Add Coconut To Give Your Next Pisco Sour A Tropical Twist

If you're tired of your tried-and-true pisco sour, which combines pisco with simple syrup, citrus, egg whites, and bitters, why not get experimental? The citrus addition already evokes something tropical, so embrace the theme with complementary flavors. For an ultra-summery cocktail, add yet another island-worthy ingredient: coconut.

The flavors of coconut and pisco work particularly well together, as pisco, the national spirit of Peru, comes with floral notes. It therefore balances well with sweet, versatile, and nutty coconut, as evidenced by the slew of recipes, both online and in bars across the country. For example, Chris Hoekman, lead bartender at Margaux at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids, makes a pisco-based cocktail called "The Emperor's New Groove." He tops the glass with a fluffy coconut foam. That way, you get to drink the cocktail through the coconut, he told Tasting Table. 

The addition of coconut not only offers a new flavor but also a new texture, imparting oomph to your cocktail. However, a creamy foam is not the only way to incorporate coconut into your next pisco drink. Although coconut cream has long yielded success in rum-based Caribbean cocktails, it's just one of many potential pairings.

For a tropical twist on Peruvian pisco, add your preferred form of coconut

Coconut cream, coconut water, coconut syrup — the tropical mainstay comes in all shapes and forms, making it a home bartender's dream. If you're new to mixology, however, you may want to start simple by stirring in coconut water or even coconut syrup rather than getting too technical. Recipes for cocktails with these elements don't require additional stages, like foaming a cream. 

However, in adding these coconut iterations rather than a cream, you miss out on textural changes. Making a foam can prove challenging, admitted Hoekman, as it runs the risk of turning runny. Recipes for coconut foam are, indeed, labor-intensive; some even combine coconut milk, coconut cream, and condensed milk, among other ingredients. Yet when successful, a coconut foam proves delicious and makes for a drink whose summer flavors can be enjoyed year-round.

As such, try experimenting with both your technique and form of coconut. From there, you can also toy with other ingredients that evoke other places. Try pineapple for all things tropical. Or, add Thai basil, per Margaux's example, and you'll combine the flavors of Southeast Asia, South America, and the Caribbean — all in one drink. How's that for an all-encompassing cocktail?