Pisco Sour at Inka Mama's, Our Drink of the Week!
To be honest, I usually avoid ordering Pisco Sour, or that bubble-gum-flavored Inka Cola, or anything other than plain ol' ice water whenever I visit a Peruvian restaurant. I am forever in search of a properly made saltado--that classic melting-pot stir fry of Chinese wok-technique and Incan ingredients--that I want nothing to distract, obfuscate or otherwise mess with my tongue and attention span in case I find the saltado that can beat the benchmark: my own.
The last time I drank Pisco Sour--Peru's national drink, one so beloved it has its own so-called International Pisco Sour Day celebration designated for it every first Saturday in February--was at Ricardo Zarate's Mo Chica in L.A., and I didn't even order it. It was complimentary aperitif inserted in between the appetizers and the main course in a prix-fixe menu. That drink was a good version, and went rather well with a tiradito of scallop and uni because both zapped the mouth with the same electric lemon-lime acidity. I imagine the drink would pair even better with a Peruvian ceviche.
But I liked Inka Mama's Pisco Sour even more than Zarate's, which had the limp potency of weak tequila. Inka Mama's is a stronger drink, served in a properly chilled glass and with the required dashes of bitters floating atop a sea of egg white foam. It's brandy-based and sweeter than your Bro-Mex margarita, but the citrus juice seems to hasten its harsh alcoholic burn down your throat. Insulating the drink from getting too warm too fast, the whipped-to-soft-peaks egg whites will remind you of enduring beer head and make it unmistakable from any other drink. And how did Inka Mama's saltado stand up to it? Quite well.
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