3-Ingredient Happy Hour: A Summer Wasted

Happy weekend, and welcome back to 3-Ingredient Happy Hour, the weekly drink column featuring super simple yet delicious libations. I've been enjoying the charms of a little South American brandy known as "pisco" recently, so I thought we'd try a summery, but still strong, pisco cocktail.

Photos by Claire Lower.

This delightful grape brandy is distilled from wine, but -- as is the case with many types of alcoholic beverages and their taxonomy -- classifying it further can get a little complicated. This piece from Eater does a great job of fully breaking it down, and you should read it if so inclined, but I'd like to get to drinking. I've currently been enjoying Pisco Logia, a Peruvian white brandy with "nuances of orange blossom, pecans, matured dried currant and banana".

To make a complex (and stiff), but still refreshingly sippable cocktail, I took inspiration from the El Capitan from Raymi in New York, and combined pisco with another one of my summertime faves, Cocchi Americano. If you've never had the pleasure, Cocchi is an Italian aperitif wine with crisp, citrusy flavours and a restrained bitterness, thanks to cinchona bark. Next, I enlisted some grapefruit bitters -- rather than Angostura -- to keep that whole citrus thing going. Then I named it after a Belle & Sebastian song, because I'm a twee mofo and, if you drink a lot of these over the summer, you will spend it quite wasted.

To make this this tasty coupe of wine-based wonder, you will need:

  • 60mL of pisco
  • 30mL of Cocchi Americano
  • 2 dashes of grapefruit bitters

Pour everything into a mixing glass (or, like, a pint glass), add ice, stir for about 20 seconds, and strain into a coupe. If you want to get very fancy -- and technically increase your ingredient count, depending on how you view garnishes -- you could squeeze a strip of lemon zest over the whole situation, then let it float in your tasty beverage. This is optional, but it's not a bad option.


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