Tuesday, March 5, 2013

To Tickle Your Funny Bone: Ordering Drinks Overseas

[Please pardon my departure from my usual topics of food and Mexico.  I wrote this post for The Hardship Homemaking blog, for which I am an occasional contributor and thought some of you might like to see it.]

If you drink alcohol, you probably have a favorite mixed drink. Just like with your favorite meal, blanket, or movie, being able to order "your drink" even when you're outside of the U.S. makes you feel like you just might survive, right?!? Coincidentally, I recently heard a couple of HILARIOUS stories from friends on this subject, so I thought I would share them here, with their permission of course. Hope this tickles your funny bone...and please share your funniest "foreign bartender" story with us, too!

My friend Katie on trying to order a Dirty Martini in Germany....

Photo Courtesy of 
"Drew and I were living in the hotel when we first got to Germany and decided to grab a drink at the bar in the lobby. I played it easy with a glass of wine, but he really wanted a dirty martini. The bartender was Italian and on the first attempt, just brought him a glass of straight Martini & Asti Vermouth. Drew took this as an educational opportunity and explained that he wanted 1 part vermouth, 2 parts vodka and a splash of olive juice. A short while later, a glass of booze arrived. It had some green globs floating at the top and looked pretty weird. We soon realized that our dear bartender thought that olive juice was olive oil! Wasn't long until Drew learned to stick to beer..."

My friend Kristina on trying to order a Caipiroska in MIAMI....yes, I realize that's not overseas, but there was some sort of language/cultural barrier going on...

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"During our holiday trip to Miami my husband and I joined some friends for dinner. Since living in Sao Paulo, Brazil on our first expatriate assignment, the Caipiroska has been my signature drink. I've enjoyed this refreshing, muddled, lime/sugar/ice/vodka glass of deliciousness in several countries and various U.S. states. However, a Caipiroska was not in the cards for me at this Miami eatery.
After ordering our drinks the waiter returned to our table and said "I'm sorry, ma'am, can you tell me the name of your drink again? The bartender said he's never heard of this before." I proceeded to tell him that it was a Brazilian drink made with vodka and lime and that I'd be surprised if the bartender had never made one before...bartenders in my home town in Ohio even knew how to make one!
The waiter left and returned with our drinks including a glass of vodka over ice with a lime wedge on the side. I couldn't help but laugh as the waiter said "Is that not it? You did say vodka with lime, right?" He returned to the bar with the glass. Five minutes later the manager came out with the SAME glass of straight vodka and said "Here's your drink, ma'am." I told the manager that this wasn't what I'd ordered and he angrily asked me "What, exactly, DID you order?"
I explained what I ordered and he stormed away as our poor waiter returned to our table. I told the waiter to just forget the Caipiroska. He laughed and said the bartender was online looking up directions and that the drink would be ready any minute. He returned a minute later and placed a perfectly textbook Caipiroska next to the, now watered down, full glass of vodka...and our empty dinner plates."