Screwdriver cocktail (vodka and orange)
When visiting Hong Kong enjoying a Screwdriver in the bar at the Peninsula is an absolute must! In the meantime, find out how to make one at home.
A Hong Kong classic
If you’ve been following my instagram stories over the last week you’ll know that I’ve been in Hong Kong for work. When I asked everyone for their recommendations of things I had to see and do while I was over there one thing kept coming up time and time again – drink a Screwdriver in the bar at the Peninsula hotel.
The bar at the Peninsula is well worth visiting for the view alone but while you’re there you should order the classic vodka and orange cocktail – a Screwdriver. The cocktail was first introduced to Johnny Chung Kam (The Peninsula’s longest serving member of staff) by Clark Gable back in 1957. The actor asked Johnny for a Screwdriver and Jonny quickly returned with the tool. Clark had to explain that a Screwdriver was in fact a type of cocktail and proceeded to teach Jonny how to make it. It’s been on the hotel’s cocktail menu ever since and has become .
After a little digging, it seems that The Peninsula isn’t actually where the Screwdriver’s history began. In fact, it has its roots in oil rigs off the Persian Gulf. As the story goes, labourers in the rig used to slip a little vodka into their orange juice in the mornings and, given that they didn’t have any bar spoons to hand, stirred the drink with a screwdriver!
I don’t doubt that the oil rig workers were probably slipping something a little strong into their juice but the idea that they stirred it with a screwdriver seems a little unlikely to me… Anyone who enjoys vodka in their OJ first thing probably isn’t all too fussed about making sure it’s well combined. A quick swirl of the glass and it’s all good to go right…?!
Either way, it’s a fun story to explain the name and who am I to judge!
The recipe – Just like Jonny makes it!
This recipe is as close as I could get to how they make it at the Peninsula, even down to the brand of vodka. Given that there are so few ingredients in this cocktail it seems only right that you’re fussy about the quality of your oranges and the clarity of your vodka.
The view from your sofa might not be quite as impressive as the view from The Peninsula bar but the cocktail is the same! Enjoy.
Screwdriver (vodka and orange)
Freshly squeezed orange juice and Absolut vodka make this classic cocktail - if you can't make a trip to The Peninsula in Hong Kong then why not try making a Screwdriver at home.
- ice cubes
- 50 millilitres Absolut vodka
- 75 millilitres orange juice freshly squeezed
- twist of orange zest (see note 1)
Fill your glass with ice and pour over the vodka followed by the orange juice.
Using a bar spoon (or screwdriver if you want to be really authentic), stir well.
Squeeze the juices from the zest of the orange into the glass and run the zest on to the rim of the glass, finally garnish with the twist of zest.
Using a sharp knife or vegetable peeler, peel a piece of orange zest roughly 1cm wide by 4 cm long. Try to avoid bringing any of the bitter white pith with the zest.
More fruity cocktail recipes
If you like this recipe you might like some of my other fruity cocktail recipes. Of course, always drink responsibly!