More and more people are easing up to the idea of a night out without the need for social lubricants, and Greater Palm Springs restaurants are responding with more than club soda with lime or a virgin Bloody Mary. Instead adventurous bartenders have begun replacing alcohol with juices and other refreshing ingredients to experiment with new flavor combinations.
Here are six spots where mocktails claim a respectable spot on the bar menu.
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Tommy Bahama’s Marlin Bar, Palm Springs
Cocktails mimicking popular mainstream drinks — The Island Tea (Long Island Iced Tea), Faux-jito (Mojito) and a Pain Chiller (Pain Killer) — provide a variety of tropical options to enjoy on the outdoor patio. The Faux-jito is a convincing nonalcoholic copycat to the Mojito. The muddled fresh mint, lime, and effervescence of the lemon-lime soda give it a more balanced and citrusy flavor than the classic Cuban cocktail.
PHOTOGRAPH BY TIFFANY CARTER
State Fare Bar + Kitchen at The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage
Anything with rosemary has my stamp of approval, and that is the enticing ingredient inside the Sparkling Rosemary Lemonade at State. The mixture of fresh rosemary, lemon, and soda water is worthy of savoring all night long without risk or guilt. Other refreshers include the Carlito, made with coconut water, pineapple, and house grenadine syrup, and the Pomegranate Spritz with pomegranate, orange blossom, and lemon-lime soda.
The Grill on Main, La Quinta
At The Grill on Main in Old Town La Quinta, bartenders mix inventive mocktails with farm-fresh ingredients and housemade syrup and juice mixes that give offer a distinctive and vibrant flavor. In addition to the Rosemary Lemonade, try the Lavender Lemonade, a calming blend of lavender-infused syrup, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and an edible flower. I love the complexity of the Red Pepper Watermelon Limeade that has just the right amount of bite to keep you sipping. It contains red pepper-infused syrup, watermelon puree, and fresh lime juice — a tantalizing blend that will fool your crew.
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4Saints at the Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs
The bar ingredients at 4Saints evokes magical secret gardens: the Gypsy Dancer boasts pineapple shrub, lime, cilantro, mint, and jalapeño, while the Northside blends house-made lime cordial, mint, and soda water. My favorite is the Garden Tonic — a simple, carefree drink made of tonic water and Seedlip Garden 108, a nonalcoholic spirit containing a floral blend of peas and homegrown hay with an herbal base of spearmint, rosemary, and thyme.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY KIMPTON ROWAN PALM SPRINGS
The Garden Tonic from 4Saints at the Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs is a herbal and floral blend of unique ingredients of peas, homegrown hay, spearmint, rosemary and thyme.
Wildest Greens, Palm Desert
A devilish good drink, Hell Mary — like the classic Bloody Mary — is a fresh, cold-pressed juice made with tomato, celery, beet, carrot, lime, onion, sea salt, and grated horseradish for the kick. It’s perfect anytime of day — especially Sunday brunch.
The Reef, Palm Springs
Even Keel Cocktails
Tiki cocktails are a desert staple, playing into midcentury vibes with quirky glassware and colorful accouterments like pink paper umbrellas and neon plastic palm trees. The Reef’s selection of nonalcoholic tiki drinks never skimps on flavor or style. The Huntington Cad and The Pain-Free are mighty tasty, but my go-to is The Lo-Fi Fizz made with clement-spiced syrup, pineapple, hibiscus syrup, lime, and soda that create a stunning ruby-red color.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY THE REEF PALM SPRINGS
This ruby-red mocktail is made with clement-spiced syrup, pineapple, hibiscus syrup, lime and soda.