Today's post is written by Lou Bustamante. Lou is a contributor to publications including the SF Chronicle, SF Weekly and Wine & Spirits.
A Look at Gitane in San Francisco
The bar at Gitane has always been one of the most dramatic in San Francisco, feeling a bit like a bar tucked away inside a nomadic caravan. You half expect a magic cabaret or Iberian characters on a quest to a windmill to waltz through at any moment.
The magic at the bar has traditionally come in a glass. With a rich heritage of bar folks that includes Alex Smith, Carlo Splendorini, Dominic Venegas, and now Carlos Yturria.
His new bar program at Gitane is influenced directly by the cuisine. “I really wanted this new list to be on par with our Spanish-inspired menu from Co-Executive Chefs Bridget Batson and Patrick Kelly,” explained Yturria. “I am also big fan of simple cocktails—fewer ingredients help to keep the list and drinks focused without losing the story or direction of what you are trying to create.”
Here’s a complete overview of his new cocktail program:
The Sin Permiso ($12, cava, Torres 10 Year Spanish Brandy, bitters) is a dry and bubbly way to start a meal. Yturria also adds a touch of what he calls “gypsy bitters,” which is his custom blend.
The rich and silky Voluptuoso ($12, New Amsterdam Gin, dash absinthe, strawberry, lemon) lives up to its name with a nice cap of frothy cocktail. More on the dry than sweet side, this drink won Yturria a few competitions and he felt it was perfect for the direction of Gitane's new bar program.
El Juego de Amor
If you’ve had drinks at other bars Yturria has worked at, you shouldn’t be surprised to see a drink with a shrub. Dude loves vinegar, and vinegar seems to love him right back in this tangy and refreshing El Juego de Amor ($12, Zapopan Tequila, watermelon balsamic shrub, lemon).
Every menu needs a vodka drink, and if you’re going to do one, it might as well be as delicious as the Segunda Miranda ($12, Gruven Vodka, peaches, basil, lemon). Why no, that wasn’t me at the bar in disguise ordering three of these…
Esperitos de Uvas
A great pisco cocktail that focuses a lot of grape power like Espiritos de Uvas ($12, Kappa Pisco, grapes, lime) makes a fun way to have some Chilean pisco. Yutrria explained that, “I helped to make Kappa Pisco, so the brand is very dear to my heart,”
El Tesoro Undido
Another dry aperitif style cocktail, the El Tesoro Undido ($12, Plantation Rum, oloroso sherry, lime) is a vehicle to showcase their sherry collection. A great cocktail to pair with a snack from the kitchen.
El Libro Abierto
A twist on a Manhattan with a dash of walnut liqueur, El Libro Abierto ($12, Old Overholt Rye, Nux Alpina Walnut Liqueur, dry vermouth) tastes like fall. Nice and dry and with a kick.
A mezcal variation of a Boulevardier or Negroni, the Oaxacan Revolution ($12, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, cocchi sweet vermouth, Campari) is so complex you could chew it. Lots of flavors going on—a great way to end.