Infused with vodka and orange juice, this 4 ingredient screwdriver is the perfect highball drink to whip up for any event, from big parties to movie nights.

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Screwdriver drink garnish with an orange slice.

About Screwdriver Cocktail

A classic drink with a citrus punch, a screwdriver cocktail is as delicious as it is simple.

What’s in a screwdriver cocktail?

In it’s most basic form, a screwdriver can be whipped up combining:

  • Vodka
  • Orange Juice

This particular recipe adds a few more ingredients for some added flavor, texture, and fun, such as:

  • Salt
  • Club Soda
  • Orange Slices

What type of vodka should you use?

One of the best things about a screwdriver is its simplicity. It delivers a strong, delicious flavor with minimal effort, and it does this without breaking the bank. So while you can go all out with high-end ingredients, only do this if that’s what you prefer.

If you’d like my vodka recommendations, you can try:

  • Absolut Vodka – This is what I usually pick up for cocktails because the price is reasonable and you can find it almost anywhere. It’s easy and convenient.
  • Grey Goose Vodka – For when I’m feeling spendy or I particularly like the drink I’m making. It has a smoother taste than Absolut.
Screwdrivers served with ice, straws, and an orange slice.

Why is it called a screwdriver cocktail?

As the story goes, the screwdriver cocktail was invented by American oil workers in the Persian Gulf, sometime in the 1940s. They would sneak vodka into their orange juice, allowing them to get a little tipsy while working (and without their bosses knowing). And because they were on the job, they didn’t have spoons to stir their drinks – so they used their screwdrivers instead. This quickly became the codename for the drink amongst the workers.

When the drink grew in popularity beyond the Persian Gulf, the unique screwdriver name stuck.

How to measure this cocktail

This cocktail is written like a standard drink recipe, meaning that instead of an exact measurement (ex: 1 cup) the recipe will read “1 part.”

This can sometimes be a little confusing, but I’ve found the best way to think of it as this:

Recipes that measure in parts usually mean it’s written so that you can adjust the size of the drink to whatever you want and the measurements they give you (1 part, 1/2 part, etc) are so you can keep the ratio of the ingredients correct.

For example, let’s say you wanted to make one drink – this typically means you’re using 1 standard shot glass for measuring. So then when the recipe says “1 part” you would interpret that amount as “1 standard shot glass” full. If the recipe says “1/2 part” you’d fill the shot glass halfway so that it’s “1/2 standard shot glass.” OR, let’s say you wanted to make enough drinks for a few friends. When making the drink you could interpret “1 part” as “1 cup” (or “1/2 part” to “1/2 cup.”)

This way the drink will taste the same no matter what size you make it.

What are the exact measurements for one drink?

In a hurry and want simple measurements for just one drink? No problem! Just use this as a guide:

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 5 ounces orange juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ounce club soda

You can also select “Metric” measurements in the recipe card below to see these numbers.

Holding a screwdriver cocktail mixed with vodka, orange juice, salt, and club soda.

Notes & Tips for a screwdriver drink

  • It’s best to use fresh-squeezed orange juice or high-quality orange juice. But no matter what type of orange juice you use, make sure it is pulp-free.
  • Salt can be omitted but it helps to neutralize the acidity of the orange juice making for a more pleasurable drinking experience.
  • Vodka can be increased from 1 part to 3 part for a stronger drink.
  • If you’d like a sweeter drink, try adding simple syrup or grenadine.

More great boozy drinks

Other recipes with orange

How to make a screwdriver cocktail

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – Fill a tall glass halfway full with ice, then add a splash of vodka and orange juice.

Step 2 – Add with some salt, stir, and add a splash of club soda.

Step 3 – Garnish with an orange slice and enjoy!

Recipe Details

Screwdriver drink garnish with an orange slice.
4.50 from 2 votes

Screwdriver Cocktail

2 minutes prep
195 kcal
Yields: 1 drink
Infused with vodka and orange juice, this 4 ingredient screwdriver is the perfect highball drink to whip up for any event, from big parties to movie nights.


  • ice
  • 2 part vodka
  • 5 part orange juice
  • 1 pinch salt, or to taste
  • 1 part club soda
  • orange slices, for garnish (optional)


  • In a tall glass filled halfway with ice, add vodka, orange juice, and salt, then stir.
  • Top with a splash of club soda and garnish with an orange slice.


Serving: 1drink | Calories: 195kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 310mg | Potassium: 285mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 284IU | Vitamin C: 71mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy