Simplicity at it’s finest!
With just two ingredients, orange juice and vodka, the Screwdriver is a classic that lends itself to endless variation.
The history of the Screwdriver is murky at best, we know that it was first written about in 1949, but likely was making circuits in the drink world before then. The mimosa had been invented decades earlier, so it’s likely that the first screwdrivers were simply not documented. Some of the origin stories include American oil workers sneaking vodka into orange juice and stirring the mix with a screwdriver. Other accounts credit American Aviators, and one published in an edition of Time Magazine suggests that the drink was created at the Park Hotel by a mish-mosh of intelligence agents, American engineers, and Balkan refugees.
Regardless of its origins, the Screwdriver quickly became a bar staple that has served as a perfect base for the invention of countless other cocktails. Many modern classics like the Tequila Sunrise, Fuzzy Navel, and Harvey Wallbanger all likely owe their existence to the humble Screwdriver.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, why not mix up your own Screwdriver to enjoy?
- 1 1/2 oz. NEFT Ultra Premium Vodka
- 2 1/2 oz. OJ
- 1 dash Aromatic Bitters
- 1 dash Cherry Bitters
Preparation: Add all ingredients into mixing glass and stir. Strain into rocks glass and garnish with an orange slice.
An ultra-premium Vodka like NEFT makes for a perfect Screwdriver as it’s incredibly smooth and rich while remaining highly affordable. NEFT uses water that has filtered through the bedrock of the Austrian Alps and four ancient rye grains to create their unique and slightly sweet spirit.
Tips and Tricks
So, what makes for a perfect Screwdriver? The simplicity is both the cocktail’s strength and weakness; with only two ingredients quality becomes far more noticeable.
Use Better Quality OJ – Fresh is always best, but if not available, avoid canned mixes or anything that is too sweet or too pulpy.
Use Mid-to-high Quality Vodka – Thanks to the strong flavor of orange juice, the vodka you use doesn’t need to be your best, but it also shouldn’t be your worst. That said, opting for a premium will make the drink go down smoother and elevate the experience, so why not make it a celebration!
Cut the Acidity – Depending on the season and quality, you might find that your orange juice has a bit more bite than you’d like. Cutting the acid can be done in a few ways – adding a pinch of salt or a dash of sugar.
Mix It Up
There are hundreds of ways to improve on this simple classic, from adding a dash or two of bitters a-la the NEFT cocktail we’ve shared to mixing up your base. Here are a few of our favorites.
Add a flavored syrup – nothing too dramatic here, you don’t want to overdo it, but a spiced or herbal syrup can make a big impact. We love adding a rosemary syrup for contrast with the citrus.
Swap in a flavored Vodka – adding a flavored vodka gives you an impressive amount of variation to play with, we love a cherry.
Add A Soda Float – not only will a soda float add some refreshing carbonation, but it helps lighten up your drink, a great option if you’re trying to watch your ABV intake! Plain soda-water is fine here, but why not make it exciting with a craft soda or spicy ginger beer.