Are you confused about what Pisco is and wondering if there’s something you can use instead to make a delicious Pisco Sour for your guests?
Look no further; here are 4 best substitutes for Pisco in your favorite Pisco Sour cocktail.
Whether it’s white wine, brandy, whiskey or gin, you’ll be sure to find a suitable alternative right here.
Get ready to whip up the tastiest Pisco Sour.
Pisco is a type of brandy produced in the traditional winemaking regions of Chile and Peru.
The spirit has a long history in South America, with its origins dating back to the mid-1500s.
Pisco is made by distilling grapes that are native to either country into a clear, unaged liquor.
It is usually bottled at around 40% ABV and can range in colors from pale golden yellow to deep amber brown.
Typically used as an aperitif or digestif, pisco can also be enjoyed in cocktails and mixed drinks.
One of its most popular uses is in the popular South American sour Pisco Sour.
This cocktail contains pisco, lemon juice, sugar syrup, egg whites and Angostura bitters for an invigorating mix of sweet and sour flavors.
Although it doesn’t have an exact one-to-one substitute for pisco – there are some other types of clear spirits which work really well when creating similar drinks as a Pisco Sour.
Some great examples include grappa, Cachaça, vodka and tequila.
Each type will bring unique flavor profiles to the drink that aren’t found with using pisco alone; so experiment around with these four substitutes until you find a combination you love.
4 BEST Pisco Substitutes in Pisco Sour Drink
We will discuss some of the best alternatives for use in a Pisco Sour drink in case you find yourself unable to purchase the original spirit.
1 – Grappa
Grappa is an Italian brandy made from the leftovers of wine production, usually skins and seeds.
It has a distinct flavor that varies depending on the type of grape variety used in its production and what part of Italy it was produced in.
Grappa has a much higher alcohol content than Pisco, typically around 40% ABV, so it should be used sparingly when substituting for Pisco in a cocktail.
When using Grappa instead of Pisco, be sure to adjust quantities to your taste because the strong flavor can easily overpower other ingredients.
2 – White Tequila
Tequila has long been a popular substitution for Pisco, especially in Latin American countries where tequila is more widely available.
Like Pisco, tequila is made from a single type of agave; however, it is distilled using a process that creates a higher-proof spirit.
Tequila also has its own unique notes of earthiness and sweetness.
When substituting white tequila for Pisco in your favorite cocktail, you can expect the flavor to be slightly spicier and bolder than with Pisco.
Just keep in mind that tequila already contains additives — including sugar—in its distillation process, so you might want to adjust the amount of sugar or other sweeteners you would use when making the drink compared to if you were using Pisco.
3 – Single Malt Scotch
Single malt scotch is a type of whisky that is made from water and malted barley and aged in oak barrels for at least three years.
Scotch has a strong, smoky flavor that can taste bitter to some drinkers, so you may want to try adding a bit of agave nectar for sweetness.
The maltiness of the Scotch pairs nicely with the citrus of the traditional Pisco Sour recipe and it will bring an interesting layer of flavor.
Try using a high-quality single malt scotch for best results.
4 – Cachaça
Cachaça is a type of spirit made from fermented and distilled sugarcane juice, similar to rum but with a distinct grassy flavor.
It is popularly used in Caipirinha cocktails and can be used as an alternative to Pisco when making Pisco Sour drinks.
Since Cachaça combines well with citrus fruits, it can bring out the taste of limes, lemons and oranges in your favorite cocktail.
The high proof alcohol also adds a kick to the drink, making it a popular choice for many mixologists.
When substituting Cachaça for Pisco in a Pisco Sour, use equal measurements of Cachaça to what the recipe calls for in Pisco.
To conclude, in making a tasty Pisco Sour, any of the 4 substitutes listed above should make a good substitution if you don’t have access to Pisco.
For sweet flavorings choose Marc León or Moscatel brandy, while grappa and cognac will give you somewhat lighter after notes.
Whichever you choose, just remember that all spirits have different characteristics and there’s always risk of adventure when substituting one liquor for another.
Those who have become Pisco lovers swear by it as the perfect base for their favorite beverage and are unlikely to be convinced any other option is as tasty.
However, it’s worth a try if you don’t have access to a bottle of Peru or Chilean pisco.
4 BEST Pisco Substitutes in Pisco Sour Drink
- 1 – Grappa
- 2 – White Tequila
- 3 – Single Malt Scotch
- 4 – Cachaça
- Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
- Organize all of your ingredients.
- Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.
Carrie is a food writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked for some of the biggest names in the food industry, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.
As the Editor in Chief of IntroChicago.com, Carrie oversees all of the content on the site. She also manages the team of contributing writers and editors, who help to create delicious recipes, helpful tips, and informative articles that you’ll find on the site.
A native of the Chicago area, Carrie is passionate about all things food. She loves trying new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen. She’s also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, so she knows a thing or two about food!