What: The Desert Jewel
Where: Citron, inside the Viceroy Palm Springs, 415 S. Belardo Road, Palm Springs
How much: $14
Contact: 760-318-3005; www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/palmsprings
Why: It’s a perfect craft cocktail.
Regular readers of this feature know that your humble scribe likes—no, loves—a good craft cocktail.
Regular readers between the lines of this feature know that your humble scribe is pretty frustrated at the relative dearth of great craft cocktails in this valley.
Thankfully, more and more bars and restaurants are moving beyond Cape Cods and Jack-and-Cokes—and Citron at the Viceroy is undeniably one of the leaders of our valley’s emerging craft-cocktail scene.
Consider the Desert Jewel, Citron’s signature drink. The ingredient list: Absolut Mandarin, Aperol, grapefruit juice, lemon juice and Veuve champagne.
Great ingredients, yes, but the result of their combination is, as the saying goes, greater than the sum of the parts. The Desert Jewel is sweet, but subtly so. It’s citrusy, but not acidic. None of the ingredients overwhelm—which was a concern I had after reading the menu, because grapefruit tends to dominate. The cocktail is simply a refreshing, flavorful, slightly savory delight.
Of course, there’s a downside to craft cocktails at places like the Viceroy: They tend to be expensive, and this $14 drink is not an exception to that rule. One way to lessen the financial blow is to head to Citron’s oddly lit bar during Happy Hour—that’s 4:30 to 7 p.m., Sunday through Thursday—when some nice appetizers (including a revelatory watermelon gazpacho) and great cocktails can be had for just $6 each.
Sadly, the Desert Jewel is not one of those $6 cocktails. However, I’d take one $14 Desert Jewel over two $7 Cape Cods anytime. Life’s just too short for crappy cocktails.