The simplicity of the classic screwdriver is appealing, but I’ve always found it to be a tad harsh and slightly one-dimensional. With a couple of carefully selected aromatics, however, this drink takes on a pleasing, almost velvety – kinda like the sage leaf itself – flavor. Sage has been used since ancient times for warding off evil and a plethora of other maladies. Its unique flavor has countless culinary uses, including cocktails, and it – along with freshly ground nutmeg – turns this cocktail into a lovely autumn beverage.
Another addition to this version of the screwdriver is Angostura bitters. Contrary to what the name implies, bitters are not at all bitter. They are simply an infusion of wonderful aromatics (including herbs, spices, and goodness-only-knows what else – the exact ingredients are not named) in an alcoholic base. While there are many bitters available, my favorite is Angostura (made in Trinidad and Tobago), because of its flavor. It was originally developed as a tonic, and still is known for its stomach-soothing properties.
1 sage leaf
1 shot vodka
5 ounces orange juice
1 dash Angostura bitters
freshly ground nutmeg
Place sage leaf and vodka into a cocktail shaker and muddle the leaf well. Add orange juice, bitters, and ice, and shake. Strain over ice, and garnish with a few flecks of freshly ground nutmeg.