Local ingredients and distinctive handmade ceramics by ceramicist Claudia Anhalzer create a cocktail experience in historical setting in Old Town Quito
Whatever one’s motivation for celebration, there’s a cocktail for the occasion atCasa Gangotena. Introducing the new Fiesta Cocktail Menu, a spirited salute to Ecuador’s biodiversity and cultural diversity served in the open air on the Rooftop Terrace and at other spaces throughout the restored historic mansion-turned-boutique hotel located on the Plaza San Francisco in the heart of Old Town Quito, Ecuador.
Created by Director of Mixology Jossimar Lujan and served in distinctive handmade ceramics crafted by Ecuadorian ceramicist Claudia Anhalzer, who maintains a studio in Old Town Quito, the Fiesta Cocktails are perfect for the moment and the top-floor setting, as people from near and far get back into the spirit of travel and the hotel welcomes guests with award-winning hospitality indoors and outside. Fashioned with local ingredients and inspired by Ecuador’s rich and enduring culture of festivity, the cocktails include:
Fiesta del Maíz – Inspired by harvest celebrations held in September in the northern province of Imbabura, the “Festival of Corn” mixes bourbon, hominy, red currant, IPA and gin.
Diablada de Píllaro – A play on the Devil’s Dance of Píllaro, held in January in the province of Tungurahua south of Quito. Though the festival’s origins are unknown, its spirit is of indigenous liberation and rebellion from colonialism. The cocktail, meanwhile, is created with rum, apple, ginger, hot pepper, hominy juice and goldenberry.
Carnaval de Guaranda – Designed in the spirit of one of the most (in)famous fiestas in the Bolivar Province, in which eggs, flour, foam and water are thrown by revelers amid huge processions of floats, bands and dancers, this cocktail combines vodka, hops, figs, white truffle, turmeric, and pájaro azul (local moonshine).
La Mama Negra – The twice-annual, traditional Black Mama festival in Latacunga honors the Virgin of Mercy, said to have stopped an eruption of the nearby Cotopaxi Volcano in 1742. Just as the festival fuses indigenous, Spanish and African cultures, so the cocktail integrates ingredients as a symbol of union and joy, including rum, toasted butter, purple sweet potato, cacao mucilage, and sherry-cask whisky.
Carnaval de Flores y Frutas – A celebration of flowers and fruits held in Ambato, in the Province of Tungurahua, the carnival is among Ecuador’s most colorful, filled with processions, parades and music. A tribute to the land, the drink blends gin, roses, quince, lavender and tequila.
Corpus Christi en Pujilí – Inspired by a unique celebration in the Andes featuring dancers in huge headdresses that hark back to the family of Inca Emperor Huayna Capac, the cocktail’s mixture of flavors and liquors – including whisky, sugar cane, rose water, carrot and coconut – represents the crossbreeding of cultures.
The Fiesta Cocktail theme is more than merely clever, drawing inspiration from fiestas that unfold all across Ecuador, from the smallest pueblo to the largest city. Such fiestas range from celebrations of African origins, distinctive for the sound of drums; observances of the holiest days of the Catholic calendar; Amazonian festivities led by shamans who evoke creations of the rainforests; processions and pageants that pay homage to female beauty or the fertility of the soil; and more. They mix and meld races and traditions, marking different ways of life and embracing new ideas, fashions and tastes like cultural magnets.
While the Rooftop Terrace is a splendid setting for sipping and savoring Fiesta Cocktails, the drinks are available throughout the hotel, including at Gangotena Restaurant and Gangotena Bar, as well as within the ground-floor Patio and its adjacent walled and well-manicured Garden, both bathed in sunlight and offering sanctuary from the buzz of the city. Meanwhile, the Rooftop Terrace offers myriad seating options, from singles and tables for two along the balustrade, to casual seating amid plants, and more sizable arrangements with wicker chairs surrounding candle-topped tables. The views over Quito and beyond are reliably breathtaking, whatever the hour of the day.