The Screwdriver is possibly one of the most popular drinks of all time. Among the most basic of cocktails, it provides the foundation for countless variations.
History of the Screwdriver
Cocktail historians are split regarding the origin of the Screwdriver. Some credit oil rig workers in the 1950s who, unable to find a spoon, used a screwdriver to stir the vodka they secretly slipped into their orange juice. Others attribute this citrusy cocktail to aviators in the 1940s. Whatever the case, we can all agree the Screwdriver is as wonderfully simple and versatile as the tool for which it was named. Hopefully we can also agree never to drink them while working on an oil rig or flying an airplane.
Screwdriver Tasting Notes
The Screwdriver is fresh and punchy with fragrant citrus, with the vodka softening any acidic edges.
1 ½ ounce vodka: An affordable to mid-range vodka works well.
orange juice: We love fresh citrus, but any high-quality store brand works well.
orange slice: as a garnish.
How to Make a Screwdriver
Fill a highball glass with ice
Pour 1 ½ ounce vodka
Fill with orange juice
Stir gently—enough to mix the ingredients without diluting the cocktail
Garnish with the orange slice
There are simply too many cocktails built on the Screwdriver to name here. A few noteworthy variations are listed below.
Add 1 ounce Peach schnapps for a Hairy Navel
Float Galliano on top for a Harvey Wallbanger
Add ½ ounce Sloe gin for a Sloe (slow) screw
Mix 1 ½ ounce vodka, ½ ounce Sloe gin, and ½ ounce Southern Comfort for a Slow Comfortable Screw.
Use different flavored vodkas such as raspberry, citrus, or even vanilla for fun flavor combinations.
If squeezing oranges is impractical for your purposes, feel free to use any high-quality orange juice.
Using blood oranges or blood orange juice gives the cocktail a deep reddish-pink color and a subtle raspberry flavor.
When to Serve a Screwdriver
The Screwdriver is appropriate for any occasion. A few stand-out suggestions are listed below.
Brunch: The Screwdriver joins the Mimosa and Bloody Mary among the best vitamin-fortified morning brunch cocktails. Maybe don’t drink them too soon after brushing your teeth, though.
Warm weather/outdoor activities: Whether golfing, boating, grilling, or just sitting on the porch.
Casual parties: With only two ingredients, mixing Screwdrivers won’t interrupt the flow of the party. Either allow your guests to mix their own, or make a few batches before they arrive..
What to Serve with Screwdrivers
The bright acidity in Screwdrivers complements lighter to medium foods.
Breakfast and brunch foods, because of course it does.
Medium-bodied meats, especially when prepared with citrus or mint, such as grilled chicken, lamb, or sweet and sour Chinese dishes.
Light to medium-bodied fish, such as ceviche, grilled fish, or spicy fish tacos.