This Blood Orange Screwdriver Cocktail recipe makes the most out of bright red winter citrus! This super-simple base recipe includes a nonalcoholic option to please everyone at your next brunch.
What is in a screwdriver?
Traditionally, a screwdriver consists simply of orange juice and vodka. It is a popular option for brunch and very easily prepared for a crowd.
The origins of this famous cocktail are debated, but many tie its birth to the late 1940s in the United States, when vodka was becoming a more prominent part of drinking culture.
Some say it was coined by American aviators – the name stemming from the fact that a real screwdriver was used to mix when a spoon was not available. But how much stirring do we think was really needed when combining just two ingredients?!
Frankly, it is not my favorite brunch cocktail (in the citrus juice category, I much prefer a mimosa, which was around a couple of decades before the screwdriver’s inception).
However, today’s recipe expands upon the traditional motif with a few of my favorite cocktail add-ins. It’s the perfect drink to add some fun color to your brunch spread, but you could technically enjoy it at any time of day.
Details for This Recipe
To give this drink a bit of Garlic Head flair, we’re adding bright red blood orange juice alongside some spicy fresh ginger and refreshing mint. Because blood red oranges are often not as sweet as navel oranges, a touch of maple syrup helps to offset this.
Vodka can be fairly sharp, so these mix-ins help to create a more well-rounded flavor profile. This cocktail is also easily made in a large-batch recipe, so feel free to mix everything together in a pitcher and pour over ice just before serving.
How to Make a Non-Alcoholic Screwdriver Cocktail
With such a short ingredient list, there are a number of ways to make this recipe alcohol-free. My favorite is to include a 1:1 substitution of nonalcoholic ginger beer in place of vodka.
If you do not like ginger beer, ginger kombucha also works well.
If you are less ginger-obsessed than me, I would recommend subbing sparkling water (maybe something flavored, like Spindrift) or your favorite juice.
How to Make Blood Orange Screwdriver Punch
The below recipe is written for a single cocktail, but if you’re looking to serve a crowd, this recipe is easily scaled up. To do this:
- Add 6 oz of vodka to a large pitcher.
- Top with 2 cups of blood orange juice.
- Add 2 TBS maple syrup.
- Stir and portion across 6 ice-filled glasses, topping with sparkling water just before serving. Garnish with mint and orange wedges.
Options to Customize
If you can’t find blood oranges (or if they’re out of season where you live), feel free to substitute regular orange juice or even grapefruit juice.
To amplify the red color of this drink, add pomegranate juice.
If you are looking for an alcoholic option that is not vodka, I recommend champagne or sparkling wine (this technically turns the drink into a mimosa, but I won’t tell anyone).
To make a “Fuzzy Navel,” substitute peach schnapps for the vodka. This will be a much fruitier variation, so you may consider lessening any additional sweetener. I do not love overly sweet drinks myself.