When does a cocktail become a cocktail, rather than just a mixture of drinks? I suspect there’s more than one acceptable answer to this, but I think it’s when the mixture’s given a fancy name.
The lines do blur though. A prime example is the Screwdriver, which most people would refer to as a vodka and orange – because that’s what it is.
The cocktail recipe books distinguish the Screwdriver from a pedestrian vodka and orange by emphasising the importance of quality ingredients – apparently you should use freshly squeezed orange juice and premium vodka, rather than the concentrated juice and generic grain spirit that makes up most voddies and orange.
In other words, it’s a posh vodka and orange.
(However, I suspect that asking most bartenders in the UK for screwdrivers would result in you being asked “Phillips or flat head?”.)
But the CotW isn’t a Screwdriver/vodka and orange – it’s a descendant.
The story goes that one day in the 1970’s, a surfer called Harvey asked for some Galliano to be added to his Screwdriver. After consuming several of these, he got up to leave, and, befuddled by his new drink, promptly walked into a wall.
Thus was born the Harvey Wallbanger.
2 measures vodka
3/4 measure Galliano
5 measures orange juice
Add the vodka and orange juice to a glass half filled with ice. Pour the Galliano so it floats on top of the juice.
I utterly failed to float the Galliano on top of the juice. But nonetheless it tastes very nice – Galliano is a vanilla liqueur, so together with orange juice, it’s pretty sweet and very refreshing.
I’m not sure that something invented in the 1970’s counts as a classic, but it’s a perfect summer drink and one I’d heartily recommend.