International Pisco Sour Day is celebrated on the first Saturday in February in honor of Peru’s national drink, the Pisco Sour. It takes place on February 3 this year. This cocktail is so popular, it features in many Peruvian celebrations, and almost every bar and restaurant across Peru serves it. This drink is named ‘Pisco,’ which is a grape brandy of Peruvian origin, and the cocktail term ‘sour,’ for the sour citrus juice and other sweeteners in this drink. This drink is not without its very own drama — the Chileans claim the Pisco Sour as their own and have a special Pisco Sour day too!
History of International Pisco Sour Day
The birth of vineyards in 16th century Peru and Chile led to the production of ‘aguardiente’ — a strong alcoholic drink distilled from fermented grapes. Eventually, Peruvians adopted the name of the place whence this drink was shipped out: Pisco. Chile embraced the name change and called their ‘aguardiente’ Pisco as well.
Although the true origins of the Pisco Sour are hotly debated by mixologists and historians, a common story involves the American bartender Victor Vaughen Morris who, if he didn’t invent the drink, certainly helped make it extremely famous in Peru and the world. While working at a railway company in Peru, Morris was put in charge of overseeing celebrations on the completion of a railway project. Halfway through the party, Morris realized that the nearly 5000 guests had consumed all the whiskey. So, he mixed Pisco into a cocktail and accidentally created the Pisco Sour (or what we’d call version one). The official timeline for this momentous event is also under debate. What we do know is that Morris opened his own bar in Lima, Peru, in 1916, and the very first mention of the Pisco Sour occurred in 1920, in the September issue of “Hogar,” a Peruvian magazine. Subsequent articles and advertisements also attribute Morris as the inventor of this drink, although the people of Chile believe the Pisco Sour was invented by English steward Elliot Stubb in 1872 in Chile.
Either way, this drink underwent a revolution in the 1900s. First, in 1924 a bartender under Morris’ apprenticeship, Mario Bruiget, added egg whites and Angostura bitters, creating the current version of the beloved drink. The Chilean version of the Pisco Sour began making the rounds by 1927; then, after Morris’ bar closed down in 1929, his bartenders took the Pisco Sour recipe to their new jobs, spreading the drink all over Peru. The 1930s saw this drink in California, and thirty years later in New York.
For now, this drink is special to both Peru and Chile, and people have their preference as to which version of Pisco Sour they enjoy.
International Pisco Sour Day timeline
The Pisco Sour is declared part of Peru's national heritage by their National Institute of Culture.
First comes National Pisco Sour Day — an official government holiday in Peru — which leads to establishing an International Pisco Sour Day so the world can enjoy this drink too.
In Lima, local authorities team up with a Peruvian supermarket chain to temporarily convert a central water fountain at a plaza into a pisco fountain.
Ed Sheeran publicly states his preference for Peruvian Pisco Sour while interviewing at a Chilean radio station.
International Pisco Sour Day FAQs
Which country is home to the pisco sour cocktail?
A slight contention exists for this answer, as both Peru and Chile claim the Pisco Sour cocktail as their own.
What is Peru's national beverage?
The Pisco Sour is Peru’s national cocktail. Fun fact: it is also Chile’s national drink.
Can you get Pisco in the United States?
Select brands like Chilean Capel, Alto del Carmen, Peruvian Macchu Pisco, BarSol, Montesierpe offer Americans the taste of Pisco, but only in select states.
International Pisco Sour Day Activities
Taste a Pisco Sour
Check out if bars and restaurants near you serve this drink, and make sure to grab a glass or two. Or, you can try your hand at making your own Pisco Sours with recipes easily found online.
Indulge in a Peruvian feast
Do like the Peruvians and pair the Pisco Sour with ceviche (a popular Peruvian dish). You can also check out what other special food Peruvians eat during their Pisco Sour celebrations and try the same food pairings at home.
Play Pisco Sour games
Finish a Pisco Sour before the Peruvian national anthem concludes or host a competition to see who can create the best Pisco Sour recipes. There are plenty of ways to game this day up and have fun with friends and family.
5 Fun Facts About Pisco And Pisco Sour
An official flagship product
Pisco joins the ranks of other special Peruvian exports such as coffee, cotton, and quinoa.
Two days of Pisco celebrations
First, we've got the National Pisco Sour Day (also International Pisco Sour Day), then, we have Pisco Day, which is held on the fourth Saturday of July each year.
The Pisco Punch
Famous writers such as Mark Twain and Rudyard Kipling loved this pineapple-infused pisco drink, which was famous in San Francisco from the late 1800s to the 1900s.
Pisco Sour-loving celebrities
Ernest Hemingway once declared this as one of his favorite drinks — rumor has it that Hollywood legends Ava Garnder and John Wayne also fell in love with this drink while on a trip to Lima, Peru.
It’s a brandy
By distilling fermented grape juice, Pisco is made — just like brandies.
Why We Love International Pisco Sour Day
It's the true taste of Peru
We're getting a glimpse at a drink that has gripped a nation (two nations?) for centuries and continues to do so even today.
Pisco Sours are delicious
The original version(s) of this cocktail is a wonderful mix of flavors blending harmoniously with the unique taste of the Pisco. Who can find fault with this?
Pisco Sours can be customized too
While the classic recipe is always a favorite, recent variations have paired the versatile Pisco with so many other ingredients. There is now a taste (and Pisco Sour version) for everyone.
International Pisco Sour Day dates