Bartenders across the Coachella Valley draw their mixology inspiration from the desert — and you can bring a taste of Palm Springs to your home bar with these cocktail recipes. Raise a glass to the oasis with these local favorites.
FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS EGGNOG GROG
330 E. Amado Rd. Palm Springs. 760-866-1952
There’s no better place for a Christmas cocktail, says Tropicale owner Tony di Lembo. “We’ve been making this grog for years and it’s just what [festival attendees] want on a chilly December night.”
• 5 egg yolks
• ¾ cup sugar
• 1 cup cream
• 2 cups milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 ounce vanilla vodka
• 1 ounce Bailey’s Irish Cream
Whisk yolks and sugar until creamy. Add cream, milk, and vanilla. Stir and set eggnog mix aside. Fill a rocks glass with ice, vodka, and Bailey’s. Add 3 ounces homemade eggnog mix. Save the leftover mix for round two (and three and four). Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg or a cinnamon stick.
233 E. Palm Canyon Dr. Palm Springs. 760-892-9000
When the sun dips below the lowest spar on the mast of a boat, it’s time to drink, says Steen Bojsen-Møller, cocktail engineer and co-owner of Seymour’s, the back-room bar at Mr. Lyons Steakhouse — and this could be as early as 11 a.m. “At about that time people start drinking here in the desert, maybe over a round of golf or at some all-day happy hour.”
• 2 ounces vodka
• ½ ounce Yellow Chartreuse
• 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
• 1 ounce simple syrup
• 2 dashes of orange bitters
• 4 basil leaves for garnish
Shake all ingredients except the basil together in a shaker tin. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice and garnish with basil leaves.
OLD BLUE EYES
Purple Room Supper Club
1900 E. Palm Canyon Dr. Palm Springs. 760-322-4422
Beverage director Heather Huetti designed this stiff drink in honor of Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, so it’s no wonder this Frank Sinatra quote adorns one of the Purple Room’s walls: “Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the Bible says love your enemy.”
• 2 ounces Wild Turkey 101 Rye
• ½ ounce burnt sugar syrup
• Lemon and orange rinds
• Angostura bitters
Serve over a big ice cube in a double old-fashioned glass with a thick orange twist.
Colony Palms Hotel
572 N. Indian Canyon Dr. Palm Springs. 760-969-1800
A play on the classic verjus cocktail, this one is a nod to Al Wertheimer’s Detroit Purple Gang, the baddies who founded the Colony Palms property in 1938.
• 5 muddled grapes
• 2 ounces vodka
• ¾ ounces St.-Germain liqueur
• ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
• ½ ounce simple syrup
• Pinot noir
Put the pinot aside, and mix all other ingredients in a shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass and top with a pinot noir float.
Amigo Room at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club
701 E. Palm Canyon Dr.
Palm Springs. 760-325-9900
This refreshing nectar is a Palm Springs spa day in liquid form. Shake one up and sip by the pool.
• 2 ounces vodka
• 3 ounces pineapple juice
• 5 mint leaves (muddled)
• 1 slice of cucumber (muddled)
Shake ingredients together and pour into a glass. Garnish with another cucumber slice.
PHOTO BY BUD JOHNSON
Lulu California Bistro
200 S. Palm Canyon Dr. Palm Springs. 760-327-5858
A little sweet, a little sour. Beverage director Chris Bluhm says this tequila ’tini is inspired by hazy desert sunsets. The drink was created by one of Lulu’s bartenders, Megan Naymola, he says. “It’s one of the most popular drinks on our menu.”
• 1 ½ ounces Patron Silver tequila
• 2 squeezes of a lime wedge
• Splash of sweet-and-sour
• Splash of pineapple juice
• Lime wheel
Fill a shaker tin with ice. Add the ingredients (except for the Chambord and lime wheel). Shake, and then strain into a martini glass. Drizzle Chambord down the side of the glass and garnish with the lime wheel.
Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa
71333 Dinah Shore Dr. Rancho Mirage. 760-328-5955
Created by a Coachella Valley local, the Caliente Margarita comes from a family recipe and has even won a valley-wide cocktail competition. The heat in this drink is just right, says marketing manager Laura Hunt Little. “It’s a spicy blast of cool flavor for a hot desert day.”
• 2 ounces Tanteo jalapeño-infused tequila
• 1 ounce Grand Marnier
• 1 ounce sweet-and-sour
• Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice to top off
• Sliced jalapeños
Mix tequila, Grand Marnier, and sweet-and-sour. Top with grapefruit juice, and garnish with jalapeños.
Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse
71800 Highway 111 Rancho Mirage. 760-346-8738
Sure, most bars serve up a decent Bloody Mary. But Babe’s recipe is locally smoked. Who needs lunch, when you’ve got a sandwich in a glass?
• 2 ounces Absolut Peppar (Babe’s infuses theirs with three slices of house-smoked sweet bacon for four weeks)
• 6 ounces Bloody Mary mix, loaded with spices
• 1 slice crispy bacon
• 1 leaf romaine lettuce
• 1 grape tomato
Shake together vodka and Bloody Mary mix and pour over ice in a tall glass with salted rim. Garnish with the lettuce, bacon slice, and grape tomato.