If you’re low on ingredients but in the mood for a good drink, the Screwdriver is the poster child of fast cocktails. Its citrusy flavor is a tasty complement to anything on your plate.
Anyone have an idea where this iconic cocktail recipe comes from? Turns out your guess is as good as anyone else’s, because there are quite a few stories floating around on the screwdriver’s origin.
The most popular story by far is that the screwdriver originated during World War II as a staple for American marines. A similar tale refers to American airmen stationed in Turkey who decided to get experimental with their favorite recipes. However, since vodka didn’t become more popular until the late 1940’s, these stories don’t hold much water (or orange juice, in this case).
As for me, the screwdriver has the distinction of being one of the first cocktails I ever tried. I’ve always been a fan of citrusy flavors and I enjoy how easy it is to shake up this recipe’s simple foundation. If you enjoy a fancy Mimosa or sipped a Fuzzy Navel in the past, I highly recommend giving one of these a try.
What’s the Difference Between a Screwdriver and a Mimosa?
A Screwdriver is simple and straightforward, usually comprising two main ingredients: vodka and orange juice. The proportions can vary based on personal preference, but a common mix is two or three parts of orange juice to one part vodka. It’s considered a classic and is typically served in a highball glass over ice. It can be enjoyed throughout the day and is not tied to a specific event or occasion.
On the other hand, a Mimosa is usually associated with special occasions and consumed as a breakfast or brunch drink. It contains equal parts of chilled orange juice and a chilled Champagne (or any other sparkling wine like Prosecco, Cava, etc) and is typically served in a champagne flute without ice.
In terms of overall difference, the Screwdriver is stronger owing to the vodka content, while the Mimosa is lighter and subtly fizzy. I say they’re both delicious!
- Highball glass
- Jigger or measuring tool
- Bar Spoon
- 6 oz Orange Juice
- 2 oz Vodka
- Slice of an Orange or a Cherry for garnish
- Fill your glass with ice cubes.
- Pour the 2 oz Vodka over the ice.
- Add the 6 oz Orange Juice to the glass
- Stir your drink gently, garnish with a slice of orange or cherry, and serve.
Top Tips For a Perfect Screwdriver Drink
- Change the pulp level to your liking. I sometimes like a little pulp in my drink, so experiment here to transform the screwdriver into your favorite cocktail.
- Try freshly squeezed orange juice (or an organic brand). Since orange juice is front and center, the quality really stands out here – canned concentrate won’t taste the same.
- Play around with your garnishes. While a slice of orange or a cherry are classics, you can also try a slice of strawberry for a different kind of juicy kick. Or you can experiment with your other favorite fruits.
- Mix in some club soda or Sprite. If you’re craving something a little more bubbly, try a splash of something fizzy to add a playful pop to your recipe.
Screwdriver Drink Variations Worth Trying
- Summerthyme Screwdriver: Add in some fresh thyme, a little Aperol, and a splash of club soda for an herbaceous and spritzy kick.
- Harvey Wallbanger: This variation uses Galliano, an Italian liqueur with hints of vanilla and herbal notes.
- Vodka Sunrise: This beautiful variation uses a little grenadine syrup. The pomegranate flavor not only tastes great, it helps create the drink’s signature sunset gradient.
- Virgin Screwdriver: Well… that would be straight orange juice, but you can also use vodka alternatives to get the same flavor without the alcohol.