A couple of weeks ago the Dallas Observer and its readers bid farewell to Alexa Schirtzinger, aka Veggie Girl. She was heading out to travel in South America and have fantastic adventures, and we just had to send her off with an after work bon voyage.
Veggie Girl and Girl Drink Drunk had collaborated on columns before, and we were going to do it again. At the Windmill. From the specialty drink menu. And for free for the very first time as the clouds parted, light shone down and the boss man had the tab covered. Indeed, this was going to be a staff project.
Our honoree was already drinking a martini, so I chose something kinda sorta related: the ZenTini. It's a shaken potion of Zen Green Tea Liqueur (which is made by Suntory, for those Bill Murray fans out there) and Monopolowa vodka. We ordered four for the group: one each for girl drinkers Lindsey and Sarah and two for tasting and sharing amongst the group. Bartender Sarah shook with all her might and served up the opaque and peridot-tinted cocktails. Alexa compared the appearance to the sewage in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Pete Freedman likened it to cactus juice.
And that's about where the jokes stopped and the group divided. As soon as I took a sip, my eyelid started to spasm like crazy. The taste was distantly related to green tea, and more akin to a vinegar mother. Megan didn't speak, but shook her head furiously and pushed the drink away after one sip. Alexa agreed declaring, "That is SO not for me." Mark (the big boss), replied with, "That's so medicinal it's ridiculous," but paid the bill anyway.
I know I'd have prefered a simple vodka martini, if restricted to the "tini" glass and class, and Lord knows the Windmill can serve one up real fine-like, so I blame this tragedy on the Zen.
I took a break to go draw on the wall in the bathroom (for real, that's not a euphemism for lady business; it's covered in chalkboard paint) and then returned to discover folks in the other camp were finding harmony with Zen.
Wilonsky decided it had hints of coffee, licorice and vanilla. "I would scramble that in with some eggs and make some French toast with it," he declared...because he does gourmet things like that. He also has a fantastic recipe for creamed Brussels sprouts so generally we trust. Sam offered that the ZenTini was, in fact, "better than an appletini and that kind of bullshit. It doesn't have that obnoxious aftertaste." Sarah and Lindsey continued to drink theirs, which would seem like two votes cast for Zen, though Li'l Miss L did mention it was on the strong side.
I do wish Alexa had enjoyed her final foray into Girl Drink Drunk territory, but we got her back on track with a beverage more to her liking. Folks petered out, co-owner Charlie straightened tables for the post-happy hour night crowd, Wilonsky and Sam bro-ed down, talking and drinking with some dudes we didn't know, and so it became our own little ladies night.
We remaining girls repeatedly declared our love for the Windmill and hit the jukebox and touch screen video game. Erotic Photo Hunt. We reigned supreme. I mean, c'mon, if Alexa was leaving, we might as well have kept her from finishing her packing for a good reason, and partially naked Photoshopped dudes seemed like the perfect thing. Or maybe that's the Zen talking. I did mention that although it made my eyelid twitch, I kept drinking it, didn't I? Yeah, once I got past the fermented sock flavor, it was pretty tolerable. And it was free. And it was that pretty green color. I like green.
Alexa, we miss you! We wish you the safest of travels and will never make you drink Zen again if you come back and visit.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.