screwdriver cocktail

Screwdriver Cocktail Recipes

The Screwdriver is a classic cocktail that combines the simplicity of vodka with the refreshing taste of orange juice. This cocktail is well-known for its straightforward preparation and deliciously bright flavor, making it a popular choice for brunches, casual gatherings, and any occasion that calls for a refreshing drink. The screwdriver cocktail recipe is easy to master, making it an ideal choice for both novice and experienced mixologists.
screwdriver drink


The origins of the screwdriver drink can be traced back to the mid-20th century. While the exact history is somewhat unclear, one popular story suggests that American oil workers in the Persian Gulf would discreetly mix vodka with their orange juice using a screwdriver, giving the cocktail its unique name. Another version of the story attributes the drink's creation to American aviators who enjoyed the simple and refreshing combination.
Regardless of its true origin, the classic screwdriver cocktail gained widespread popularity in the 1950s and 60s, coinciding with the rise of vodka as a staple spirit in the United States. Its ease of preparation and the readily available ingredients contributed to its enduring appeal.
Today, the screwdriver cocktail remains a beloved drink, appreciated for its simplicity and versatility. Whether enjoyed as a refreshing morning pick-me-up or a casual evening drink, the screwdriver continues to be a favorite for its bright and invigorating flavors.

Screwdriver Ingredients

Creating the perfect screwdriver requires just a few simple ingredients that come together to make a refreshing and delicious cocktail. Here are the essential components you’ll need for a classic screwdriver cocktail:

Ingredients of a Screwdriver Cocktail:

  • Vodka: 60 ml. The base spirit for the screwdriver cocktail. Choose a high-quality vodka with a smooth, clean finish to complement the orange juice.
  • Fresh Orange Juice: 120 ml. Freshly squeezed orange juice is key to achieving the bright and natural citrus flavor that defines the screwdriver drink.
  • Ice Cubes: As needed. Used to chill and slightly dilute the drink, ensuring a refreshing finish.
Optional garnish:
  • Orange Slice or Twist: A simple and elegant garnish that adds visual appeal and a hint of extra orange flavor.
The ingredients of a screwdriver cocktail are straightforward, yet they come together to create a harmonious and refreshing drink. The combination of smooth vodka and tangy orange juice makes this cocktail a perennial favorite.


Creating the perfect screwdriver is a straightforward process that involves just a few simple steps. Follow these instructions to ensure a well-balanced and refreshing cocktail:
  1. Prepare the Glass:
    • Fill a highball glass or an old-fashioned glass with ice cubes. This will chill the drink and keep it cold.
  2. Combine the Ingredients:
    • Pour the vodka over the ice in the glass.
    • Add the freshly squeezed orange juice, filling the glass to the top.
  3. Stir Gently:
    • Use a bar spoon or a regular spoon to stir the mixture gently. This step ensures that the vodka and orange juice are well combined.
  4. Garnish and Serve:
    • Garnish your screwdriver with a slice or twist of orange on the rim of the glass. Serve immediately and enjoy!


Preparing a screwdriver involves paying attention to a few key details to ensure the best possible flavor and presentation. Here’s a deeper dive into the preparation process:
  1. Choosing the Vodka:
    • The quality of the vodka plays a significant role in the final taste of your screwdriver cocktail. Opt for a premium vodka with a smooth, clean finish. Avoid flavored vodkas as they can alter the intended flavor profile.
  2. Squeezing Fresh Orange Juice:
    • Freshly squeezed orange juice is essential for achieving the bright and natural citrus flavor that characterizes a screwdriver drink. Use ripe, sweet oranges for the best results. Avoid bottled orange juice, as it often contains added sugars and preservatives that can affect the taste.
  3. Chilling the Ingredients:
    • Ensure the vodka and orange juice are well-chilled before making the cocktail. This helps maintain the drink’s temperature and prevents excessive dilution from the ice.
  4. Stirring Technique:
    • When stirring the cocktail, use gentle, smooth movements to mix the ingredients without causing too much dilution. This ensures a well-balanced and refreshing drink.
  5. Garnishing:
    • The final touch is the garnish. An orange slice or twist adds visual appeal and a hint of extra orange flavor with each sip. For a twist, use a vegetable peeler to remove a strip of orange peel, avoiding the bitter white pith.
classic screwdriver cocktail

Cocktail Mixing Ingredients

Mixing the perfect screwdriver requires attention to detail and an understanding of how each ingredient contributes to the final flavor profile. Here’s an in-depth look at the components and their roles in this cocktail:


  • Role: Vodka serves as the base spirit in the screwdriver. Its clean, neutral flavor provides a smooth foundation that allows the orange juice to shine.
  • Selection Tips: Choose a high-quality vodka with a smooth finish. Premium vodkas are typically distilled multiple times, resulting in a cleaner taste and fewer impurities.

