The History of the Screwdriver Cocktail

All eyes are on Russia this month, with the 2018 World Cup well underway and just a few more matches before one team is awarded the honour of winning. With that in mind, we wanted to find a cocktail that would celebrate the Russian flair. Instead, we chose the Screwdriver…well, it does have vodka as its primary ingredient!

American Background

Despite the international rise in popularity of gin-based drinks, vodka still remains the number one spirit in the world, with one in three drinks in the USA containing the sharp, clear liquid. The Screwdriver was one of the first recorded cocktails to be made with vodka and, unlike many other classic combinations, it was not created by a bartender in some fancy bar. Instead, it was made by American oil workers out in the Persian gulf in the mid-20th century. While working, they would secretly pour a little vodka into their orange juice and, in the absence of a spoon, they would stir their drinks with a screwdriver – hence the name.

Another possible story attributes the drink to American marines during World War II, while a note in Time magazine in 1949 suggests the cocktail was first invented by an unlikely combination of Turkish intelligence agents, Balkan refugees and American engineers in the Park Hotel.

Whichever story is true, it seems that somewhere along the line, an American was involved in its conception!

Screwdriver Variations

Despite its simplicity (or maybe even because of it), this basic combination of vodka and orange has had many variations over the years. A Slow Screw replaces vodka with sloe gin, while a Slow Comfortable Screw adds two shot of sloe gin and a shot of Southern Comfort to the mix. Meanwhile, a Sloe Comfortable Screw Up Against A Wall combines slow gin, Southern Comfort and Galliano with orange juice.

Add a shot of Tequila to the previous recipe and it becomes a Slow Comfortable Screw Up Against A Wall Mexican Style. Replace that Tequila with peach schnapps and you now have a Slow Comfortable Screw Up Against A Fuzzy Wall.

Perhaps you’d prefer your vodka with a simple slice of orange, to create a Cordless Screwdriver. Or you can replace traditional vodka with vanilla vodka and blue curacao to create the Sonic Screwdriver (also sometimes made with lemon-lime soda instead of orange juice). A Harvey Wallbanger is also a derivative of the screwdriver, made with vodka, orange juice and Galliano.

Whichever variation you prefer, we are sure you’ll have fun experimenting! But you might prefer to mix your drink with something more hygienic than a screwdriver!

Cocktails mentioned in this post

Screwdriver cocktail
CLASSIC
Rate me
196
34
Screwdriver
Added About 8 years ago
2 ingredients  
The classic screwdriver. Simple mix together the vodka and orange juice directly in a highball glass with ice. ...
The classic screwdriver. Simple mix together the vodka and orange juice directly in a highball glass with ice. ...
Rating: 4.64 / 5
Slow Screw cocktail
Rate me
2
2
Slow Screw
Added About 9 years ago
3 ingredients  
Pour into double shot glass and mix together. ...
Pour into double shot glass and mix together. ...
Rating: 2.38 / 5
Slow Comfortable Screw cocktail
Rate me
3
0
Slow Comfortable Screw
Added About 9 years ago
6 ingredients  
Mix the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with plenty of crushed ice. Pour into a chilled champagne glass and add cherries and olives. The above quantities will suffice for about eight drinks. This combo is right for any time, as a pick me up on a hot day, or before or after meals. ...
Mix the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with plenty of crushed ice. Pour into a chilled champagne glass and add cherries and olives. ...
Rating: 0.82 / 5
Sloe Comfortable Screw Against The Wall cocktail
Rate me
2
0
Sloe Comfortable Screw Against The Wall
Added About 9 years ago
5 ingredients  
The 'wall' aspect comes from the Galliano (as in a Harvey Wallbanger). Stir the vodka, Southern Comfort and orange juice in a highball glass with ice. Float the sloe gin and let it bleed into the drink, before floating the Galliano on top. ...
The 'wall' aspect comes from the Galliano (as in a Harvey Wallbanger). Stir the vodka, Southern Comfort and orange juice in a highball glass with ice. ...
Rating: 4.04 / 5
Harvey Wallbanger cocktail
CLASSIC
Rate me
28
3
Harvey Wallbanger
Added About 8 years ago
3 ingredients  
The Harvey Wallbanger is reported to have been invented in 1952 by three-time world champion mixologist Donato 'Duke' Antone (Paolantonio), the brother-in-law of New York state Senator Carlo Lanzillotti. Add all the ingredients into a highball glass with ice. Stir and serve. ...
The Harvey Wallbanger is reported to have been invented in 1952 by three-time world champion mixologist Donato 'Duke' Antone (Paolantonio), the ...
Rating: 4.47 / 5

This post was written by ....

Suzanna H
Hi, I am Suzanna. I would describe myself as a bit of a foodie with a side-interest in fancy cocktails. Anything sweet and alcoholic and I'm in! I am also an avid writer, proofreader and editor and work freelance through the website People per Hour.

Comments

Recent posts

    • The History of the Bloody Mary Cocktail
      The Bloody Mary cocktail has undergone something of a revival of late. The ultimate hangover cure, this is a dangerous cocktail to drink, since the
    • Let There Be Fireworks When You Drink!
      The temperature has dramatically dropped here in the South-East of England this past fortnight, but we’re not sad! Cold weather means it is
    • Where the A-List Like to Drink
      Celebrity A-Listers might live a charmed life full of expensive things, adoring fans and access to everything their heart desires, but sometimes they