I’m going to try a few different pisco cocktails over the next few entries here, just to maintain a little bit of a pisco theme. Some probably won’t be so great. However, there is one excellent one coming up shortly, and hopefully there will be a couple of other good ones besides that.
This one is something I found while looking for something else. It is called a ‘Pisco Bell-Ringer’ and comes from David Wondrich at Esquire.
2 oz pisco (I used Bauza)
2 dashes orange bitters (I used Regans)
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
1 ½ tsp lemon juice
½ tsp simple syrup
Rinse the inside a chilled cocktail glass with apricot brandy and tip out the excess. You want a sweet apricot liqueur here. I used Marie Brizard Apry. Shake above ingredients over ice and strain into the glass.
This is a tasty drink where the pisco really shines. You want to use a nice flavorsome pisco in this one, so get the best you can. Bauza probably wasn’t the greatest choice.
The foundation of this drink is austere – pure spirit with a dash of sourness from the lemon, and an even lighter dash of syrup to balance the thing. But then you have the two types of bitters bringing their own aromatics to the mix and adding plenty of extra interest, with the Pecyhaud’s also giving the drink an attractive hint of pink. The rinsing of the glass with apricot brandy is a nice touch and gives a whisper of apricot as you sip the thing. Make sure the liqueur reaches right up to near the inside rim of the glass though or it may not work too well. While drinking it you probably also want to make sure you keep sipping from different parts of glass to keep getting the apricot (something like you might with a margarita).
I do wonder if this drink wouldn’t be equally good if the syrup in the shaker was simply substituted with a splash of apricot brandy and the whole rinsing the glass thing was dispensed with. That approach may be worth a try, but perhaps it’s less interesting. Apparently this whole concept of a Bell-Ringer (which refers to the rising of a cocktail glass with apricot brandy) was thought up by a 19th Century Chicago bartender named James Maloney who gave the apricot rinse treatment to all kinds of drinks. He must have really liked apricot brandy.
Anyway, however you make it this is a good drink for appreciating the flavor of pisco. It it also the type of recipe you could play around with to suit your own tastes and the brand of pisco you are using – e.g. by varying the types of bitters, level of sweetness, etc.