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Here’s how to make the popular Screwdriver drink: one of the easiest cocktails in existence! OJ and vodka never tasted so good.


Got OJ? Got vodka? Let’s make a Screwdriver! The Screwdriver is one of the easiest cocktails there is, ideal for afternoon drinks or brunch. Cocktail connoisseurs might call it low brow…and let’s be honest: it is. But there are lots of legit two-ingredient drinks! First, we’ll show you how to make a traditional Screwdriver, which is pretty straightforward. Then we’ve got a few ideas on how to step it up and make a more interesting spin on this drink.

What’s in a Screwdriver drink?

The Screwdriver is a highball cocktail made with orange juice and vodka. The exact origin story of this drink is unknown, though people like to claim it was invented by American oil workers who didn’t have a spoon and stirred the drink with a screwdriver. (Sounds like an urban legend to us!) Whatever the case, the mention of this drink in print was in 1944 in a Newsweek article. So it’s at least that old!

Screwdriver drink

How to make a Screwdriver

Just like a Rum & Coke, all you need to know to make this drink is the Screwdriver ratio. Here’s how to make a Screwdriver:

  • Mix 2 parts orange juice with 1 part vodka.
  • Stir together in a glass with ice.
  • Garnish with an orange slice and cocktail cherry.

What does a Screwdriver taste like? Mostly like orange juice, with a faint vodka finish. Because vodka has a mild flavor, it’s almost impossible to perceive it in this drink. Even using high quality vodka doesn’t turn it into a more interesting drink. So how to make it more interesting? Keep reading.

Screwdriver recipe

Ways to spice up a Screwdriver

The Screwdriver drink itself is a straightforward cocktail: it’s tastes like orange juice with a subtle spicy finish. We don’t mind it straight up, but it’s nothing to write home about. So we like to spice it up to give it a little more intrigue in the flavor. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Add cocktail bitters. Adding a few dashes of cocktail bitters to a Screwdriver gives it an herbal, intriguing finish. Try Angostura bitters or orange bitters.
  • Make it a Harvey Wallbanger. Of all the variations on the Screwdriver, our favorite is the Harvey Wallbanger. Mix in ¾ ounce Galliano: this bright yellow, vanilla-flavored Italian herbal liqueur adds loads of flavor.
  • Make it a Vodka Sunrise. Make a Vodka Sunrise by pouring in a little grenadine. The syrup will float to the bottom, making a lovely pink to orange gradient.
  • Swap vodka for tequila. Make a Tequila Screwdriver with tequila and orange juice: it has a zingy finish that’s missing in the original.
  • Use fresh squeezed orange juice. Instead of bottled orange juice, opt for fresh squeezed: it adds beautifully fresh flavor.
  • Add soda water. Make it into a bubbly, refreshing cocktail by adding soda water.

More orange juice cocktails

Outside of the Screwdriver, there are lots of great orange juice cocktails! Here are a few we’d recommend:

Harvey Wallbanger
Adding Galliano turns a Screwdriver into a Harvey Wallbanger

When to serve a Screwdriver

A Screwdriver works for just about anytime: brunch or lazy afternoons on the patio. Drink it as a:

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The Screwdriver

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


Here’s how to make the popular Screwdriver drink: one of the easiest cocktails in existence! OJ and vodka never tasted so good.


  • 2 ounces (¼ cup) vodka
  • 4 ounces (½ cup) orange juice
  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice)
  • For the garnish: orange slice, cocktail cherry (optional)


  1. Add both ingredients to a highball glass. Add ice. If desired, garnish with an orange slice and cocktail cherry. 
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Screwdriver, Screwdriver drink, Screwdriver cocktail, How to make a screwdriver

More two ingredient cocktails

What’s better than easy cocktails with only 2 ingredients? (Nothing.) Here are a few more 2-ingredient cocktails to try…that end up being cheap drinks too!

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

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