The Feather Boa



The theme for this month’s Mixology Monday (hosted at Sloshed) is brandy. I’ve been taking a bit of a look at pisco recently (check posts here, here, here, here and especially here), so brace yourselves for some more pisco brandy.


Some weeks back I made a dead simple and intuitive pisco drink, a Pisco Sour sweetened with St. Germain elderflower liqueur.


1 ½ oz pisco

¾ oz lemon juice

¾ oz St. Germain


Shake over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.


I am sure a lot of people must have thrown this one together before. The pisco and St. Germain work extremely nicely together. Both come through strongly but neither really dominates. Of course the more robust your pisco the stronger the pisco taste is going to be, so consider upping the St. Germain a little when using a stronger flavored pisco. Not much else to say since this one speaks for itself. If it isn’t sweet enough add a dash of simple syrup or increase the St. Germain.


For a variation you could try adding an egg-white.


Then I made it again but with an a teaspoon of Marie Brizard Tangerine. Also very nice and maybe better than the original.


Then, getting ahead of myself as usual, I started thinking about what I could call the thing. Obviously it needed a Peruvian name. Those with an encyclopedic knowledge of Catholicism could probably have come with with a Peruvian saint and wittily combined that the St. Germain. Unfortunately I’m not well versed in these things. Instead I thought of the Peruvian/Amazonian boa constrictor. The Art Deco style of cocktail glasses and the St. Germain bottle design led me from there to the image of a feather boa. Suddenly it seemed obvious that the world needed a pisco cocktail called the Feather Boa. The Feather Boa probably needed to be pink, but it certainly wasn’t going to taste pink. So the recipe got reworked again, and naturally things started getting out of hand – as they have a habit of doing as soon as a feather boa makes an entrance.


I tried


1 ½ oz pisco

¾ oz lemon juice

¾ oz St. Germain

½ tsp grenadine

1 tsp Tuaca



Why did I add Tuaca? Well I had tried a couple of Pisco cocktails from that combined pisco with Galliano. Somebody obviously believes the pisco-vanilla combination works well. Personally I think the vanilla-heavy Galliano too easily overpowers pisco and the end result is just a bit weird. Tuaca on the other hand has a much milder vanilla flavor, and unlike Galliano it has a grape brandy base and some citrus notes. Intuitively Tuaca should be a much better match for Pisco than Galliano – which is a fine liqueur but a devil to mix with. Therefore I decided to give Tuaca a try in the Feather Boa. The idea was to introduce some vanilla to heighten the sense of sweetness without actually being cloying – the addition of vanilla makes a thing taste sweeter than it really is. Moreover, the use of Tuaca would still add a little citrus just as the Manderine had done. The result is pretty good though the citrus in the Tuaca is too faint to be detectable.


Then I made it again with 1 tsp maraschino instead of the Tuaca. Excellent! Better than the Tuaca. You get just the ghost of a taste of cherry in the mix which really improves things.


Despite having just made a really nice drink I then decided to do something completely different, and thus produced the version I finally settled on. Apologies for being long winded, but I really did go through a range of options.


Having recently done a bit of an exploration of the Daiquiri (check here), including the excellent maraschino and grapefruit version, I decided some grapefruit juice could add complexity and bitterness, and maybe even a touch of pink. I also decided that if I was playing around with introducing a ghostly little flavor in the back of the St. Germain then chocolate would probably work better than almost anything else, and would also go nicely with grapefruit. I probably also had the chocolate and vermouth spiked Floridita Daiquiri in the back of my mind. So I came up with the following, final version.


Feather Boa (another ‘final’ version below)


1 ½ oz pisco

¾ oz lemon juice (lime may be better but I had none available)

½ oz grapefruit juice

¾ oz St. Germain

½ tsp grenadine

½ tsp Tuaca

½ tsp Crème de Cacao


This is seriously nice, and just a little unusual. It probably still needs a little tweaking though. Suggestions anyone? On first taste it seemed well balanced but it seemed to get more and more sour as I went. Maybe the Tuaca could be upped to 1 tsp? I wouldn’t want to increase the Creme de Cacao because it is already quite noticeable.


I like that this drink contains a lot of different fruity flavors, is light without being sweet, and has a little bitterness to make things interesting. It’s a little like a cross between a new style and old style drink. The heavy dose of fruit juice reminds me of contemporary cocktails, while the relatively restrained sweetening reminds me more of older drinks. Anyway, I think it has potential.

No photograph of the final (pink) version of the drink. Sorry, it was so tasty it sort of evaporated. I’ll try it again tomorrow.

I did try it again the next day and did the following

Final Revision(?)

2 oz pisco

1/2 oz lime juice (lime seems nicer than lemon in this)
1/2 oz grapefruit juice

3/4 oz St. Germain

1 tsp Tuaca

1/2 tsp Creme de Cacao

1/2 tsp Grenadine

This seems a slight improvement on the above. I’ve given it to a few people and no complaints so far.  The issue I guess is far too many ingredients, making it a bit fiddly to make.

2 Responses to “The Feather Boa”

  1. SLOSHED! » Blog Archive » Mixology Monday XXIII: Brandy Says:

    [...] Seamus at Bunny Hugs started at the drawing board with a bottle of pisco to bring us his very own Feather Boa. [...]

  2. Grant Dingwall Says:

    this is kinda weird, last year i made a drink with similiar ingredients,
    1 1/4oz Pisco
    3/4oz St Germain
    1/3oz Lemon Juice
    Shake and strain into a foam (made of lemongrass syrup, chartreuse elixir vegetal and egg whites) and topped with soda

Leave a Reply