A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 17, 2006
Screwdriver (vodka + orange juice cocktail)

The “screwdriver” cocktail (vodka + orange juice) seems a natural for Florida. Early citations show that the screwdriver was popular in 1950s California, but probably originated in the 1940s, during World War II.



(Oxford English Dictionary)
screwdriver, n.
originally U.S. A cocktail made from vodka and orange juice.
1948 Charleston (W. Va.) Daily Mail 2 Aug. 4 A ‘screwdriver’ is a drink. It was created by the American navy during the past war.
1967 F. Warner Madrigals 30 Draining down screwdrivers in topless Broadway.

21 November 1940, Reno (NV) Evening Gazette, pg. 9:
Volga Cocktail:
Two parts Vodka, one part orange juice, one part lemon juice, dash of bitters, two dashes of Grenadine and shake.
(...)
RAMOS DRUG CO.

2 August 1948, Charleston (WV) Daily Mail, “Nothing Like a Turkish Bath in Turkey” by Henry McLemore, pg. 4:
My guide, who was parked outside in a taxi, heard me.

He answered my distress signal by relaxing in the back seat, and ordering a “screwdriver.” Yes, a “screwdriver.”

A “screwdriver” is a drink.

It was created by the American navy during the past war. It consists of vodka, gin, orange juice, cognac, bitters, and three or four things which have yet to be identified. I am quite sure that remnants of Sultans are part of the mixture.

Posted by Barry Popik
Florida (Sunshine State Dictionary) • Monday, July 17, 2006 • Permalink