Vodka is one of the numerous high demand products found in bars for its neutrality. Many popular bar drinks incorporate vodka to create delicious, alcoholic beverages.
Cocktails can contain mixers that don’t always pair well with the alcohol, which is why vodka is closeby to any bartender. Mixers can easily mask the potency of vodka and create easy-to-drink cocktails.
Though vodka is known to be the best alcohol for shots by many consumers, it works exceptionally well in cocktails. It is a must-have behind every bar and an ingredient found across the pages of the best cocktail recipe books.
Popular vodka drinks are standard on regular and happy hour menus. Learn more about which ones are most common and which mixers distinguish them from other cocktails.
Top 10 Vodka Cocktails
Several of the most popular cocktails contain vodka. Its lack of flavor and odor allows numerous mixers and other types of alcohol to remain evident in drinks without disrupting their flavor and aroma profiles.
It can feel quite overwhelming when you’re about to order a drink. Every bartender has vodka nearby, but there are so many options to choose from (find more inspiration in our bartender's guide book). So, we made it pretty easy by narrowing down a list of the ten best vodka cocktails you can order at the bar.
Herbs and spices are common while cooking but rarely a component of cocktails. A Bloody Mary is also one of the few drinks that contain vegetables, as the main ingredient is tomato juice.
To make the perfect Bloody Mary, combine the proper measurement of the following (learn: what does one part mean):
- Tomato juice
- Worcestershire sauce
- Celery salt
- Garlic salt
- Tabasco sauce
- Ground black pepper
The number of seasonings that go into Bloody Mary recipes makes it a perfect drink on its own or with plainer foods, such as grilled meats.
Fruity drinks have a reputation for being light with minimal alcohol. The cosmopolitan, however, combines various fruit juices with an amount of liquor that packs a punch.
Shaken to a beautiful hot pink color, cosmopolitans are sweet but with enough citrus from the lime to pair well with food. The balance of flavors is refreshing and serves as a go-to for many mixology experts.
The cosmopolitan grew in popularity during the 1990s, especially after the television series, Sex and the City became a household favorite.
The following cocktail ingredients are necessary to create a cosmopolitan:
- Triple sec
- Cranberry juice
- Lime juice
Bartenders serve cosmopolitans in martini glasses, which causes many people to believe that they’re a type of martini. However, the biggest differentiator is that martinis include vermouth, whereas cosmopolitans do not.
The martini glass is also smaller than something like a highball glass or mug. Mixologists most likely opted for a smaller glass due to the alcohol content in such cocktails. Remember, vodka has an ABV of at least 40%, and there are other types of alcohol in the classic recipe.
As always, understand how to calculate ABV, be mindful of your limits, and drink responsibly.
Classic martinis are a simple mixture of gin and vermouth. However, many bartenders and consumers opt for martinis made with vodka instead of gin for its versatility.
Vodka martinis are a staple in every bar and are one of the best drinks to know as a bartender. Various mixers create colorful drink specials usually found on various menu types. After decades of adjusting the famous cocktail, there must be a recipe for every occasion, food pairing, and color scheme.
Martinis that contain unique mixers also allow you to be more creative in garnishing the glassware. Traditional martinis use olives, which are not favorable to many consumers. Using fruit slices, chocolate drizzles, or even candy are attractive ways to decorate the drink upon completion.
The inspiration for some of the most popular cocktail recipes comes from martinis. Several common flavors you can find in bars and restaurants include :
- Key Lime
Lime and beer have been a popular combination for decades, but adding a little bit of vodka gives it quite the kick. In a Moscow Mule, fiery ginger beer, lime juice, and vodka combine for a blend of spice and sweetness.
Moscow Mules are a refreshing drink during the summer months; however, the intense ginger flavor makes them a delightful holiday favorite, too.
Moscow Mules are easy to make. All you need is:
- Lime juice
- Ginger beer - many beer brands offer ginger options, so choose your favorite.
