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Palm Springs, California, is a mecca for the LGBTQIA+ community and home to some of the most fabulous boutique hotels in the world. Many of our hotels are attached to equally spirited bars and restaurants that serve up some deliciously colorful cocktails.

Today, I’m spotlighting five different bars that are serving up the Top Five “Gayest” Drinks in Palm Springs in honor of our vibrant LGBTQIA+ community. Each bar has its own unique take on their gayest drink, and I’m excited to share them with you.

The “Garden Cooler” at Azucar at the La Serena Villas

Azucar is a cozy little hideaway at the La Serena Villas. The bartender, Manny, served up the Garden Cooler, made with rum, cucumber, basil, lemon, and sugar. This drink was not only refreshing, but it’s also the perfect blend of sweet and tangy. Manny created this drink on the spot for me to review, and I have to say, he hit it out of the park. It’s not too sweet and goes down easy, making it a fantastic drink for a hot summer day. This drink made me feel like a Slim Aarons model from one of his iconic Palm Springs photographs. This drink is not on the menu, but I’m sure Manny will make one special for you upon request. Azucar at La Serena Villas, 339 S. Belardo Road.

The Garden Cooler at Azucar. Photo by Gregory Douglass

The “Hello Kitty Kitty” at Blackbook

Blackbook is in the heart of Palm Springs’ beloved Arenas District. Tom the bartender poured me a Hello Kitty Kitty, made with Portland Potato Vodka, Giffard’s Violette liqueur, club soda, Orgeat almond syrup, and a mammoth rosemary sprig for garnish. This drink has been on the menu since Blackbook first opened, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s sweet, bubbly, and looks like a psychedelic rosemary garden in a glass. Blackbook, 315 E. Arenas Road.

The Hello Kitty Kitty at Blackbook. Photo by Gregory Douglass

The “Lucy Goosey” at Del Rey at Villa Royale

Del Rey is a hip Mediterranean tapas-style joint, tucked inside the Villa Royale hotel. Alejandro was behind the bar, serving up the Lucy Goosey. He made this drink with Grey Goose vodka, orange liquor, raspberry syrup, and lemon, shaken and strained into a coup glass with lime zest. Alejandro created this drink on the spot for me to review, and it tasted like a bowl of frozen sherbet on a perfect summer day. It’s fruity, but not too sweet, and it’s a great drink for any occasion. He chose the name “Lucy Goosey” as an ode to famed Palm Springs celebrity Lucille Ball and the Grey Goose the cocktail was made with. While it may not be on Del Rey’s drink menu, I’m sure Alejandro will make one special for you if asked. Del Rey at Villa Royale, 1620 S. Indian Trail.

The Lucy Goosey at Del Rey. Photo by Gregory Douglass

The “La Passion Pour la Vie” at The Front Porch

The Front Porch, located in the heart of downtown Palm Springs, is known for La Passion Pour la Vie, the winner of the Audience Choice Award at the 2020 Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Competition. It’s lovingly made with house-infused apple tequila, mezcal, house-made passion fruit syrup, house-made apple juice, St. Germain, lemon, and a float of pomegranate liqueur, smoked with applewood. The La Passion Pour la Vie is a work of art. It’s as delicious as it looks (the flowers are even edible), and it’s the perfect drink to sip on a warm Palm Springs evening. If “Gayest Drink in Palm Springs” were an official competition, this cocktail wins my vote. The Front Porch, 117 La Plaza.

The La Passion Pour la Vie at The Front Porch. Photo courtesy of The Front Porch

The “Plush Cosmo” at V Wine Lounge

Finally, we have V Wine Lounge, where Doug served up the Plush Cosmo. This drink is made with Plush plum-flavored vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, and freshly-squeezed lime juice. This drink is essentially a Cosmo, but the plum-flavored, corn-distilled vodka by Plush takes it to the next level. It’s not too sweet, and the fresh lime really accentuates the flavors. V Wine Lounge, 600 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way.

The Plush Cosmo in a martini glass

The Plush Cosmo at V Wine Lounge. Photo by Gregory Douglass

Whether you’re looking for something sweet, tangy, or bubbly, there’s a drink for everyone here in Palm Springs. So come and explore, sip, and savor the flavors. I think it’s safe to say that Palm Springs is serving up some of the best drinks in the world year-round.

Gorgeous rooms? Check. Relaxing spa with a variety of services? Check. A sparkling pool? Check. Restaurant with rooftop lounge and intriguing cocktails? Check.

Everything you need for the perfect Palm Springs stay is at La Serena Villas. Originally built in 1933 as a 26-unit hotel, this resort in the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood was redeveloped as a luxury hotel in 2016 by architect May Sung. The 18 secluded villas each have a private patio with a clawfoot tub, fire pit, and built-in benches, with Avenue Interior Design behind every room’s furniture, finishes, and materials.

