A man should never face eldritch horrors without a drink in hand
What to order at the Bar Cordano in Lima
I still remember the electric charge that ran up my spine while I read the newspaper article about Larkin’s Peruvian expedition. Everything about it appealed. A cynic might suggest that I just needed a way to put several thousand miles between me and the troubles piling up at home, but that’s not fair: this represented more than just an excuse to dodge a few subpoenas.
For one thing, I’d always enjoyed overseas travel, and foreign watering holes in particular: there are few things in life more thrilling than walking into a new barroom, in a new country, and ordering a cocktail you’ve never tried before. I might have to pay for my own pisco on this trip — instead of sending the bill to Uncle Sam as I once did — but I loved the idea of embarking on a mixological world tour in Lima.
And there was also a strong sentimental appeal: this Larkin project seemed like it might be enough of an adventure that I’d have something to write my kids about. Maybe they’d even write back this time. Yes, despite what those sneering political reporters might write about me, I do have a heart… even if I do keep it safely tucked away beneath a layer of gin.
Long story short: I had no sooner finished reading the article than I dashed off a telegram volunteering my services.
A few weeks later, as I first sipped that pisco sour at the Bar Cordano, it felt like I had made the right decision.
Little did I know.
Despite its simplicity, the pisco sour is contested territory. Chileans claim the pisco sour as their national drink, and so do the Peruvians. Likewise, both nations claim pisco brandy as their own heritage. No matter where it started, suffice it to say that the Bar Cordano in Lima makes a mean pisco sour. And so can you:
2 ounce Pisco
1 ounce lime (or lemon) juice
½ ounce simple syrup*
White of one small egg
(*To make simple syrup: heat 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar in a saucepan, stir to dissolve)
Shake the egg white in your cocktail shaker along with the pisco, lemon, and simple syrup for 30 seconds. This is your “dry shake”: it creates the foam that is the hallmark of a good pisco sour. Open up your cocktail shaker, add a couple handfuls of ice, close it back again, and shake hard for another 30 seconds. Strain the drink into a chilled cocktail glass. Add a few drops of bitters and use a toothpick to create a pattern.