Chris enjoys writing about holiday dystopia.
I’m gonna raise some eyebrows this week and talk about The Screwdriver. No, I’m not writing this under duress, I’m actually talking about plain old vodka and orange juice. Drinking on Easter comes with its own special set of considerations. That's right — gonna be one of those weeks where I solve a problem you didn’t know you had … now’s the time to quietly duck out and no one will blame you. Otherwise: Happy Re-Birthday Jesus and let’s get to it!
Historically, I’ve taken a pretty narrow view of vodka, dating back to this column’s very beginnings:
Most cocktails, however, are simply outside of vodka’s useful context because vodka has no flavor — that’s the point of it — it’s a neutral spirit … Once the sun is high, there is one clear (ahem) purpose for slugging high-octane orange juice, and it really doesn’t reek of cultivation or self-respect.
A fair hit – if harshly worded, but here’s the thing: Easter Sunday falls exactly into one of those narrow gaps where vodka excels. Scenario: you wake up Sunday morning at an un-godly hour to perform your godly duties early enough to miss the children’s choir, probably meeting up there with a few members of your or someone else’s family. After Mass (or whatever you off-brand Christians do, who knows?) you go back to someone’s house and either have brunch or sit around waiting for Sunday-Dinner-Time to roll around which, according to agrarian and geriatric tradition, is somewhere in the vicinity of 3pm. So what now? You’re tired, the sun is high, you are talking to kids and grandmas that may not even belong to you, and at least three people in the room are wearing a shade of yellow that triggers persistent flashbacks to terrifying, Shopping-Mall-Easter-Bunny experiences of your youth.
It’s possible that last one is just me …
Either way, a drink sure wouldn’t hurt the situation any yet it is not the kind of situation where you ask for a drink. It’s 11am. There are children. And grandmas! Why does the dog keep looking at me like that!? Deep breaths. Now is the time to employ the secret weapon. No, not vodka. Okay, well, vodka. But more importantly: Orange Juice.
Everyone drinks orange juice. The children, the grandmas, probably even Sadie the judgmental-eyed pound-hound. Seriously, what is with this dog?
The OJ should be fresh squeezed, not from concentrate. It’s more expensive but it’s also way better, something most families will consider a treat. Whole Foods sells it by the half gallon if you don’t feel like juicing your own oranges, which is a pain unless you are set up for it. While you are basking in a magnanimous glow as The Guy Who Brought The Good Orange Juice, you make your move and splash some booze into yours. Simple. A good Screwdriver has enough vodka to have the desired effect but not enough to appreciably change the color, I find about 1 part vodka to 4 orange juice. I add ice cubes myself as I like the dilution as they melt (also covers any incidental color change).
Anyone who has been standing with you in the kitchen for more than 5 minutes probably wants some too, so be generous. Once you’re back in the living room, no one need be the wiser. And this is the beauty of vodka — flavorless, odorless (in reasonably proportioned drinks), and nigh invisible. You’ve got co-conspirators, a delicious glass of O.J., and a buzz on. What more could you want? Happy Easter.