Whispers Spa offers facials, massages, and body treatments, while Azucar restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Enjoy dining in the restaurant or sipping cocktails at Sugar High, the rooftop lounge. The hotel, owned by Lars Viklund, has a Spanish colonial feel, and is next door to one of his other properties, the Del Marcos Hotel, and across from his latest acquisition, The Three Fifty Hotel.

You’re never too old to need your mom.

Welcome to that one time of year when we take time to honor our moms for everything they have done for us. Considering she wiped our butts for the first few years of our lives and put up with our adolescent shenanigans and teen angst, one day doesn’t seem like enough, you know?

So, I’m going to suggest you take mom on a little getaway to Palm Springs, and I’m going to help you out on the planning front because I’m nice like that (and it was my idea, so…).

I’ve got a few hotel suggestions, mostly because they’re gorgeous and more pointedly, they have some sort of spa/wellness services . And Mom deserves a spa treatment or 10, and a cushy bed to rest her head.

First the hotels, and then the Mother’s Day activities. Let’s go.

Stay in style 

L’Horizon: Spa treatments and yoga sweeten the already decadent property. Mom will never forget the pampering she will receive at this very special location. Everything is 5-star here, even the restaurant, SO.PA.

A treatment space at The Spa at L’Horizon. Photo courtesy of L’Horizon

Ingleside Inn: This is the epitome of old Hollywood in Palm Springs, and more than just a gorgeous property. It has a terrific restaurant, Melvyn’s, which also has one of the coolest old school bars in Palm Springs. There is a piano player most nights, and celebrities have been known to sit in. Spa services are available.

Korakia Pensione: Laid-back and groovy, they have a tea service and yoga on the lawn. It’s a Class 1 historic building that sweeps you away. There’s a market on premises with clothes and things from far, far away to add to the exotic feel. Very cool variety of massage and wellness services, offered outdoors or in your room.

Relaxation awaits at Korakia Pensione. Photo courtesy of Korakia Pensione

Andreas Hotel & Spa: Located in the heart of downtown, Mom will enjoy the onsite spa services such as “Me Time” (a 55-minute aromatherapy massage, with a glass of champagne) or the “Summer Delight” (a 55-minute Swedish massage, 55-minute Vital C facial, and champagne). Right next door are two of the best restaurants in Palm Springs: Cheeky’s (breakfast) and Birba (dinner.)

La Serena Villas: The best of all worlds — Whispers Spa is on premises, and the hotel’s restaurant, Azucar, and Sugar High Rooftop Lounge are terrific additions to the light and airy space that permeates the whole place.

Whispers Spa. Photo courtesy of La Serena Villas

Or, you could stay at one of our other wonderful resorts and take Mom to the new Séc-he Spa downtown. For $145 you can get a pass to “Taking the Waters” and enjoy their communal offerings. If you get a massage or facial, that price is waived.

Restaurants with a special May 14 menu

Chi Chi: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy a poolside Mother’s Day Brunch, with favorite specials like the Nutella French toast and Alaskan crab benedict on the menu.

LULU: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be special brunch and dinner offerings. The Mother’s Day dinner is a 3-course delight with a delectable selection of dishes including slow- roasted prime rib, fresh filet of Atlantic salmon, chicken cordon bleu, and much more.

Melvyn’s: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Indulge with this 3-course Mother’s Day brunch featuring steak Diane and eggs, smoked salmon benedict, and banana bread French toast. For an additional $25, you get bottomless bubbles. Melvyn’s has a luxurious atmosphere — very “old Hollywood/Palm Springs,” and the grounds are lovely.

Labor Pains: A musical Mother’s Day Sunday brunch, at 11 a.m. This “humorous and heartfelt musical look at the joys, memories, trials, and tribulations of motherhood.” During this 4-course brunch, the bubbly and Bloody Marys will be free-flowing, along with fantastic music and laughter. $89

A few more suggestions

I’m going to toss in a few other special places that have not announced yet (and may not), but I think Mom will love them:

Le Vallauris:  Book the patio.

Johannes: German food in a fresh, clean-lined restaurant with terrific wall art.

Pomme Frite: French bistro food and feel.

French Miso: It’s located in La Plaza, but the entrance is just south of the parking. It’s so cute Mom will want photo after photo.

Spencer’s: Located in the old Tennis Club (Class 1 historic building), book the Bougainvillea Room for brunch.

The patio at Spencer’s. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

If you and your mother are hikers and kitty lovers, take her for an early hike up Araby Trail then pop back down to Frisky Business for a coffee, tea, or nosh and play time with some kitties. Squee!

I haven’t run out of ideas, but I’ve run out of time this month, so happy Mother’s Day to all the moms — and to all the grown kids who are still looking for validation, this might do the trick. I’m kidding…I think.

The Kirkwood Collection is expanding, with the luxury boutique hotel group adding La Serena Villas, The Del Marcos Hotel, and The Three Fifty Hotel to its portfolio.

