It’s a blustery Thursday night, but toasty once inside the comfy, cluttered bar of The Inkan in Garden City Park. It’s loud, too: Steve Miller belts from the speakers as soccer games play on flatscreens over the bar. The bartender fills a silver shaker with ice, pours in some Pisco Tabernero, lime juice, simple syrup and egg white. He shakes hard, then strains the drink into a lowball glass and drizzles over some Peychaud’s bitters, creating spicy fuchsia beads across the foamy top.
The drink has the faintest hue of mint, a little bit tart, a little bit sweet. Even though its soul is tropical, a pisco sour is creamy enough for a January night, and during happy hour, all of $8.
Many people come to The Inkan for things such as seared beef hearts, or ceviche showered in corn, or steamy bowls of shrimp soup. But you can also find bang-up pisco sours here — or in multiple places in Nassau County, whose growing quotient of Peruvian restaurants means that the drink is becoming widespread, even as it floats beneath most people’s radar.
Pisco — a clear, sweetish spirit distilled from grapes, which makes it a brandy — grew out of the winemaking tradition that colonizing Spain brought to South America in the 1500s. Peru and Chile have long tussled over pisco’s origins, and each has its own guidelines about grapes and the distilling process, but the pisco sour is a squarely Peruvian drink, first created in Lima more than a century ago. (Tabernero, the maker of the spirit that The Inkan uses for pisco sours, has been producing pisco for 120 years).
Pisco sours are best when made by a practiced hand and sipped alongside the earthy roasted corn nuts that take the place of pretzels or popcorn in Peruvian bars. But for the adventurous, here’s a recipe:
2 ounces pisco
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup (double for a sweeter drink)
1 egg white
2 dashes of bitters, such as Angostura
Pour pisco, lime juice, syrup and egg white into a shaker; add ice, and shake until outside is frosty. Strain into a chilled coupe or collins glass, then drizzle bitters across the top. Garnish with a lime slice.
The Inkan is at 2224 Jericho Turnpike in Garden City Park; 516-741-3747, theinkanli.com