Cocktail: Johnny's screwdriver

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 September, 2012, 9:45am

One day in 1957, Clark Gable walked into The Bar at The Peninsula hotel, which at the time was located in the lobby, and asked bartender Johnny Chung for a screwdriver.

Chung located a tool kit and gave the implement to the bemused movie star. Gable explained that a screwdriver was a drink and taught Chung how to make one. The veteran bartender believes that was the first time the cocktail was served in Hong Kong.

Much has changed at The Peninsula since then, but Johnny Chung is still mixing drinks there, and "Johnny's Screwdriver" - as the drink is known - has been selected as the signature drink for the fifth incarnation of The Bar, which reopened on the first floor, opposite The Verandah Restaurant, last week.

A classic polished wood and leather back bar with a selection of almost 100 single malt whiskies behind it, this is for people who are serious about spirits and cocktails.

Johnny's Screwdriver stays true to Gable's formula of four parts orange juice to one part vodka over ice, but it is safe to assume that, in 1957, none of the ingredients were as upmarket as today's.

Usually served in a highball glass, this screwdriver comes in a Baccarat old-fashioned or rocks glass.

The juice is freshly squeezed from Valencia oranges at present, but the variety changes seasonally.

The spirit is a small batch Polish vodka, U'Luvka, and the ice is made from frozen Evian water by a Taisin Japanese ice ball maker.

The juice is pleasantly aromatic, and the high-grade vodka adds a welcome touch of complexity.


45ml U'Luvka Polish vodka

120ml freshly squeezed orange juice

Two orange wedges

Evian ice


  • Pour vodka and orange juice into a mixing glass with ice.
  • Stir and strain into old-fashioned or rocks glass over ice.
  • Garnish with orange wedges.



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