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Homenaje: Casa Gangotena’s New Cocktail Concept

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Embark on the Homenaje Adventure with an Ecuadorian Cocktail Twist

Ecuadorian cocktail enthusiasts are in for a unique treat, as they participate in an exclusive San Francisco experience in Quito, only available to guests of Casa Gangotena. Please inquire with our staff for more details.

In the lobby of Casa Gangotena, the customary aristocratic serenity is momentarily disrupted by a palpable sense of excitement. A select group of six or so guests have congregated, their conversations a whisper, teeming with speculation about the evening ahead. They’ve been enticed with the promise of a night that seamlessly weaves the historical allure of Quito with the innovative flair of San Francisco. At the heart of this anticipation lies the promise of an Ecuadorian cocktail, a masterful blend that captures the essence of Ecuador’s rich culinary heritage while incorporating the avant-garde mixology San Francisco is celebrated for. This exclusive offering is not merely a sampling of local flavors but a deep dive into the culture and traditions that render Ecuadorian beverages so distinctive and cherished.

They are waiting for Casa Gangotena’s newest guest experience to begin, a tour of San Francisco monastery with exclusive access to some very special parts of the emblematic complex. And I, a privileged outsider, have come along to see what happens.
Bramble cocktail
Casa Gangotena has a wide variety of local and international cocktails.

When Casa Gangotena’s bar launched a new signature cocktail menu at the beginning of September, the challenge was not just to come up with a pleasing range of drinks, but to create a complete concept that was both perfectly aligned with the hotel’s philosophy and that would push the boundaries of Ecuadorian cocktail-making.

For this, Jossimar Lujan was enlisted, a Peruvian from the historic city of Arequipa who has been elbow deep in the art, science and magic of cocktails since he was 15 years old.

Working in conjunction with Elizabeth Arévalo and Cristian Moscoso, members of the cocktail team, Jossimar began to work around the idea that the new menu had to be 100 percent Ecuadorian, take into account the restaurant’s concept of Cocina Mestiza and infuse regional products with cutting edge techniques. 

He named the final result ‘Homenaje’, the Spanish word for ‘homage’.

 “I decided on ‘Homenaje’ because my professional career as a creator of restaurant concepts really started here, and this was one of my first concepts. So it’s ‘Homenaje’ for personal reasons. And it coincides with the concept of the hotel, and of the restaurant menu. It’s an homage to Ecuadorian ingredients,” he explains.

One of the key ingredients particularly honoured in the concept is caña, the Ecuadorian version of aguardiente that is drunk at traditional festivities, and which has unfairly fallen out of fashion among Ecuadorians in favour of international spirits like gin and vodka.

“We are the first bar to make premium cocktails with caña,” he says. “We really want to promote caña. It’s a really good national product. As a foreigner, I say that Ecuadorians should be proud. It’s a mega product.”

Ecuadorian Cocktail
Ecuadorian Cocktail

In order to create a truly Ecuadorian menu, Jossimar scoured the country for unusual ingredients and iconic flavours.

“I had to investigate a lot for this concept, and go to a lot of markets. Truly, the markets are where everything happens. I’d go and talk to all the people, getting to know local chefs,” he says.

On his travels he discovered tangerines from Patate and pears from Tungurahua, raspberries and two entirely different kinds of blackberries, which all feature on the menu.

Furthermore, the bar team has undertaken to create all of their ingredients (aside from the alcohols) from scratch, from the syrups and reductions, to a clarification of serrano ham and melon, boiled together and filtered for 48 hours.

“Everything is 100 percent natural and homemade. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it to have these unique products,” he says.

The overall effect is complex journey through the flavours, ingredients and traditions of Ecuador, brought up to date with the latest techniques, and a fair amount of industrial-looking toys, including a smoke machine, giant balls of ice, and a specially designed perfume dispenser.

“People come here to have an experience, not to drink 10 cocktails,” says Jossimar.

“The idea is to drink what you want, but come and enjoy the experience of our menu. It’s like an entire dish in one drink.”

Jossimar talks us through some of the options, and the concepts behind them.

“The name comes from the fact that it is alcohol free, and has an angel design.”

El Santo cocktail
Santo in Spanish translates to “Holy”.

“Just like the Quito neighbourhood, this drink has it all! The idea is that the flavour keeps on changing. We’re playing with your senses – you smell one thing but taste another, or see a colour and expect a certain flavour.”

Floresta cocktail
Floresta is the name of one of Quito’s popular neighborhoods.

“The flower is given an aroma that hits you before you take a sip. Like alchemy, it is the perfect balance of liquids.”

Alquimia cocktail
The perfect balance of its flavors inspired the name of this cocktail.

“This one takes its name from the black amaranth and, based on caña, is probably the most Ecuadorian option on the menu. It’s made of a concentrated Agua de Frescos, and a beaten egg white gives it a sour texture. It is finished with edible flower confetti.”

Sangorache cocktail
Sangorache means “the plant that doesn’t wilt”.

“This is a refreshing gin and tonic – Ecuadorian style.”

Tungurahua cocktail
Tungurahua is the name of an active volcano in Ecuador.

“This cocktail is served in a cup moulded to look like a lion, which we had especially made for this drink. It was inspired by the lions depicted on the outside of Casa Gangotena, which are known as its “guardians”. It is based on pineapple-infused rum and contains a clarification of serrano ham and melon.”

El Guardian cocktail
Casa Gangotena’s decorations inspired the cup that holds this drink.

“We have created a deconstructed version of the warm Ecuadorian classic, and it comes with a smoking palo santo stick and is lavender scented.”

Canelazo cocktail
Canelazo is often served during Fiestas de Quito.

“This is quite like Floresta but alcoholic. It fizzes on the tongue.”

Zarza de monte cocktail
Zarza de monte translates to “wild berry”.

“It’s based on Peruvian pisco, and the side is dusted with a lemon biscuit.”

Cuzco cocktail
A fine example of one of Casa Gangotena’s international-inspired cocktail.

Travelers exploring the unique landscape near Finch Bay, showcasing the luxury experiences offered by the Gangotena Boutique Hotel network in the golden triangle.
Our Premier Ecuador Experience: The Golden Triangle
A Complete Experience that brings you the very best of Ecuador and The Galapagos Islands. With a stint in the Heart of Quito, The Mashpi Reserve, and a stay at The Galapagos Islands most lauded Hotel, Finch Bay.

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