New Year’s Eve is a time to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new. It’s about finding that something that excites the senses and provides an uninhibited energy that will carry you well past Cinderella’s power hour (when the clock strikes midnight).
Celebrate the festive occasion with cocktails, from fruity to smoky and from classic to edgy, that are the perfect way to toast 2018 with a sip and a kiss.
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Smoked Grapefruit Penicillin
Riviera Palm Springs
House-made honey and ginger syrup, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, Bulleit Rye Whiskey, over dry ice, infused with torched rosemary.
Brandon Infusino, master mixologist at The Riviera, is handcrafting some pretty elaborate cocktails for New Year’s Eve. While the Chicago Sour and Rose Gin Fizz will get your boozy juices flowing, it’s the Smoked Grapefruit Penicillin that will surely make you forget all those old acquaintances. The rye whiskey is the base of this exciting cocktail, with a house-made ginger and honey syrup that gives it a sweet and spicy flavor. Add the bitterness of grapefruit juice and the sour of lemon, and the flavors are perfectly conjoined. The smoke is twofold: dry ice creates a medieval fog that drapes over the drink; Infusino then takes a torch to a sprig of rosemary, sets it on fire, and smothers the cocktail in its fragrant smoke. The drink smokes and bubbles for a while, but don’t worry — you can sip during the “show.” A modern take on the classic Penicillin cocktail, The Smoked Grapefruit Penicillin is quite the conversation piece while sitting at the bar.
The Landing at the Riviera Palm Springs, 1660 N. Indian Canyon Rd, Palm Springs. 760-327-8311; rivierapalmsprings.com
PHOTO BY TIFFANY CARTER
This captivating cocktail is a smoky take on the classic Penicillin cocktail. It’s poured over dried ice and topped with flaming rosemary.
The Vista Chino
4Saints, Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs
Sparkling wine, rum, fig, lime, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla.
Once St. Nick has finished sneaking up on rooftops, it’s time for the party people to take over and celebrate New Year’s Eve on the rooftop of the Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs. 4Saints is the top-floor bar with expansive views of the mountains, and lead bartender Jeff Cleveland has created the perfect companion to kiss 2017 goodbye. The Vista Chino is a light, bubbly cocktail made with sparkling wine and rum.
PHOTO BY STEVEN SALISBURY
The Vista Chino is a light, bubbly cocktail made with sparkling wine and rum.
It’s served in a champagne flute with a vibrant orange spiral rind. The flavors evoke fancy parties with a touch of tropical island. All the juices and syrups are house-made from fresh ingredients, so this is truly a farm-to-table potion.
Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs, 100 W. Tahquitz Canyon Way. Palm Springs. 760-392-2020; rowanpalmsprings.com
VIDEO: Watch Lead Bartender Jeff Cleveland concoct the Vista Chino.
Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge
Crater Lake Reserve Vodka, chilled Mionetto Prosecco, Limoncello, Mandarine Napoleon, and fresh strawberries.
“Light as a feather, stiff as a board” may be a chant used to promote levitation, but it can also describe The Eight4Nine cocktail. With the blend of Prosecco and Limoncello, it’s light, fresh, and effervescent, while the added vodka and Mandarine liqueur make for a stiff concoction.
Paulie Wakim, bartender at Eight4Nine, crafts a beautiful cocktail in a goblet glistening with Italian sparkling wine and sweet with strawberries. One sip, and you’re hooked for the night. The Eight4Nine is more than just a New Year’s Eve cocktail but a menagerie of fantastical flavors that blend in harmony: sweet, dry, citrusy, and fruity. It has notes of a light perfume — one that maybe Doris Day would wear, but after 10 sips, when the alcohol creeps in, it’s more Cher.
Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge, 849 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-8490; eight4nine.com
PHOTO COURTESY OF EIGHT4NINE RESTAURANT & LOUNGE
Paulie Wakim, bartender at Eight4Nine, crafts a beautiful cocktail in a goblet glistening with Italian sparkling wine and sweet with strawberries.
Original Champagne Cocktail
Seymour’s at Mr. Lyons Steakhouse
Sugar, bitters, Tariquet Armagnac, Lanson Black Label Brut Champagne.
If you’ve been binge-watching The Crown on Netflix, then you’ll feel the British colonial vibe the second you walk through the heavy velvet curtains at Seymour’s, the elusive back room at Mr. Lyons. It’s as if Prince Philip and his chums have cheerio’d their way to Palm Springs and settled in at this intimate cocktail bar ordering such classics as the Bees Knees or Rob Roy.
PHOTO BY TIFFANY CARTER
Toast the new year with a classic cocktail made with the Queen’s favorite champagne. Elegant, classic, simple, yet so flavorful on the palate.
You’ll find owner Steen Bojsen-Moller behind the bar, crafting exceptional cocktails to the sound of vinyl records and background chatter. Order the Original Champagne Cocktail made with the Queen’s favorite champagne, and you won’t be able to keep your pinky down — it’s elegant, classic, and simple, yet so flavorful. The Tariquet Armagnac elevates the drink to “woo hoo” status. Served in a flute, this bubbly will make you feel fancy and free while wearing your New Year’s Eve party frock.
Seymour’s, 233 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-892-9000; seymoursps.com
The Mini Bar
Parker Palm Springs
Kikori Japanese Whiskey, ginger, grapefruit oils, sea salt, and yuzu bitters.
When you’re all dressed up with everywhere to go, The Mini Bar at the Parker Palm Springs is the tiny breezeway between the many mod lounges set up throughout this kitschy boutique hotel, with plenty of Instagram backdrops for those perfect “look at me and my last cocktail of 2017” selfies. Although the bar is small, it makes a big statement on unique cocktails. If you’re not charmed by bartender George Gomez’s infectious personality, then you’ll be mesmerized by his cocktail game — it’s strong! The Genevieve is perfumed with sensual oils like ginger and grapefruit. The Kikori Japanese Whiskey has a floral and fragrant aroma and a velvety smoothness to the palate. A dash of sea salt and a sprinkle of yuzu bitters brings the romantic cocktail to new heights. Sweet and feminine, it’s a light peach in color, which in color symbolism means life, harmony, and an increase in warmth — all good things with which to ring in the New Year.
The Mini Bar at The Parker Palm Springs, 4200 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-770-5000; parkerpalmsprings.com
PHOTO BY TIFFANY CARTER
This daring and luscious cocktail is made with a smooth Japanese Whiskey with sensual notes of ginger and grapefruit oils.
Truss & Twine
Gin, creme de menthe, lime, and sugar.
This flirty Prohibition-era drink is served in a classic champagne coupe à la The Great Gatsby. It’s light and faintly sweet, which evokes feelings of youth and good times. All the flavors are merry and bright, forming a delicate cocktail with a boozy finish. Fallen Angel is the perfect drink to celebrate New Year’s Eve, toasting your friends and lovers with a buzzed sophistication. Bartender Patrick Johnson crafts serious cocktails at Truss & Twine, including those from the Golden Age (Old Fashioned and gimlets), tiki drinks, and the Dark Ages (Long Island Iced Tea and White Russian). For New Year’s Eve, stay awhile — they’ll have a prix fixe menu with tasty dishes, assorted truffles, and champagne.
Truss & Twine, 800 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-459-3451; trussandtwine.com
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PHOTO BY TIFFANY CARTER
The beautiful and angelic cocktail is served in a Gatsby-inspired champagne coupe and the gin paired with lime and mint evokes feelings of good times and new beginnings.