Home Cocktails Screwdriver Cocktail (Classic Recipe)

Screwdriver Cocktail (Classic Recipe)

Get your vitamin C and sneak in a little booze with the Screwdriver cocktail

Citrusy and refreshing, it tastes just like juice. You can barely taste the vodka hiding in there. 

Refreshing Glass of Screwdriver Cocktail with Orange
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If you’re learning the craft of mixology, it’s best to begin with the basics. So start with the screwdriver. This vodka-based cocktail is one of the easiest around!

It has just two simple ingredients, vodka and orange juice. It’s the perfect libation for brunch, cocktail hour, sunny weather, and more.

Plus, you can whip one up in no time.

Screwdriver Cocktail 

In the vast world of cocktails, nothing is easier than the screwdriver. You take vodka, you take orange juice, and you combine the two. 

See, I told you it was easy!

Those two ingredients can give all the best brunch cocktails a run for their money. (Both in terms of versatility, simplicity, and hangover curing.) 

After all, a big savory English breakfast with a screwdriver is the brunch of champions! 

Okay, I’m getting a little ahead of myself. But you get the picture.

The minimal ingredients leave it wide open to interpretation. Keep it simple or doctor it up any way you like. 

Oh, and why the name? Like many origin stories, this one is a little fuzzy. 

Some say spoonless factory workers stirred their cocktail with a screwdriver. The most widely believed story, however, claims American oil workers are the inventors. 

Supposedly, workers stationed in the Persian Gulf would sneak a little vodka into their OJ. For a stirring mechanism, they’d use a screwdriver. 

Fact or fiction, one thing is true. The screwdriver cocktail is a refreshing libation anyone can make.

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Icy Screwdriver Cocktail Topped with Fresh Orange

Ingredient Notes

Don’t have a well-stocked bar at home? That’s not a problem for the screwdriver. You can make this cocktail with just two ingredients. 

Here’s the rundown of the list:

  • Ice – Regular ice cubes work just fine. You can also use large cocktail ice cubes if you prefer. 
  • Vodka – Choose a quality brand you like. Tito’s and Smirnoff are both budget-friendly and taste nice.
  • Orange Juice – Fresh is best! If you don’t have ripe oranges, store-bought works fine, too. Just be sure to read the label and skip anything with additives.
  • Orange wheel (optional) – The traditional garnish. Add it or skip it, it’s up to you.

How to Make a Screwdriver Cocktail

The screwdriver is such an easy cocktail, you barely need directions. But everyone has to start somewhere. 

So here’s how to properly make this drink:

  1. Prep and pour. Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour in the vodka and top it with orange juice.
  1. Stir. Stir until the vodka and orange juice are well mixed. Add an orange wheel garnish if you like.
  1. Sip. Serve and sip. 
Boozy Iced Screwdriver Cocktail in a Tall Glass

Tips for the Best Cocktail 

Think a two-ingredient cocktail couldn’t possibly come with some tips? Think again!

No matter how simple the drink, every cocktail creator has some tricks up their sleeves. So here are some tips for creating the best screwdriver:

  • Be choosy with your vodka. You don’t need top-shelf vodka but don’t skimp too much, either. Find a balance with a good-quality and budget-friendly vodka.
  • Fresh OJ is best. Fresh-squeezed orange juice elevates the screwdriver. If you use store-bought, go for the most natural variant.
  • Have fun with vodka flavors. Citrus vodkas are a popular choice. But try other flavors like berry, cucumber, or even vanilla.
  • Sweeten it with syrup. If the orange juice’s acidity is too sharp, add a splash of simple syrup. For added flavor, grenadine or flavored syrups make great options.
  • Freeze your vodka stash. It’s an easy trick to make this cocktail super cold.
Two Glasses of Refreshing Orangey Screwdriver Cocktail


Want to spruce up your screwdriver a bit? Try one of these variations:

  • Screwdriver Light. Top your drink with club soda, ginger ale, or sparkling wine.
  • Tequila Twist. Swap out vodka for tequila to experiment with the flavors of this classic recipe.
  • Harvey Wallbanger. Add a splash of Galliano L’Autentico liqueur to your Screwdriver for a Harvey Wallbanger. 
  • Fuzzy Navel. Instead of vodka, use peach schnapps.
  • Mimosa. Switch out the vodka for champagne.

When to Serve a Screwdriver 

Any time of day is a good time for a screwdriver! 

You don’t have to wait until 5 p.m. to enjoy this cocktail. Like a mimosa, it’s a prime choice for brunch. So you can enjoy it in the a.m.

It’s also great for an afternoon sipper, happy hour, or sunny porch session. You could even drink it with dinner if you like.

Some enjoy it as a hangover cure. Others prefer it as their cocktail of choice. What time of day you choose to serve it all depends on your mood.

Screwdriver Cocktail (Classic Recipe)




Go back to basics with this classic screwdriver cocktail! The refreshing combo of orange juice and vodka is tough to beat!


  • Ice cubes

  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka

  • Freshly squeezed orange juice, to top

  • Orange wheel for garnish (optional)


  • In a highball glass filled with ice, pour in the vodka, followed by the orange juice. Stir until well mixed.
  • Place an orange wheel on the rim or side of the glass, if using.
  • Serve and enjoy!
screwdriver cocktail

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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