January 15, 2009 | 1:04pm
Monday night, a group of six girls settled into a cozy booth at a chain restaurant to um, "pepper in some refreshment." Seems strange to go with Chili's, perhaps, but the place has a spiral-bound menu
of specialty drinks. It's cute, it's colorfully illustrated and it's totally effective marketing, shamed as I am to admit it.
Marla, an unabashed girl drinker, asked Rodney, our totally kick-ass waiter if the specialties were hot tickets. "Are they popular?" he mused. "OK. Yeah. Well...I mean I guess the margaritas are." Then he grinned and brought us more chips while we deliberated on our drink choices. Six girls...20-plus glasses on the iconic tiled table by the end of the night (including water and an OJ for our beautiful and responsible designated driver, Chelsea).
Needless to say, we covered more than one cocktail variety...and made one vital discovery. In Jennifer's words, "you can't eat corn with girl drinks.".
I went in with Calypso Cooler on the brain. The Captain Morgan spiced rum, peach Schnapps, OJ and grenadine was an exact replica of my favorite "drink of the day" from a girls-only cruise some of us took to Cozumel a few years ago. Jennifer ordered one too. The flavor was dead-on--fruity and smooth, but way thick. I didn't want a Go-Gurt, I wanted a refreshing drink. Jennifer concurred and sucked hers down so she could move on.
She then went for the Reggae Sunsplash. A combo of Bacardi O rum, Gran Marnier, mango, OJ, sweet & sour and grenadine, the concoction was rather...stripping. "Cleaning fluid!" was blurted out after Jennifer's first strawful, and I had to taste it (call me masochistic). She was right. I've been to sunny Jamaica and seen someone splash in the water whilst listening to Bob Marley. That tasted nothing like this. This tasted like the smell of a freshly mopped clothing-optional resort floor...um, an assumption on my part. I move that Chili's should officially change the name of the Reggae Sunsplash to Swiffer Wet Royale.
My next selection (now that we'd been served our food, thank goodness) was the Mandarin Blush--girl drinker Stephanie's original selection. Upon my first sip I realized that she, the author of our own Hot Off the Grill
newsletter, had ordered quite possibly the most refreshing of the specialty drinks. Absolut Mandarin, cranberry juice cocktail and sprite blended for a light, fresh and perfectly weak cocktail. It would be great on a summer day, but it didn't do much for buzz continuance.
Jen (different than Jennifer) had won the prize of overall best selection with the Jamaican Paradise. She's adamantly anti-blue drink thanks to a horrific college drinking experience involving something called a Blue Valium. But despite the inclusion of blue curacao, the JP is green (It also contains Malibu, Sauza Gold tequila, Midori and--like every drink these days--sweet & sour). Somehow, despite the list of loathsome ingredients, that frothy green mug was fruity, not too melon-y, smooth and more than slightly stronger than the Blush. But not the strongest.
Marla originally ordered the Electric Lemonade. "Is it lemony or is it blue?" she asked Rodney. "It tastes good," he replied.
But her order was diverted by a missing or broken blender--we're not sure which. So, she went with the Tropical Sunrise, which subsequently was given the "Eff You Up" award. Because a layered "marga-tini" (I made that up, I admit) of Sauza Hornitos tequila, Midori, pineapple and grenadine will do that to you. I took a sip and my neck felt numb. Like, my entire neck. My ears were warm, maybe even fuzzy. It was weird.
It was when we were paying the tab and making closing comments that we realized just how girly the night had become. Dunno if was the drinks--we think it was the drinks--or just all of those female chromosomes in the same area, but the topics of conversation were especially femme. Chili's specialty drinks are weak, for the most part, but apparently bring out discussion of IUDs, erotic birthing on 20/20
, the wonder that was the original incarnation of Sassy magazine
, eavesdropping on fighting neighbors, the preferred three kinds of meat, boys, jobs, Indian cuisine as a means of inducing labor (quick shout out to Rodney's son-to-be Dominick Lee, due Friday) and the merits of ranch dressing.
Yeah, ranch dressing.
Now, I know at least one man who digs the Chili's girl drink, but you others have been forewarned.