A simple mix of orange juice, vodka and ice, the simplicity of the Screwdriver means it’s been many people’s first foray into dive bar cocktailing and a permanent feature on brunch tables since…well, since there’s been brunch. It’s not hard to make, but that doesn’t mean you should be lazy about it. While it might be standard at some dive bars to make Screwdrivers using the ageless plastic bottle of orange juice behind the bar, endeavor to use fresh juice whenever possible. It improves the cocktail by providing both the extra tartness that comes with fresh citrus, as well as a fuller mouthfeel that can be lacking in some cheaper, pre-bottled juices. As ubiquitous as the Screwdriver is, though, its history is a bit foggy. Some say the drink was invented in the mid 20th century by American oil workers in the Persian Gulf who snuck vodka into their orange juice and stirred the drink with their screwdrivers. Others insist the drink was created by American pilots in WWII. Whatever its origins, the Screwdriver has cemented itself as a staple cocktail everywhere from frat parties to hipster cafés to your home bar.
- Pour orange juice and vodka into a highball glass, fill with ice and stir to combine.
- Garnish with orange wheel.
Mix it Up
It’s easy to add a single ingredient and transform a Screwdriver in to an entirely new cocktail. A little Galliano sweetens up the traditional Screwdriver and turns it into a Harvey Wallbanger—a disco-era cocktail that’s currently on the comeback trail. And if you have bottle of Prosecco handy, you can use it and go from Screwdriver to an effervescent Manmosa.
No one knows for sure exactly when and where the Alabama Slammer was invented, but it appeared as early as 1971 in Thomas Mario’s Playboy Bartender’s Guide. Popular amongst tailgaters and revelers at the University of Alabama, some say it’s the signature cocktail of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team. No matter the precise histor...