Home Travel Best Cocktails in Quito Ecuador Casa Gangotena

Best Cocktails in Quito Ecuador Casa Gangotena


Art comes in many forms, but I hadn’t considered one of those forms in a cocktail. And I certainly hadn’t expected to find an accomplished mixology artist in Quito Ecuador. But sometimes the best experiences are when you least expect it.

After a long day of touring around Quito, I sat down for a cocktail at Casa Gangotena in the heart of Quito Old Town. While sitting at the open air rooftop terrace, I read the never-ending cocktail menu and was immediately intrigued. It wasn’t just large, but it was unusual…really unusual.

Bourbon, Gin, AND IPA all in the same cocktail…wait…did I read that right?

Telling a Story in a Glass

Casa Gangotena’s FIESTA cocktails were created to take you on a drinking tour through some of Ecuador’s loveliest provinces and towns, celebrating the wealth of unique native ingredients commonly enjoyed in each of these regions during popular festivals. This wasn’t just a cocktail, this was an experience in a glass. From the aromas, to the ingredients, to the tastes, to the glass itself, it told a complete story.

Fiesta Menu

For the Fiesta menu they studied the region where the fiesta was held, determined key ingredients and flavors, and developed a complex drink that would be more than simply thirst quenching…it would be transporting.

mixology cocktail menu quito
Fiesta del Maiz cocktail

I chose to start with the Fiesta del Maiz cocktail. The festival is a harvest celebration held in September in the northern province of Imbabura. The combination of bourbon, gin, and beer intrigued and perplexed me; I had to try it. It came out in a beautiful ceramic glass with a lid on top that held corn nuts and other crunchy goodness. You simply took the lid off and you had a little plate of nibblies to have with the cocktail – it was beautiful and ingenious!

I’m gonna say it…it was probably one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had. The flavors were bright and refreshing (always good in a hot country), and the little bites of corn nuts enhanced the whole experience.

As I watched the other unusual drinks come out for our group, I was equally impressed with the other cocktails and glasses. Other festivals and flavors are represented on the menu like the Diablada de Píllaro; the Devil’s Dance Festival held in the province of Tungurahua south of Quito. The festival celebrates indigenous liberation and rebellion from colonialism. And the cocktail includes rum, apple, ginger, hot pepper, hominy juice and goldenberry – all served up in an inventive container that looks like the devil.

You can see the complete lineup of festival cocktails here.

The Artistry Goes Beyond the Drink to the Glass

I’ve always been intrigued with the vessel in which a cocktail creation is served. I’m partial to the mid-century modern glasses that take you back in time when you see them. I’ve also been curious about the Belgian beer glasses that enhance the famous Belgian beers. But this festival menu took cocktail glasswear to a new level.

When the fiesta menu was created, Director of Mixology Jossimar Lujan partnered with a local pottery artist, Claudia Anhalzer to help create the story of the cocktail. Much like a book cover is important to a book, glassware is what houses this liquid story and also should be a part of the memorable experience.

I had the pleasure of going to visit Claudia at her workshop (arranged by Casa Gangotena) in Quito’s historic center. The petite artist met us at the door and led us up to her rooftop studio.


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