction, as the bitterness of the pollen offsets the sweetness of the peach for a well-balanced, oh-so-smooth cocktail. Enjoy it at the bar or take it out on the patio to sip under string lights and the towering apartment complex across the street.
Smack dab in the middle of Hollywood, Los Balcones is a traditional, rustic Peruvian joint, where you can find plantain fritters, ceviche and all the pisco your heart desires. House infused piscos rotate frequently, but a recent menu included anise, tropical and spicy, along with a berry version that stole our hearts. Made with Capurro Acholado pisco infused with strawberry and lemongrass, it's topped with a frothy egg white and angostura bitters, and makes for a refreshing post-work reward.
Walk through a minimalist barber shop to get to the bar at Blind Barber, a craft cocktail spot in Culver City. Though you may get distracted by their massive grilled cheese menu, you'll want to pay attention to the River Child, too. Kappa pisco is mixed with lime juice, amber agave and a hint of cayenne pepper for some heat, while a frothy layer of egg white sits on top. If the DJ isn't playing prime dance beats, slide into one of Blind Barber's comfortable leather booths and watch Tinder dates awkwardly flirt with varying levels of success.
There are many reasons to visit Odys + Penelope—the grilled meats, pastry chef Karen Hatfield's desserts—but toward the top of the list is the Fino Sour, a beautiful concoction to accompany your meal. Made with pisco, fino sherry, egg white and lemon bitters, the smooth drink almost acts as a dessert itself, with a sweet finish that goes down all too easily.