For many urbanites, summertime equals vacation time. They say sayonara to this 'ol seven-by-seven and hightail it to the beaches of Spain and riverbeds of France.
For those of us stuck on the grid, there's no better escape than at Euro-inspired Gitane. Intimate, eclectic and known for Spanish, Portuguese and Southern French influences, it's the perfect place take a few hours and pretend that you too are getting that well-deserved vay-cay.
Gitane bar manager Alex Smith has slung spirits at Prospect and wrangled rum at Smuggler's Cove. After working with some of the most talented people in the city, he brought his expertise to Gitane and was recently named one of the Chronicle's 2011 Bar Stars. We caught up with Smith to talk about his choice for this summer's best drink, the Narguja. "It's a beautiful summer cocktail," says Smith. "It is very refreshing and yet also quite complex. It bears some resemblance to a Mojito, and to a Smash, or even a Bittered Sling with a slight stretch."
Here's how to make it yourself:
Gitane's Summer Narguja
1.5 ounces gin
.75 ounces oloroso sherry
.5 ounces maraschino liqueur
.25 ounces Campari
.75 ounces house made ginger marmalade
1 ounces fresh lemon juice
5–6 mint leaves
Combine all but Campari and shake with crushed ice. Pour directly into double rocks glass. Fill a disposable plastic pipette with Campari and insert into drink for the drinker to apply according to his/her preference.
"This recipe is unique and refreshing," Smith says. "It also provides an interactive element of control that most cocktails do not. It is ideally enjoyed by the pool or on the beach." Basically, it's the perfect thing to sip if you're in need of an urban summer getaway.
Gitane Restaurant, 6 Claude Lane at Kearny (415-788-6686 at gitanerestaurant.com)