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Pisco Sour: At Talara, South American grape brandy Pisco hits American tastebuds

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Don’t let the name give you pause; yes, it's pronounced Piss-co. But you must order a Pisco Sour, a hidden gem of a cocktail featured at nuevo Latino bistro Talara in Harbor East.

You’re probably thinking what I was: what IS “Pisco” and WHY should I drink it? Nick Rizzo, managing partner at Talara, clears it up nicely. “It’s a clear brand. It’s Peruvian, made from Quebranta grapes.”

And that’s not the half of it. While Pisco glamorously arrives in upscale bars here in the states, Peru and Chile are having a passionate Pisco pissing match over ownership of the spirit. For the record, Rizzo insists Peru’s the clear victor. Heck, it’s even their national drink. With drama worthy of a telenovela, this seemingly iconic cocktail demanded a taste. 

There’s a reason the Pisco Sour is a house specialty at Talara: It’s unique, feisty and bold, a taste truly representative of Latin American culture. Take a slow sip. This has a surprisingly sweet-and-sour bite — think sugary tequila — that’s quickly tempered with … get ready for this … egg whites. A light blend of lime juice and bitters provides a nice balance of flavor. The result is a clean, smooth, full-bodied drink.

I highly recommend ordering the Pisco Sour after dinner, as dessert. The consistency made me feel as though I was drinking a spiked milkshake. Or, better yet, a protein-packed cocktail that I quickly rationalized would come in handy later, during salsa lessons on Talara’s dance floor.

How to Make a Pisco Sour
3 ounces Gran Sierpe Pisco
1/2 oz. of liquid egg whites
1/2 oz. of sours mix
1/2 cup of ice 
1 lime 
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar 
Add lime and sugar into blender first, then remaining ingredients. Blend briefly. Pour contents into martini glass. Top with a few dashes of bitters.

Where to Get One
Talara
615 President St., Harbor East
(410) 528-9883
talarabaltimore.com 
$9

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