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The Screwdriver is a classic cocktail that’s easy to make and always hits the spot. The International Bartender Association has deemed the classic Screwdriver as an official cocktail, and it’s well known around the world.

vodka OJ screwdriver cocktail

This simple yet delicious drink has been a staple in bars and homes for decades, and it’s not hard to see why. With just two ingredients – vodka and orange juice – it’s easy to whip up a Screwdriver anytime, anywhere.


Vodka started to become popular in the US in 1949. There are even mentions of this cocktail back then, but the exact history is up for debate. Some say the Screwdriver cocktail dates back to World War II. Americans stationed in China and Turkey mixed neutral spirits with orange juice to create a refreshing drink.

screwdriver cocktails with cocktail shaker and oranges

It is claimed that American aviators were among the first to popularize it. It is also claimed that American oil workers in the Persian Gulf would add secret vodka into their OJs. The name is said to come from the tools to mix their drinks, as no spoon was available. By the late 1940s, the Screwdriver cocktail had become popular in the United States and was mentioned in Time magazine.

It was a simple drink that required only two ingredients: vodka and orange juice. The classic Screwdriver is typically made with a 2:1 ratio of orange juice to vodka, but some variations include additional ingredients such as triple sec, bitters, or grenadine. In New York, the Screwdriver cocktail became a staple in bars and restaurants, and it remains a popular drink to this day. It is often served over ice in a highball glass and garnished with a slice of orange or a cherry.

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Overall, the Screwdriver cocktail is a classic and simple drink that has stood the test of time. Its history is rooted in World War II, and its popularity has only grown over the years. Whether you prefer a classic Screwdriver or a variation with additional ingredients, this cocktail is sure to please.

How to Make It

vodka OJ screwdriver cocktail


Yield: 1
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes

To make a Screwdriver, simply pour a shot of vodka over ice in a highball glass, then top it off with freshly squeezed orange juice. 

If you're feeling adventurous, you can experiment with different ratios of vodka to orange juice or try adding a splash of club soda for some fizz.


  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 3 oz orange juice, or to taste


  1. Pour vodka over plenty of ice in a highball glass
  2. Add orange juice right to the top
  3. Serve and enjoy

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The Screwdriver is a simple and classic cocktail that can be easily customized to suit your taste preferences. Here are some variations you can try:

Experimentation: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of juice. You can substitute the orange juice with other citrus juices like grapefruit or tangerine to give it a different twist. You can also try adding a splash of cranberry juice for a more complex flavor.

Harvey Wallbanger: This variation adds a float of Galliano, an Italian liqueur, to the classic Screwdriver. The Galliano adds a sweet, vanilla flavor to the cocktail, making it perfect for those with a sweet tooth.

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Club Soda: For a lighter version of the Screwdriver, try adding a splash of club soda to the mix. This will give the cocktail a fizzy texture and make it more refreshing.

Grey Goose: If you’re looking for a premium vodka cocktail, try using Grey Goose instead of regular vodka. The smooth and silky texture of Grey Goose will make your Screwdriver extra special.

Tequila: For a Mexican twist on the Screwdriver, try substituting the vodka with tequila. This will give the cocktail a smoky and complex flavor that pairs well with the citrus juice.

Mimosa: If you’re looking for a brunch cocktail, try mixing equal parts of orange juice and champagne to make a Mimosa. This is a classic cocktail that is perfect for any occasion.

Bloody Mary: For a savory variation on the Screwdriver, try making a Bloody Mary. This cocktail is made with tomato juice, vodka, and a variety of spices and seasonings. It’s perfect for those who prefer a more savory cocktail.

With these variations, you can customize the Screwdriver to suit your taste preferences. Whether you prefer a sweet or savory cocktail, there’s a variation that’s perfect for you.

What is a Screwdriver cocktail?

A Screwdriver cocktail is a mixed drink made with vodka and orange juice. It is typically served over ice in a highball glass and garnished with an orange slice. The name “Screwdriver” is said to have originated from American oil workers or soldiers, who would mix the drink with a screwdriver when no other stirring utensil was available.

What is the ratio of vodka to orange juice in a Screwdriver?

The traditional ratio for a Screwdriver is 1 part vodka to 2 parts orange juice. However, this can be adjusted to personal preference. Some people prefer a stronger drink and use a 1:1 ratio, while others prefer a sweeter taste and use a 1:3 ratio.

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Is a Screwdriver cocktail high in calories?

The nutrition facts of a Screwdriver cocktail can vary depending on the specific recipe and serving size. On average, a 6 oz. Screwdriver made with Smirnoff vodka and freshly squeezed orange juice contains around 153 calories.

Can I experiment with different types of vodka and orange juice?

Yes! Experimentation is part of the fun of making cocktails. While Smirnoff is a popular choice for Screwdriver cocktails, you can also try using other types of vodka such as Grey Goose or even tequila.
Fresh-squeezed orange juice is also a great option for a more natural taste, but you can also use store-bought orange juice if you’re short on time.

Can I make a Screwdriver cocktail without ice?

While a Screwdriver cocktail is traditionally served over ice, you can still enjoy the drink without it. Simply skip the ice cubes and serve the drink in a highball glass. However, keep in mind that the drink may not be as refreshing or cold without the ice.

Is a Screwdriver cocktail similar to a Bloody Mary?

While both cocktails contain vodka and are served over ice, a Screwdriver cocktail is made with orange juice while a Bloody Mary is made with tomato juice. Additionally, a Bloody Mary typically contains other ingredients such as Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and celery salt, while a Screwdriver is a simpler drink made with just two ingredients.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

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