Brandon Infusino Uses Only the Freshest Ingredients for His Drinks
Written By: Sara Hyland
Photographed By: Tae Kwon Purple Palm Restaurant
Expert: Brandon Infusino
Credentials: Lead Bartender at Purple Palm Restaurant
Favorite Ingredients: rosemary, thyme and fresh juices
Inside the beautiful Colony Palms Hotel is the incomparable Purple Palm Restaurant. This space offers more than delicious American cuisine in a stunning poolside setting; there is a bar serving up drinks patrons will find nowhere else in the Valley. Who is the mastermind behind these libations? Lead Bartender Brandon Infusino.
Question: Tell us about your history as a bartender. How has Purple Palm changed since you’ve been here?
Brandon Infusino: I’ve been a bartender for eight years, and five of those have been here. I started as a bar-back at the Renaissance Esmeralda [now the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa] and the bartender there sort of took me under his wing, but my girlfriend was who really motivated me to become a bartender. She knew the former sous chef here and everything worked out. When I got here, the menu was all basic resort drinks, and now I’d like to think it’s more interesting and crafty, which makes it more special for guests.
Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from to make your libations?
BI: I can draw inspiration from my surroundings or taking the time to be creative in my downtime. I can also be inspired by my clientele. They’re not stupid, so I trust their judgment. Every season, I like to change it up for them. In summer we provide drinks conducive to lounging by the pool, so there’s a lot of sparkling drinks. In fall, we have drinks like the Gangster Groove, which has allspice dram and ginger beer in it—which are very seasonal flavors.
Q: What are some of your favorite ingredients to work with?
BI: Gin, because it’s a versatile mixing spirit. I personally like Nolet’s gin because it has predominant flavors like Turkish rose and white peach. I also like working with rosemary and thyme, fresh juices.
Q: You use a lot of accessories and tools in your libations. Are those essential?
BI: They need to have a purpose. When I use those, they’re not for “ooh’s and ahhs.” None of it is meant to be gimmicky—when I light something on fire with a blowtorch, it’s to bring out flavors.
Q: There’s a libation on the menu called Brandon’s Famous Sangria. What makes your sangria different from others?
BI: It’s not as sweet as most sangrias. There’s a tartness that comes from pomegranate juice, and spice that comes from fresh cinnamon sticks. I also make a white sangria in the summer with a white peach puree.
Q: Can you give us your top three tips for making the best libations?
BI: One, avoid store-bought sweet and sour—always use fresh-squeezed juice. Two, use agave nectars and simple syrups. And three, try to incorporate purees and fresh herbs from your garden if you can. Be creative.
Q: What is the biggest mistake people make when mixing libations?
BI: I would say most people tend to build all the ingredients in a glass. Mix your ingredients in a shaker tin and then pour it over ice.
Top Five Libations to Order:
Rio Rita : Tequila, blood orange puree, lime juice, ghost pepper
Mojave Mule : Vodka, lime juice, bitters, peach and ginger beer
Covered Wagon : Bourbon, Gentiane, lemon, ginger beer
The Purple Gang : Vodka, muddled grapes, lemon, pinot noir float
Aperol on Fire : Aperol, gin, lemon juice, singed orange
Rebel With A Cause: The cocktail list pays homage to the rebel spirit of the restaurant’s beginnings with classic libations and a sense of humor.
Native Knowledge: Opened in 1936, the Colony Palms Hotel was originally owned by alleged mobster Al Wertheimer. He even established a basement casino and speakeasy in the hotel.
The Purple Palm
572 N Indian Canyon Dr
Palm Springs, CA 92262
The Purple Palm’s Brandon Infusino Uses Only the Freshest Ingredients