5 Ways to Improve the Screwdriver Vodka Drink Recipe

Popular screwdriver recipe

The Spruce / Ali Redmond

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
199 Calories
0g Fat
16g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 199
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 1g
Calcium 24mg 2%
*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, there are some little things that you can do that will improve your screwdriver or add a fun spark to an otherwise ordinary drink.


Click Play to See This Screwdriver Recipe Come Together


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for screwdriver
    The Spruce / Ali Redmond
  2. Build the ingredients in a collins glass filled with ice.

    Add vodka
    The Spruce / Ali Redmond
  3. Stir well.

    Stir well
    The Spruce / Ali Redmond
  4. Garnish with an orange slice. Serve and enjoy.

    Garnish with fruit
    The Spruce / 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 flavored similar 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 or Q Ginger. 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 kiwi 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 an 80 proof vodka, it should have an alcohol content around 10 percent ABV (20 proof). It's like drinking a glass of light white wine, only fruitier.