Fresh Orange Juice

  • Role: Freshly squeezed orange juice is the star of the screwdriver drink. It provides the essential citrusy flavor and natural sweetness that define this cocktail.
  • Selection Tips: Use fresh oranges and squeeze the juice just before making the cocktail. Avoid bottled orange juice, as it can contain added sugars and preservatives that alter the taste.

Ice Cubes

  • Role: Ice is essential for chilling the cocktail and slightly diluting it to achieve the perfect balance of flavors.
  • Selection Tips: Use large, clear ice cubes to minimize dilution while effectively chilling the drink. Smaller or crushed ice can over-dilute the cocktail, affecting its flavor.

Optional Garnish: Orange Slice or Twist

  • Role: The garnish adds visual appeal and a subtle hint of extra orange flavor with each sip.
  • Selection Tips: Use a fresh orange slice or a twist of orange peel. For the twist, use a vegetable peeler to remove a strip of orange peel, avoiding the bitter white pith.

Ways To Serve Screwdriver

The screwdriver is a versatile cocktail that can be served in various ways to suit different occasions and personal preferences. Here are some creative and traditional methods to present and enjoy this delightful drink:

Classic Presentation

  • Highball Glass: The most common and elegant way to serve a screwdriver is in a highball glass. The tall, slender design of the glass enhances the visual appeal of the cocktail, showcasing its vibrant orange color.
  • Garnish: Traditionally, an orange slice or twist is used to garnish the drink. This simple yet sophisticated touch adds to the cocktail’s allure.

On the Rocks

  • Old-Fashioned Glass: For a more casual presentation, serve the screwdriver on the rocks in an old-fashioned glass filled with ice cubes. This method keeps the drink colder for longer and slightly dilutes it, making it more refreshing.
  • Garnish: Garnish with a slice of orange or a few fresh berries on top of the ice for a touch of elegance.

Innovative Twists

  • Frozen Screwdriver: For a refreshing summer treat, blend the ingredients with ice to create a frozen screwdriver. Serve in a chilled glass with a straw for a cool and invigorating drink.
  • Herbal Infusions: Add a hint of fresh herbs like basil or mint for a unique twist. Muddle a few leaves with the orange juice before mixing to infuse the cocktail with herbal notes.

Seasonal Variations

  • Winter Warmer: Serve the screwdriver warm by gently heating the orange juice before mixing with the vodka. This cozy version is perfect for cold winter nights.
  • Berry Screwdriver: Add a splash of berry liqueur or muddle fresh berries into the cocktail for a fruity twist. This variation adds a burst of flavor and a beautiful color to the drink.

Party-Ready Options

  • Batch Preparation: For larger gatherings, prepare a batch of screwdrivers in advance. Mix the ingredients (excluding the ice) in a large pitcher and store in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, pour over ice in individual glasses.
  • Screwdriver Shots: Serve mini versions of the cocktail in shot glasses for a fun and interactive party option. These can be a great addition to brunch parties or special celebrations.

Pairing with Foods

  • Sweet Treats: Pair your screwdriver with light desserts like citrus tarts, shortbread cookies, or fruit salads. The citrus flavors complement these sweet treats beautifully.
  • Savory Bites: Balance the drink’s sweetness with savory appetizers like cheese platters, smoked salmon, or avocado toast. The contrasting flavors enhance the overall tasting experience.


Creating the perfect screwdriver involves more than just following a recipe; it's about understanding the nuances and finer details that can elevate the drink to new heights. Here are some additional notes to help you master this iconic cocktail:

Orange Juice Quality

  • Freshness is Key: Always use freshly squeezed orange juice for the best flavor. Bottled orange juice often contains preservatives and added sugars that can negatively affect the taste of your screwdriver drink.
  • Juicing Tips: Roll the oranges on the counter with your palm before juicing to break down the internal membranes and yield more juice.

