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Monday, August 17, 2009

The Screwdriver

It wasn't until I started looking into the Screwdriver that I found the cocktail style of "The Highball". I had heard of this before, but I thought it was a specific cocktail, not a class of cocktails. A Highball is the family name for mixed drinks where the largest proportion is a non-alcoholic mixer. I've made quite a few Highballs without realizing it - Mojito, Long Island Iced Tea (though I beg to differ - that is NOT heavily weighted on the non-alcoholic side!), Tequila Sunrise, and my old favorite, Gin & Tonic. Highballs are usually served in tall Highball or Tom Collins cocktail glasses.

The first Highball was said to have been a mix of Scotch and carbonated water. The name originated in 1898 and was derived from "ball" meaning a drink of whiskey, and "high" in reference to the tall glass.

The Screwdriver is a simple drink, but the proportions vary widely. Several sources said the classic Screwdriver is 5 parts orange juice and 1 part Vodka. Others went as strong as 2:1. I mixed the most often referenced sources and went with 4:1 and David would have preferred it stronger. My guess is that 3:1 is probably closer to right. The Screwdriver is often called "Vodka and Orange".

The earliest reference is from Time magazine on October 24, 1949. Several sources cited that it got its name from engineers working in D.C. on building works projects in the 1940s. They were given small cans of orange juice to drink after work. The engineers would add sneak Vodka into the cans and stir them with their screwdrivers.

David's Swizzle Stick Ratings -
Screwdriver - 4 swizzle sticks

The Screwdriver - 4.5 oz orange juice, 1.5 oz Vodka. Pour over ice in a cocktail glass and swizzle.

A Harvey Wallbanger is a Screwdriver with a splash of Galliano (an Italian herbal liqueur) floating on top.

A Sameretto is a Screwdriver with 1/2 oz Amaretto added (which sounds pretty good to me!)

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