Bar Maury and the Pisco Sour

September 19th, 2008

Bar Maury
Corner of Jiron Ucayali and Jiron Carabaya

Peru’s famous cocktail, the Pisco Sour, was born in central Lima.

Californian immigrant Victor Morris arrived in the city in the early 1900s and set up a bar that operated until 1933.

It is said that it was here in Bar Morris that the Pisco Sour was first conceived, invented either by Victor or one of his bar staff, based on the recipe for whiskey sour.

The new cocktail was a huge hit, and the city’s biggest hotels, such as the Hotel Bolivar and Hotel Maury began serving their own versions to their international clients.

Bar Maury took up the mantel, and according to barman Eloy Cuadros, who is now part of the furniture, it is here the recipe was perfected and it is their version that has spread across the country. It seems very plausible – Eloy served me the best Pisco Sour I have ever had.

Friendly barman Eloy has stood behind this bar for 49 of his 67 years of life. He began work here as an assistant, mostly washing down the bar and washing dirty glasses, but quickly gaining experience and learning from the master barmen of the time.

“I started working at the Maury bar when I was very young, it was by chance that I got the job. I began as an assistant, I had to was the glasses, juice the lemons and prepare cocktail ingredients, getting everything ready that the bar would need. Little by little I started assimilating the skills and experience of others. In my first months there I could never have replaced the barmen, but after four or five months they would leave me in charge”, Eloy recalls.

Eloy explains it is at Bar Maury that egg white was added to the list of ingredients giving the Pisco Sour the flavour and texture it has today. And of course, as a base, it is necessary to use real pisco.

“The main ingredient is of course the Peruvian pisco. The Chilean pisco is just not the same and doesn’t compare”, Eloy says.

The beautiful old bar is the same today as it was decades ago. While the greats of the day, from corporate executives to politicians, would eat in places like the Cordano they’d visit Bar Maury for a drink.

Eloy has many fond memories, but one of his favourites is from 1966. After winning the year’s classic race at Monterrico’s hipodrome, jockey Oscar Berckemeyer and his horse Dardanus had Pisco Sours waiting for them at Bar Maury. The horse had his served in a wine cooler and drank every last drop.

Photos –

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