Long gone are the days of Prohibition, when underground bars and smuggled cocktails were de rigueur, but folks still line up in front of unmarked buildings and hidden wall panels to hit the latest hot speakeasy. Why? For the same reason we devour celebrity memoirs and are tempted to read our older siblings’ diaries — we love knowing secrets.
And now Coachella Valley visitors and residents have one more secret to get excited about: Lulu California Bistro’s new Cocktail Party, a hidden-in-plain-sight, dialed-up take on the already festive mood at Lulu.
“[The Cocktail Party menu] won’t be passed around every single table like a regular menu,” explains Clenette Pantanella, Lulu’s cocktail specialist. Instead, you’ll have to be in the know and request the list of fun new drinks.
Want to get invited to the party without having to ask? Bring your besties. “We are well-known as a bar crawl spot,” Pantanella says. Pretty much any time you pass by Lulu’s lively patio, you’ll spot groups of revelers underneath the green umbrellas: gals with pink bridesmaid sashes; guys sending their engaged pal off in style; friends ringing in birthdays with Champagne and cotton candy. “I wanted them to feel special,” Pantanella continues.
With that in mind, Pantanella packed the Cocktail Party menu with celebration-ready sips — including one-and-done shots that go down easy. “[Shots] bring everyone together,” she emphasizes. In addition to rounding up a list of spirits to serve neat and including popular shots like lemon drops and Scooby Snacks, Pantanella and her team also invented unique mixed shooters.
Crews who want more sessionable libations will have their pick of several vibrant new cocktails, many designed in partnership with Rancho Mirage boba bar Dragon Lili. Lulu’s bar team crafted boozy versions of classic fruity bubble tea drinks using tasty mix-ins like popping boba and mango jelly.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try the iced coffee cocktail, a blend of Mr. Black coffee liqueur, Licor 45 (a vanilla Spanish liqueur), half-and-half, and coffee jelly. Fans of sweet sips will like the pineapple-flavored Sparkling Kiwi Punch (the titular fruit comes in via kiwi popping boba) or the summery Strawberry Mango Sunset (Bacardi rum, orange juice, strawberry syrup, and mango jelly). “They’re fun, they’re colorful, they’re cocktails you wouldn’t see on other cocktail menus around town,” Pantanella says.
All of which makes them perfect for posting on your Instagram story or slipping into a TikTok commemorating your bachelorette weekend. No doubt you’ll have a flood of comments and replies inquiring, “Where did you get that?” Whether or not you want to let them in on the secret is up to you.
Try Lulu’s new Cocktail Party menu on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fridays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Visit Lulu for a new summer happy hour (Monday through Friday, 3 to 9 p.m.) to take advantage of special pricing on cocktails, beer, and wine.