Summer comes, and people are going for drinking more refreshing cocktails. Even die-hard Martini lover like me starts to think about Tom Collins when buying another bottle of gin.

For a long time I was neglecting long drinks. Usually I would prefer to shake orange juice with gin and serve it straight instead of building orange juice with vodka over ice in a highball. Sometimes I was trying to avoid ice-cold drinks and not to catch cold, sometimes I just wanted straight and strong drink in the end of another hard day.

This time I have an intention to break my prejudice. The first long drink in the series will be Screwdriver, a mixture of vodka and orange juice.

I have no idea how matters stand in America but in Russia Screwdriver has a bad reputation thanks to ignorant bartenders who mix cheap vodka with surrogate juice.

I was concentrated on getting the best components because simple drinks can be easily damaged by using just one improper ingredient.

Orange juice is a key component for Screwdriver. It must be as good as it possible – freshly pressed, sweet and a little bit sour. Vodka (usually unflavored) should be of neutral taste and without any smell except alcohol, of course.  My favorite brands are Finlandia and Grey Goose and some Russian vodkas such as Russian Standard Platinum.


  • 50 ml vodka (Finlandia Vodka),
  • 100 ml fresh orange juice.

Build ingredients over ice in a tall glass. Serve with a straw. Garnish with a lemon slice.

What can I say about Screwdriver’s taste? That’s a taste of cooled orange juice and nothing more. Vodka just adds some depth to the taste and certainly alcohol strength. Also sometimes I add dash or two of simple syrup to adjust sweet and sour balance.

Screwdriver’s formula is too simple and there was tempting factor to improve it. Adding bitters is a natural way to enhance the cocktail. This time I preferred my homemade orange bitters to Angostura bitters. My intention was to underscore orange zest bitter aftertaste so my bitters goes well for it as it’s more  drier, sharper and stronger in taste.


Also I’ve used citrus-flavored vodka. It was my whim, and it worked well. But the main difference was mulled orange syrup I’ve used in attempt to bring some complexity to the cocktail flavor.

Upgraded Screwdriver

Stir all components without ice and pour in ice filled tall glass. Garnish with a lemon slice and a straw.

Two additional ingredients turn my Screwdriver to different cocktail. Orange juice still dominates in the taste while warm touch of spices appears on the palate and that’s the thing that makes a difference.

The syrup works in such interesting way that I seem to taste almond flavor in the end of a sip. It was a surprise because there are no almonds in the syrup. My improved Screwdriver looks like tiki-cocktail and not simple long drink.