Back in the dark days of college, I drank whiskey sours. They were fast and easy, tart and sweet and boozy all at once. But they weren't really whiskey sours. Sure, there was whiskey, probably Jim Beam. And there was something sour and sweet, but it came from a packet and I for one have no idea what was in it. I shudder to even think on it now. Dark days indeed!

A change came in my own drinking habits around six or so years ago. It all began with an appreciation for fresh-sqeezed juices in a cocktail. It sounds oh so simple now. I also learned that simple syrup is really, well, simple to make. Whiskey sours were forever changed, but tasty as they were, they really didn't match up well against other sour drinks that had made it into the usual rotation--South Sides, French 75s, Daiquiris, Mojitos.  Until last summer, I don't think I had made or ordered a whiskey sour in over five years, and it might have been longer. But that was before I had made that one last jump to become a real cocktail enthusiast: I had to tackle the egg.

The Pink Lady was the first drink I ordered that included an egg white. It changed my mind about drinking cocktails containing eggs. It is safe to say it changed my mind about eggs in general, but that is a longer tale. Soon thereafter, I embarked on my own egg white adventure and made a whiskey sour. I shook that shaker without and with ice, and until my arms hurt. The conclusion was: Wow! Without the egg, the whiskey sour is refreshing and tasty. But what this drink gains from the egg white is an incredible velvety texture and this luscious foam. Everything I had previously thought about the whiskey sour changed.

A year has passed, and, even though they are a pain in the ass to make, egg white drinks are pretty common in my cocktail rotation. Whenever Tracy is making some homemade ice cream, which uses a lot of egg yolks, I am tasked with finding a use for the leftover whites. And in the summer, we have homemade ice cream as often as we can. Now the whiskey sour is one of my favorite egg white drinks, but during the summer we like to change things up and drink pisco sours. And boy should we be drinking these year-round.

Pisco Sour

2 ounces pisco
3/4 ounce lemon juice (or lime)
3/4 - 1 ounce simple syrup (to taste)
1 egg white
several dashes Amargo Chuncho bitters (sub Angostura or other aromatic)

Shake all ingredients except bitters in long and hard, pehaps using the hawthorne strainer coil for assistance. Fill shaker with ice and shake for 10 second more or so. Strain into a chilled double old fashioned glass. Garnish foam with bitters. I used a toothpick to achieve the swirling effect. 

The aroma wafting from the glass full of bitters -- spicy and warm. There is also the slightest hint of the citrus that is lying in wait.  This drink is one that needs to be waded into. First you must pass through the creamy citrusy foam with the bitters' spice wafting in your nose. Then there is the velvety texture of the drink below, heavy with pisco and citrus. The dominance of the pisco mellows with each sip leaving you with a refreshing and smooth libation. You wouldn't think that egg drinks make such fine summer beverages, but they are richly textured, but not heavy. Though there is much debate over which citrus comprises the true pisco sour, the drink is equally good using lemon or lime juice, just different. Sometimes different variations can be equally pleasant regardless of a drink's historical authenticity. I just happened to have lemons in the house. The egg white helps bring the entire drink together, as the proportion of citrus to syrup might on its own seem altogether too tart. Pisco is the star of this cocktail and you will notice its spice and smokiness and on every sip.