Serve Moscow Mules in copper mugs. Copper is efficient at conducting and maintaining temperature. So if you pour a cold beverage into this kind of cup, it’ll take on the drink’s temperature and remain cold for a longer period of time.
Sometimes, it’s hard to choose from the coffee or dessert menu at the end of your meal. To settle your indecisiveness, order a Mudslide. The rich balance of chocolate, sweet cream, and coffee flavors deliver a decadent outcome.
The rich dessert drink consists of the following ingredients:
- Coffee liqueur (Kahlua)
- Bailey’s Irish cream
- Heavy cream
- Chocolate syrup to garnish the glass
Shake all of the ingredients well. You want to make sure that the creams are thoroughly mixed with the liqueur. Strain into a glass and serve at a chilled temperature.
Many brunch enthusiasts are fans of mimosas–the combination of orange juice and champagne (learn more: what is brunch food). But what about combining orange juice with vodka instead? By doing so, you’ll create the Screwdriver.
The famous cocktail is simply the combination of the two ingredients, is an excellent option for the warmer months, and fits perfectly within lists of spring cocktails.
The Sea Breeze is one of many refreshing summer cocktails that combines vodka with delicious fruit juices. The result is a vibrant, magenta-red beverage that looks as seasonal as it tastes.
To make a Sea Breeze, combine the following ingredients:
- Cranberry juice
- Grapefruit juice
- Lime wheel to garnish
You can pour the cocktail over ice in a highball glass as is or shake it up to achieve a slightly frothy texture. Either way, this is sure to be a seasonal favorite.
Vodka Cranberry (Cape Cod)
The mixture of vodka and cranberry juice is one that barely tastes alcoholic. It’s the sweeter and simpler version of a Sea Breeze, as this recipe doesn’t contain any grapefruit. Cranberry juice naturally has a sweet and pungent flavor, which masks the vodka exceptionally well.
A splash or drizzle of citrusy juice pairs well, too. Some bartenders will garnish a Vodka Cranberry with a lemon or lime wheel, so feel free to drop it in your glass for a little extra burst of flavor.
By combining vodka and tonic water, you’ll create a fizzy, refreshing drink that will pair with so many meals. The bitterness of tonic water also pairs well with vodka’s simplicity.
Vodka Tonics are ideal for when you want to try flavored vodka. The taste of tonic water is relatively minimal, so you won’t disrupt the taste by adding additional flavors. It’s common to find Vodka Tonics with a lemon or lime, so we recommend you opt for a citrusy vodka flavor if you’re feeling creative.
Iced coffee and cold brews are perfect ways to start your day. If you’re in the mood for robust coffee flavors, but in an alcoholic beverage to wind down after working hours, then a White Russian will fit the bill.
White Russians are the combination of:
- Coffee liqueur such as Kahlua
If you consume a dairy-free or completely vegan diet, you can substitute the cream for a dairy alternative. Since the cream in White Russians provides a sweet taste and smooth texture, we believe that oat milk will deliver the most similar result. Plus, oat and coffee flavors pair well together.
After blending all four ingredients, pour your White Russian into an old-fashioned glass and enjoy.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Best Vodka Cocktails
What Mixes With Vodka the Best?
Your favorite fruit juice is likely to function as the best mixer to combine with vodka. Due to the popularity of various mixers, it would be almost impossible to determine the absolute best. However, many consumers prefer some kind of fruit juice since the sweetness combats the potency of vodka.
What Is the Most Popular Vodka?
Smirnoff is the most well-known vodka brand, as well as the oldest. Smirnoff sustains its popularity by creating affordable, high-quality vodka. Plus, Smirnoff keeps up with beverage trends and now offers dozens of delicious flavor options in addition to ready-to-drink vodka drinks.
What Is the Best Cocktail?
Martinis rank as the best cocktail for numerous reasons. Martinis taste delicious, come in countless flavors, and are aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. You’ll often find that the bar staff at independent restaurants get very creative with their martini recipes, as you can add so many ingredients to make them look and taste festive.
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