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Oct 2, 2008 01:34 PM

Not what you thought you ordered. What to do?

You're having dinner in a restaurant and you order a specific cocktail. The server brings it to your table and it's obvious that the bartender has interpreted the recipe differently from what you were expecting. The ingredients might even be correct, but mixed in an odd way that no other bartender has served it.

What do you do? Send it back? Drink it even though you're unhappy with it? Do you take the time to give your server the recipe every time you order it so there is no misunderstanding?

PS. I'm still looking for the St Germain cocktail that was recommended on this board. I've been to 3 very nice, fine dining establishments in my state. Not only do they not serve it; they've not heard of it.

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  1. I would send it back and ask them whether they can remake it (with more of ingredient X or less of ingredient Y, etc). However i've found that even when you give them the recipe, they often ignore the proportions and just pour indiscriminately instead of measuring, so they tend to overpour the cheaper, more common components of the drink and underpour the more obscure components, messing up the balance.

    1. I typically just don't order another one. Where are you located by the way?

      1. Are you talking about A St. Germain cocktail? Or THE ST. Germain Cocktail? To be honest. I've never seen The St. Germain Cocktail on any cocktail menu. It is the signature cocktail created for St. Germain. But that doesn't mean it has general acceptance with mixologists, or is even any good.

        The recipe for The St. Germain Cocktail is:

        2 oz sparkling or dry white wine
        2-1/2 oz st. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
        2 oz sparkling water

        Stir all ingredients in a tall, ice filled Collins glass, mixing completely.

        3 Replies
          1. re: Icantread

            More often than not I will just drink it and order something else next go round. In the case of what happened to my friend last night, (ordered a Grey Goose martini but was given a Grey Goose Pear flavored martini....ack, tasted like bananas) I would have to send it back as it was undrinkable!

          2. re: JMF

            ooops, I meant 1-1/2 oz St Germain

          3. Last time this happened to me I sent it back and got a beer. Reason being that they were so far off the mark and the drink was disgusting. The place in question was in Toronto and had a cocktail menu. I ordered a Between the Sheets, listed as one of their signature cocktails. What I got was something neon green and fizzy served on the rocks in a pint glass. As soon as it showed up I told the waitress this wasn't what I'd ordered, and she said that this is how they make the drink. I tried a small test sip to make sure it wasn't some amazing modification of the original. It wasn't, so back it went. Nothing wrong with doing that, in my opinion. If there are more or less established ways of making a drink and some bartender decides to riff, it's their problem if I don't accept it.

            Another time I was at a restaurant in Seattle called Sazerac and of course wanted to try a Sazerac there... I didn't send the drink back that time, but was so annoyed by the experience that I posted about it on Chow a bit later...


            1 Reply
            1. re: davis_sq_pro

              If it's way off the mark and you're at a nice restaurant send it back when the waitress asks how everything is. After that order something simple like a beer or wine like davis_sq_pro suggests. A restaurant with good service is going to wnat you to be happy and will be happy to replace your drink.

              With that being said, if the bartender doesn't know how to make the drink or has never heard of it and you ask that they still make it - I think you're stuck with it. Go with something they're known for or good at mixing.

            2. Help the bartender who may never has heard of any such concoction, if unable, get something easy. Never assume that every bartender has heard of everything, especially if it is new or unique to a resto or bar. Most tenders want to learn new things, most of us are nice guys/girls