I’m always up for a challenge, and when that challenge involves helping my beloved City of Rancho Mirage choose a signature cocktail to celebrate its 40th anniversary, I’m more than willing to help out. “Helping out” in this case actually involves tasting libations from the close to two dozen eateries in town that have master cocktail mixers entered in the contest! The celebrity judging will take place at The River on Saturday, April 13, 2013, with the winning bartender being awarded $850!
(For the record, the establishments that are participating include: Catalan, Hilton Garden Inn, Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse, Old Spaghetti Factory, Pinzimini at the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa, Thai Smile of Rancho Mirage, bluEmber at Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa, The Crab Pot, Applebee’s, Johnny Rockets, Wally’s Desert Turtle, Acqua Pazza, The Steakhouse at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, Las Casuelas Nuevas, Burgers & Beer, and Shame On The Moon.)
I’ve been making my way through the list and have had a blast checking out all the creative recipes. (Of course I would never reveal MY favorites so far, as I wouldn’t want to skew the results!) A side benefit to participating in this contest as a voter is that you get to hang out with some fun and fascinating facts by way of cocktail napkins! (Who would have ever thought?!) Here are just a few of the many things you can learn by sipping a great drink at a wonderful Rancho Mirage eatery:
Did you know that Lucille Ball was twice the honorary mayor of Rancho Mirage?
PAY TO PARK
Did you know that the only parking meter in Rancho Mirage was installed by friends of Jack Benny in front of his unit at Blue Skies Trailer Village?
Did you know that in the first years of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Dinah Shore would—on the last night of the tournament—invite staff and players over for spaghetti and meatballs?
Did you know that in the late 1960s, Bob and Dolores Hope donated 80 acres of Rancho Mirage land, which became the site for the now world-renowned Eisenhower Medical Center and the Betty Ford Clinic?
PRESIDENT GERALD FORD
Did you know that President Ford so loved his retirement years in Rancho Mirage that he requested that his funeral motorcade drive slowly through his beloved city before departing for Michigan for burial?
THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
Did you know that Frank Sinatra rushed to complete his Tamarisk Country Club compound in Rancho Mirage to entertain president-elect John Kennedy, who then failed to show up?
Did you know that Ford Motors got the idea to name its iconic automobile after Thunderbird Country Club in Rancho Mirage?
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN
Did you know that President Reagan celebrated every New Year’s Eve of his presidency at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage as a guest of Walter and Leonore Annenberg?
QUEEN ELIZABETH II
Did you know that when Queen Elizabeth II visited Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage in 1983, Walter Annenberg greeted her with the welcoming words, “See how ordinary Americans live?”
Did you know that Harpo Marx once played a round of golf at the Rancho Mirage Tamarisk Country Club in August without wearing a stitch of clothing?
Cocktails and a little history lesson. It’s a combo I’m loving! See you at The River for the finale on April 13th. And don’t forget to vote!