Earl Grey-Infused Pisco Sour

by Julie

Infusions for cocktails are one of my favorite things to experiment with in the kitchen. Ask my family or close friends: last year for the holidays, they each received a bottle of haberno-infused vodka, cinnamon-cardamom rum, and lavender-rosemary gin.

When it comes to infusions, they’re just plain fun, and easy to incorporate into small gatherings or cooking parties. But, for how simple they are, infusions add a completely new dimension to the drink being prepared.

Take pisco for instance. It’s a lesser-known liquor, but when I lived in Chile, it was everywhere.

(outdoor market in downtown valparaiso, chile)

In fact, I’m pretty sure the national drink of Chile is a pisco sour, which is funny, considering pisco is originally from the Inca regions of Peru (it’s named for Pisco, Peru). Needless to say, pisco’s a strong (about 70 proof), clear brandy made from grapes. Think of the grape fermentation process “branching” off at one point–go one way and you get wine, go the other way and eventually you’ll get pisco.

(sign outside of capel's headquarters in elquí valley, chile)

(the pisco is stored in huge vats for months at a time)











Pisco sour is traditionally a mixture of simple syrup, pisco, egg white, and lemon or lime juice. This recipe plays with an earl-grey pisco infusion, and leaves out the egg white (sorry, diehard fans!). The great thing about tea infusions is that they’re super-speedy: steeping time is about 20-25 minutes for a really strong infusion, but the result is delicious.

Earl-Grey Infused Pisco Sour

(infusion ingredients: check)

For infusion:

750 mL pisco (such as Capel)

4 tablespoons earl grey tea

1 cloth tea bag

Spoon tea into bag and submerge in pisco. Let sit up to 20-25–feel free to taste your infusion along the way until it reaches the right flavor strength for you.


(after...about 25 minutes)

For Pisco Sour

2 ounces earl grey-infused pisco

1 ounce lemon or lime juice

1/2 ounce simple syrup

dash of bitters (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake over ice. Strain and pour liquid into glass with fresh ice. Serve immediately.

(just a little taste of south america)