I am not a big drinker. In fact, I'm an incredible lightweight and cheapskate. This means, though, that when I do go to a bar and order a drink, it's important to me that it be good, since I will probably only have two chances to order. Since I don't drink a lot, I often ask friends who are more versed in the cocktail scene what I should get.
So why is it that I can never get a good drink? It always plays out predictably:
Cocktail buff friend: You should really try a [something more obscure than rum & coke]. They're very good.
A, at a bar, later: Could I please have an [Interesting Cocktail]?
Server: What's in that? (giving me the stink-eye)
A: (Er. Thinks, if I knew everything that was in it, I'd probably just make it myself.) Uh, maybe [liquor]? And [liqueur]? And some muddled [not particularly unusual fruit]? I'm not 100 percent sure.
Server: Well, I'll check. (Ten minutes later, comes back with something that bears only a passing resemblance to the drink in question, or the news that the bar doesn't have any of [that fruit]* and what can I order instead? This usually ends up being something incredibly basic, like a gin & tonic, which they also somehow screw up, probably out of spite.)
How hard would it be to 1) ask the bartender what's in something and if they can make it (hint: you can cheat and look it up, guy), 2) come back to me if they are missing an ingredient and ask for a reorder? If it's something that doesn't have a standard recipe, just come back and say, "We make our [Interesting Cocktail] with X, Y, and Z. Is that okay?"
I would go to bars much more often if I could easily order drinks and discover really enjoyable cocktails. But the constant grilling and eye-rolling and whatnot are driving down my booze expenditures. Is it unreasonable to expect to be able to order something for which you have not memorized the recipe? Isn't that why bartenders have guidebooks?
*Happens most often with Old-Fashioneds, which, hello, oranges are not that weird, also by definition it's not a cutting-edge obscurity.