The cocktail is an art form that peaked in the middle of the 20th century and has been in rapid decline since. As a young lad, I was schooled in the fine art of cocktailing by my father and grandfathers, I learned many valuable lessons that I plan to pass on. I also want to resurrect some of the old classics that vastly surpass the sugary & fruity concoctions made today with their simplicity, elegance and bold flavors. Most of the time I will focus on one drink, and to provide, at least in my opinion, the definitive recipe, but hope to expand to other related topics as I see fit. Please mix yourself a cocktail, read, drink, and enjoy!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Sophisticated Screwdriver

Breakfast/brunch cocktails is an area that is all to often ignored in the cocktailing community. While cocktail hour has traditionally started at five, there is absolutely no reason that any of us need to wait an entire day to enjoy a libation. This is a slightly more complex version of an old favorite that has been received with outstanding results among my closest friends.

As I am sure most everyone will agree, you can mix just about anything with orange juice and drink it.  In fact, my underage drinking career depended on it, but there are some classic orange juice based morning breakfast pick-me-ups which deserve coverage, many of which I plan to cover in the coming months. Today we will start with the screwdriver, a mixed drink that has saved many a wounded soldier. This is a more complex version though, that will please even the most discerning drunk.

The history or the screwdriver is a pretty simple one. In 1949 Time magazine described a drink where American engineers in Turkey would mix vodka and orange juice and stir it with a screwdriver. The original article is available online here, isn’t technology amazing!

For the purposes of our slightly more high-brow concoction, start by slicing two oranges into quarter inch thick slices and place them into the bottom of a large pitcher, add a pinch of kosher salt and the juice of one lemon; muddle well to release the oils from the orange peel and break up the fruit. Add forty-eight ounces (six cups) of fresh squeezed orange juice and 16 ounces (two cups) chilled vodka. I like Smirnoff, Sky or Absolut in this recipe. Stir well and pour into ice filled glasses and top with one of the muddled orange slices.

2 oranges cut into ¼ inch thick slices
1 lemon, juiced
1 pinch kosher salt
6 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
2 cups chilled vodka
Place sliced oranges in large pitcher, add lemon juice and salt, muddle thoroughly.  Add vodka and orange juice, stir.  Pour into ice filled glasses, garnish with a muddled orange slice.  Makes six to eight drinks.

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