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Location: Lincoln, 1110 Vermont Ave. NW
Bartender response: “Like a pisco sour?”
What we got: A pisco sour, served up: Macchu pisco, fresh lime, sugar, and an egg white
How it tasted: Sour and a little sweet
Improv points (1-5): 1. Of the various styles of this popular South American cocktail that we’ve tried, this one was a little on the weak side. But the silkiness of the egg whites combined with lime still made it a refreshing, low-alcohol drink.
Location: Proof, 775 G St. NW
Bartender response: “Depends on what you want. Like a pisco sour?”
What we got: Another pisco sour, served on the rocks.
How it tasted: You guesssed it! Sour and a little sweet.
Improv points (1-5): 2. This was slightly tastier than the Lincoln’s version. But, frankly, we were hoping for something a little more imaginative from a place of such esteemed cocktail cred like Proof.
Location: Fruit Bat, 1236 H St. NE
Bartender response: “I love pisco sours. They’re on our summer menu, and I never really get a chance to make them in the winter.”
What we got: A pisco sour—what else?—served on the rocks with a dash of St. Germain
How it tasted: Mostly tart. There wasn’t much simple syrup to be had in this drink, but we found that better emphasized the flavors of the pisco and bitters. And unlike the results at Proof and Lincoln, this libation packed a pretty boozy punch.
Improv points (1-5): 3. We admit, given the three-for-three pisco sours we ended up with, that this was probably a leading question. But Fruit Bat turns out quality drinks. (We would’ve liked to test this prompt at its sister bar, Church & State, but it was closed for the evening.) The nuanced, but noticeable, St. Germain fancied up what could’ve been a boilerplate beverage.