Built in 1933, La Serena Villas is a dream destination for guests who want everything in one place. This Spanish hacienda-style property has 18 bungalows, with private patios boasting outdoor tubs and fire pits. Whispers Spa provides a variety of treatments, including facials and massages, and is open to guests of La Serena Villas, The Del Marcos Hotel, and The Three Fifty Hotel. The hotel’s restaurant, Azúcar, serves contemporary food with a focus on fresh local ingredients. For an after-dinner drink, head up to Sugar High, one of only two rooftop bars in Palm Springs.

A patio swing

Guests can relax outside on their private patios. Photo courtesy of La Serena Villas

The Del Marcos Hotel is a mid-century modern treasure, designed by William F. Cody in 1947. This 17-room boutique hotel was named a historic site in 2012, and retains its original redwood and native stone. The rooms are all named after acclaimed architects and artists who left their mark in Palm Springs, including Nat Reed and Donald Wexler, whose family provided original prints and photos for his suite. The two-story hotel surrounds a large courtyard pool that has plenty of comfortable loungers.

The stone front of Del Marcos Hotel

Welcome to The Del Marcos Hotel. Photo courtesy of The Del Marcos Hotel

The pet-friendly Three Fifty Hotel is also a mid-century modern property, built in 1950 and fully renovated in 2017. Designed by Herbert W. Burns, the 10-room hotel features stunning, unobstructed views of the San Jacinto Mountains and a spacious heated pool and spa. The rooms are all poolside, and come with comfortable king-sized beds.

A pool with loungers and palm trees in the background

It’s always pool time at The Three Fifty Hotel. Photo courtesy of The Three Fifty Hotel

With the acquisition of La Serena Villas, The Del Marcos Hotel, and The Three Fifty Hotel, The Kirkwood Collection now has five properties in Greater Palm Springs and 10 boutique hotels and residences in California.

A little tequila, a little dance, a little party in your pants. — Kay Kudukis

It’s Cinco de Mayo again, happens every damn year — and we’re very happy about that. Before we get into where to go and what to do, let’s clarify a few misconceptions about the day.

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. That date is actually September 16 (someone needs to get on that right away, we always need another reason to drink tequila).

Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of one, count ’em, one battle. And that battle was the Battle of Puebla. The players in the battle: 6,000 French troops vs. 2,000 ragtag, poorly supplied but determined Mexicans. The battle raged from daybreak to early evening, and when the smoke cleared, the French had lost nearly 500 soldiers, while fewer than 100 Mexicans lost their lives. Viva la Puebla!

In 1863, the first Cinco de Mayo celebrations began in southern border states like California, and always ready for a reason to break out the tequila, in the United States it’s been a jammin’ party ever since. That bolded part is important because the only people in Mexico that celebrate the day are the Pueblans. No banks are closed, the mail still comes, no parades, and no parties.  

But thankfully we’re hedonists, and our own worst enemy (have you ever experienced a tequila hangover? Death seems preferable at the time). Here’s a list of all of the local spots for great Mexican food and getting your tequila on in moderation:

El Mirasol — there are two locations in Palm Springs (one at the Los Arboles Hotel), try the jalapeño margarita and the stuffed pepper 

Dinner is served at El Mirasol. Photo by Kim Munkres

Azucar — fancy, downtown, with a rooftop bar (at La Serena Villas)

Las Casuelas Terraza — expect a Mariachi Band, and much more

Las Cazuelas Original — the food is terrific

Felipe’s — great food and margaritas, family owned

JJ’s Mexican Oasis — family owned and delicious Cadillac margaritas

Loco Charlie’s — off of Sunrise near the Albertsons, it’s a “joint” but the food is fabulous (and the drinks are, too)

Tac/Quila — upscale Mexican seafood, and the design is super

La Bonita’s — haven’t been, but I hear it’s good

Maracas — great people watching

El Patio — run by Felipe’s

The poolside view of Azucar. Photo courtesy of La Serena Villas

La Perlita — way off the beaten path, but it’s got some great food and drinks

El Taco Asado — authentic Mexican food and full bar

Blue Coyote Bar and Grill — right downtown

Rio Azul — on Indian Canyon, and I hear it’s terrific

El Patron — best for people watching

Sancho’s — breakfast and lunch, brand spankin’ new

El Mirasol at night. Photo by Kim Munkres

And here are the only two places, right now, that are having full-blown, advertised Cinco de Mayo celebrations:

Cinco De Mayo at Hunters Nightclub

Margo Rey and an All-Star Latin Jazz Band at Jazzville (Cascade Lounge at Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs)

If you don’t drink, you can alway eat, and all of the above have terrific food. Those who celebrate events with cannabis should jump on the Cannabus for one of their Express Tours. Dispensaries now have beverages for consumption, as well as powders to put in your soda water (never ever put it in an unsuspecting person’s drink or meal, or you might end up in jail like these ladies did. Rude!). Make sure to read the dosage labels, like I didn’t — I ended up riding a light beam into the deepest recesses of my mind. It was fun, but not for everyone.

As always, consume everything responsibly, and grabs some Beano before you go!