Screwdriver Cocktail

Screwdriver cocktails garnished with orange slices and straws in highball glasses

The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
207 Calories
0g Fat
18g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 207
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 88mg 438%
Calcium 24mg 2%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 339mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Few mixed drinks are as easy as the screwdriver. It's an essential drink recipe that everyone should know and one of the best brunch drinks. While it's incredibly simple, the screwdriver also lends itself to experimentation and improvement.

The screwdriver is nothing more than vodka and orange juice. There is no mystery to it or secret ingredients to worry about. All you need to do is pour a shot of vodka and fill your glass with OJ. However, you can do some little things that will improve your screwdriver or add a fun spark to an otherwise ordinary drink.

Some say the screwdriver was named years ago by American oil workers in the Persian Gulf when they added vodka to their orange juice. Not having easy access to a spoon, they would stir it with a screwdriver. However this drink came to fruition, it is one of the more popular mixed drinks around.


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"There may be no simpler cocktail recipe. The screwdriver, aka "hard OJ," is the cocktail you want when a mimosa won't get the job done." —Tom Macy

Screwdriver Cocktail Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 2 ounces vodka

  • 5 ounces orange juice, or to taste

  • Orange slice, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for screwdriver cocktail recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  2. Build the ingredients—vodka and orange juice—in a collins glass filled with ice.

    Vodka being poured into a highball glass with orange juice and ice cubes

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  3. Stir well.

    Screwdriver cocktail in a highball glass being stirred with a long spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  4. Garnish with an orange slice. Serve and enjoy.

    Screwdriver cocktail in a highball glass garnished with an orange slice on the glass rim

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond


  • This is not the place for your best vodka (use it if you like, though). It's also important to avoid being too cheap when it comes to the single liquor used in any drink. There are many great-tasting and budget-friendly vodkas on the market today. Explore these options and find the best "well" vodka for your bar to use in drinks like this.
  • If you want the best screwdriver possible, use fresh-squeezed orange juice. It takes just a few minutes to get enough fresh juice for the drink. If you're going to use a store-bought juice, look for the most natural juice available.

Recipe Variations

While the drink requires just two elements, there are options that can ramp up your average screwdriver.

  • Flavored vodka is the easiest way to add a spark of flavor. Citrus vodkas are an obvious option, though something with a little more contrast will add depth. Try one of the berry vodkas for starters. Either cucumber or vanilla vodkas are amazing here as well. Experiment with your own infusions; rosemary-strawberry vodka is a fun base for a screwdriver.
  • Orange juice has a natural acidity that can be combated with a little sweetener. To keep the flavor profile untouched, add simple syrup. If you want to bring in another flavor along with sweetness, take a hint from the tequila sunrise and add grenadine or similar flavored syrup, such as strawberry or raspberry-lavender. Just a small dollop of syrup will make a world of difference.
  • Lighten up your screwdriver by topping it off with soda. Club soda and ginger ale are two perfect options, though you may also want to consider something a bit more fun like Dry Cucumber Soda or Q Ginger Ale. Or take inspiration from drinks like the mimosa and add sparkling wine.
  • Before pouring your screwdriver, muddle a few pieces of fresh fruit in your glass. Berries add a nice contrast, and kiwifruit are an easy and fun addition. Lemon, lime, peach, and almost any fruit you can find will add a nice touch to this simple drink.
  • Instead of vodka, pour tequila and orange juice.

How Strong Is a Screwdriver?

The strength of your screwdriver will ultimately depend on how much orange juice you pour, but it is generally a low-proof cocktail. When made according to the recipe with 80-proof vodka, it should have an alcohol content of around 10 percent ABV (20 proof). It's like drinking a glass of light white wine, only fruitier.