Olive Garden may serve critically-acclaimed cuisine, but there is something deeply wrong with their beverage service. For the second time in barely over a year a child has been served an alcoholic drink at an Olive Garden restaurant. This time it was a frozen rum cocktail for a 10-year-old. If he'd been wondering all this time what Jack Sparrow's favorite drink tastes like, now he knows. Fantastic!
The server who plunked the stuff in front of the kid was supposed to have delivered a Wildberry Fullato, so you can imagine how things might get confusing, right? And this just begs the question: Do some of these chain restaurant cocktails look and taste just a little too much like kiddie drinks?
Last April Olive Garden served a three-year-old a cocktail instead of the orange juice he'd ordered. And around that same time a toddler was served a margarita at an Applebees. In both of these cases the drinks were so tasty (!!!) the kids drank most of them before anyone realized something was wrong.
So back to my question. Maybe, just maybe, those fun, fruity, super-sweet "grownup" cocktails (and I use that term loosely) are just a little too juvenile? Are there any real grownups in the building who can handle a cocktail that actually looks and tastes like a real cocktail and not something that should come with a silly straw?
And since we're talking about an Italian restaurant -- oh yeah, Olive Garden is supposed to be Italianish -- there's plenty of real Italian cocktails to choose from.
Martini: Yup, it's Italian. Mostly gin with just a bit of dry vermouth, or mostly vodka with just a bit of vermouth. Either way, it should be served ice cold. But not with ice.
Americano: Campari, Vermouth rosso, soda water. Or there's the Negroni: Campari, Vermouth rosso, dry gin. Campari is a bitter liqueur -- no mistaking it for a kid's drink, ever.
Bellini: Sparkling wine with peach nectar. Okay, this one is definitely on the sweet side. But you serve it in a champagne flute, see, so it looks like it's for an adult. Kids get the drinks in wide-mouthed tumblers, with lids and straws.
It really doesn't have to be this difficult. Enough with the "Mango Martinis" and the frozen Wild Berry Bellinis that look exactly like the kids' nonalcoholic "Frullato" smoothies. If this isn't an indication that adults are trying to relive their childhoods through booze I don't know what is. Please, order a bracing, kid-unfriendly, adult beverage that comes in an obvious bar ware glass so some innocent kid (whose parents didn't even order an alcoholic beverage!) doesn't accidentally get alcohol poisoning.
Do you ever order sweet, fruity, frozen cocktails at chain restaurants?
Image via Joelk75/Flickr