"A good Pisco Sour is one of my all-time favourite drinks," says Lennox Hastie. "Grilling the lime gives you more of a Pisco Sweet and Sour, as the tangy lime caramelises and mellows. This recipe uses an oak-aged Chilean pisco, which has a naturally sweeter finish than Peruvian pisco, so less sugar is needed."
- For barbecuing: seasoned hardwood, preferably fruitwood
- 1 lime, halved
- 1 eggwhite
- 75 ml Capel Oak Doble Destilado pisco (see note)
- 15 ml sugar syrup (see note)
- To taste: angostura bitters
- 1Burn wood down to smouldering embers and medium-high heat (see below). Grill lime cut-side down until just caramelised (1-2 minutes). Set aside to cool.
- 2Combine eggwhite, pisco and sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Add grilled lime juice and shake vigorously until well chilled, then strain into a chilled short glass or a 250ml cocktail glass and finish with a couple of drops of bitters.
Note Capel Oak Doble Destilado pisco is available at select bottle shops. If it's unavailable substitute another (preferably Chilean) pisco. Sugar syrup is equal parts caster sugar and boiling water, stirred until sugar dissolves, then cooled.
How to prepare wood
- It almost goes without saying, but check the fire restrictions for the day in your area.
- Because they offer better control over airflow, wood-fired ovens are the perfect thing for burning the wood to coals; take care when you're transferring them to your grill or barbecue.
- If you're using a pit, enclose the fire with fire-rated bricks to help retain the heat and to slow the rate of burning.
- If you're using a barbecue, light the fire, close the lid and adjust the vents so the wood doesn't burn too fast. If you happen to have two barbecues, use one for burning the wood and one for grilling.
- Light the fire early - at least 1½ hours before starting cooking. Avoid using fire lighters or treated wood where there can be a residual chemical component. Wood embers burn hotter than the fire itself, so allow the wood to break down to glowing coals with a light-grey coating of ash. Too high a temperature and the subtle elements of the wood become tasteless. Optimal conditions are a slow, smouldering fire.
- Ideally you should use seasoned hardwood (at least 12 months old). Green or unseasoned wood with a high moisture content is harder to light and burns erratically, emitting smoke instead of heat, so it's worth sourcing premium hardwoods from recognised suppliers, such as Blackheath Firewood Company. If you have fruit trees, keep your prunings to use the next year.
- Woods vary in the amount of heat and flavour they produce.