Saturday, March 11, 2023

Celebrate the Oscars and All Special Events with a Pisco Sour (don't have Pisco, use Vodka or Mezcal)

I like watching the Oscars because it's a celebration of filmmaking, one of the world's greatest art forms. We'll watch the Red Carpet beforehand hoping to catch sight of our oldest son who represents one of the actors who is in contention. And, we'll watch the ceremony in real time. No pausing because we know our smart phones will be buzzing all through the ceremony sending us updates about who won for which category. 

So I spent today cooking. I made carrot salad with almonds and golden raisins soaked in rice wine vinegar and seasoned with black pepper. I also made Yukon potato salad with charred corn, carrots and parsley. And Cole slaw with green cabbage, carrots, chopped roasted almonds and the golden raisins, tossed in a sauce of equal parts mayonnaise and sour cream and a splash of rice wine vinegar. 

Tomorrow I will either make brown sugar spare ribs and kimchi chicken wings or fried chicken with honey-butter topping. 

I'll definitely open some of the clams I picked up at Whole Foods to take advantage of their 12 for $12 every Friday sale. I've been enjoying them with classic cocktail sauce and with a recipe I'm working on, a Viet-Chinese style sauce made with fish sauce, water, sugar, finely chopped shallots and lime juice. 

I top off the oysters with the sauce and a few cilantro leaves that I've deep fried and with a few tasty bits of fried prosciutto fat for crunch.

To toast the winners, I'll make a Pisco Sour, a drink that I had when we stayed at Hotel Jakarta Amsterdam. In the lovely Malabar at the top of the hotel with a view of Amsterdam across the River IJ, mixologist Tyrone Sullivan and bar manager Tarik showed me how they prepare their Pisco Sour.

Since I've been home, I've made the cocktail dozens of times. It's that delicious. Finding Pisco in Los Angeles isn't easy, so when I don't have Pisco, I use vodka or Mezcal instead. The taste difference is negligible. 

So, here it is, the best drink recipe you'll ever try at home and the one I recommend you make when you have something (like the Oscars!) to celebrate. 

All the best and, as the ad says, drink responsibly.


Serves 1


2 ounces pisco

1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

1/2 ounce simple syrup (made with equal parts water and white sugar - see below)

1 egg white (save the egg yolk to have for breakfast)

Garnish: Angostura bitters


To make simple syrup is, well, "simple." Since you can keep the syrup in the refrigerator for an indefinitely amount of time, make enough to use for many cocktails.

Place 1 cup white sugar in a small sauce pan. Carefully hand 1 cup of water. Do not stir. Allow the mixture to heat on a low flame until the sugar dissolves. Cool and place into a jar or bottle and reserve in the refrigerator.

Place the egg white, Pisco (vodka or Mezcal), simple syrup and freshly squeezed lime juice into a shaker. With the lid and top on, do a "dry" shake (which means you don't add ice). Holding the top and lid on, shake vigorously 25-30 times. Shaking caused the egg white to froth, which creates gas which will pop off the top if you don't hold on tightly.

Open the top to relieve the pressure, then open the shaker and add 4 ice cubes. Put the lid and top back on and vigorously shake again.

To serve, either pour into a martini style glass or into a large glass filled with ice. Drizzle a few drops of Angostura bitters.

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