A World of Cool Possibilities

Great Shakes offers gourmet shakes, malts to counter rising temps outside

Great Shakes opened in April on South Palm Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs, offering gourmet shakes and malts as the hot weather approaches.

Jim Powers

As the sun beat down on a recent scorching afternoon, it suddenly appeared like a mirage: A sandwich board sidewalk sign featuring a photo of an icy-cold milk shake — the speciality of Great Shakes, a new shop that opened last month on South Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs.

Inside the store, a world of cool possibilities reveals itself. There are 25 shakes and malts to check out — everything from Key Lime Pie to Caramel Coffee Crème to Peanut Butter and Banana — but you can also get creative and make your own drink using any of the available ingredients.

I opt for Lemon Lavender with Toasted Marshmallows. As promised on the menu, it is a “delicate mix of fresh-squeezed lemon, lemon zest, sweet and fragrant lavender, homemade toasted marshmallows, homemade whipped cream, and a baked mini donut.”

It arrives in a large 20-ounce cup (all drinks are the same size and the same price: $6.75) with a thick straw and a spoon—all the better for conquering a shake that is almost as filling as a meal.

Mesmerized by the drink pictured on the sign out front, my drinking buddy orders the Salted Caramel. It’s as creamy and delicious tasting as he imagined it would be and a virtual replica of its sandwich board image.

The shop itself has a retro vibe and features yellow vinyl-covered chairs, bright colors on the walls and ceiling, and classic black and white photographs of past Palm Springs regulars such as Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, and Dean Martin. We settle in at a table underneath a vintage image of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, their criss-crossing straws sipping from the same malt.

The blasts from the past continue over at the counter where you’ll find dozens of little baskets filled with old-time candy choices—Good & Plenty, Milk Duds, Bit-O-Honey—that had customers exclaiming over and over again, “Wow, I remember this one!”

Meanwhile, I sit back and take in the aroma of lemon and lavender as the sounds of Perry Como singing “Papa Loves Mambo” waft through the store.

It doesn’t get much cooler than that.

Great Shakes, 160 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Suite A, Palm Springs, (760) 327-5300

Other Cool Ice Cream Possibilities:

Lappert's Ice Cream, Palm Springs

Vienna Donut and Ice Cream, Cathedral City

Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, Palm Springs

Bette's Ice Scream, Indio

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