Stirring Technique

  • Proper Stirring: Stir the cocktail gently to mix the ingredients thoroughly without causing too much dilution. This ensures a well-balanced and refreshing drink.
  • Ice Quality: Use fresh, clean ice cubes. Ice that has been sitting in the freezer for too long can absorb odors, which can affect the taste of your cocktail.

Adjusting Sweetness

  • Balance the Sweetness: The sweetness of the screwdriver can be adjusted by varying the type of oranges used. If you prefer a sweeter cocktail, use sweeter orange varieties like navel or Valencia oranges.
  • Alternative Sweeteners: While simple syrup is not typically added to a screwdriver, you can experiment with a small amount of honey or agave syrup if you prefer a slightly sweeter drink.

Presentation Tips

  • Chilled Glassware: Serving the screwdriver in a chilled glass helps maintain its temperature and enhances the drinking experience.
  • Garnish Options: While an orange slice or twist is traditional, you can also experiment with other garnishes like a twist of lemon peel or a sprig of mint for a fresh touch.

Flavor Enhancements

  • Flavored Vodkas: For a twist on the classic recipe, try using flavored vodkas like citrus or vanilla. These can add subtle layers of flavor to the cocktail.
  • Additional Liqueurs: Consider adding a splash of other liqueurs like triple sec or Grand Marnier for a unique twist on the traditional screwdriver.

Serving Suggestions

  • Temperature Control: Serve the cocktail immediately after mixing to ensure it is perfectly chilled and refreshing. Delays can cause the drink to warm up and lose its crispness.
  • Seasonal Variations: Adapt the cocktail to the season by adding seasonal fruits or spices. For example, a hint of cranberry in winter or a touch of fresh mint in summer can add a new dimension to the drink.
screwdriver cocktail recipe

Screwdriver Nutrition Information

Understanding the nutritional content of your screwdriver drink can help you make informed choices about enjoying this delightful cocktail. Here’s a breakdown of the typical nutrition information for a standard serving of a screwdriver:

Standard Serving Size

  • Volume: 1 serving (approximately 180 ml)

Nutritional Breakdown

  • Calories: 180-220 kcal
    • The calorie content can vary depending on the specific ingredients used, particularly the type and amount of orange juice.
  • Alcohol Content: Approximately 15-20% ABV (Alcohol By Volume)
    • The alcohol content is influenced by the type and amount of vodka used in the recipe.
  • Carbohydrates: 20-25 grams
    • Most of the carbohydrates come from the natural sugars in the orange juice. Adjusting the amount of juice can change the carbohydrate content.
  • Sugars: 18-22 grams
    • This is a subset of the total carbohydrates and is primarily derived from the natural sugars in the orange juice.
  • Fat: 0 grams
    • The screwdriver is typically fat-free unless additional ingredients like cream or flavored liqueurs are added.
  • Protein: 1 gram
    • There is usually a small amount of protein content in a standard screwdriver from the orange juice.

Ingredient-Specific Information

  • Vodka: Provides the alcoholic base without adding any significant calories from fat or sugar.
  • Orange Juice: Contributes a small number of calories and natural sugars from the fruit. Freshly squeezed juice is recommended for the best flavor and nutritional value.

Health Considerations

  • Moderation: Due to its alcohol and sugar content, it's best to enjoy screwdrivers in moderation. Excessive consumption can lead to increased calorie intake and potential negative health effects.
  • Caloric Balance: When enjoying a screwdriver as part of a balanced diet, consider the cocktail's calorie content within your overall daily intake. Pairing it with lower-calorie food options can help maintain nutritional balance.
  • Allergies: Ensure that any additional ingredients or garnishes do not contain allergens for you or your guests.
The Screwdriver is a classic cocktail that effortlessly blends the simplicity of vodka with the refreshing taste of orange juice. Perfect for any time of day, this straightforward yet delightful drink is ideal for brunches, casual gatherings, or a relaxing evening at home. The Screwdriver's bright and invigorating flavor makes it a timeless favorite, easy to prepare and enjoy. By using freshly squeezed orange juice and high-quality vodka, you can elevate this simple cocktail into a refreshing and satisfying experience. Cheers to enjoying this classic and versatile drink, and mastering the art of the perfect Screwdriver!
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