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9 Cocktail Recipes with Vodka Worth Trying

by William Gray 6 min read

Vodka just might be the ultimate neutral spirit. 

According to Chilled Magazine, this clear grain spirit got its start over 1,000 years ago in Russia—or maybe Poland? No one’s quite sure. What we do know is that modern vodka is typically distilled multiple times for maximum quality and a higher alcohol content. Vodka is a combination of water and ethanol, which means it’s flavorless by design. This turns many people off from vodka; they want their liquor to have complex flavors. 

Photo courtesy of Tito's Vodka

However, vodka’s lack of identity gives us a unique opportunity: a clean slate, upon which we can build nearly endless flavor combinations.

In this article, we’re going to give you unique cocktail recipes with vodka that you can make at home. These cocktails have a range of different flavor profiles, to prove that vodka can fit into almost any cocktail and play nice with the other flavors.

 

❶ CAIPIROSKA

The Caipiroska is a spin-off version of Brazil’s national cocktail: the caipirinha; which is made by muddling sugar and lime together before adding ice and cachaça, a sugar cane spirit similar to rum. The caipiroska is similar on all counts, except it swaps the cachaça for vodka, creating a slightly more straightforward drink, especially for those who aren’t used to cachaça’s signature funk.

Old Fashioned Romance

    RECIPE

    • 2 oz vodka 
    • 1 lime, cut into six pieces 
    •  ½ oz Classic Gum Syrup (or 1 Tbsp. sugar)

    INSTRUCTIONS

    • Begin by preparing your lime. Before cutting, you may choose to remove some of the peel—doing so will take some of the bitterness out of the cocktail. Cut the lime into six wedges. 
    •  Add the lime and sugar to the bottom of a shaker tin, and muddle until the juice is released and the sugar is incorporated. 
    •  Add your vodka and ice, and shake hard for 10-15 seconds. 
    •  Pour into a rocks glass and enjoy!

    Note: with its simple flavor profile, the caipiroska is great for experimenting with other flavors. For a fun, fruity twist, try adding coconut, passionfruit, raspberry, or pineapple.

    ❷ Espresso Martini

    Not only is the espresso martini a delicious cocktail, it gives you a serious energy boost—like a Five Hour Energy that gets you tipsy. There are many different espresso martini recipes out there, but at their core they’re all the same: espresso and vodka. Our espresso martini recipe leans toward the simple side, which allows you to fully taste the complex, bitter notes that the espresso brings.

    RecipE 

    • 2 oz vodka 
    •  ½ oz coffee liqueur (we like Mr. Black) 
    •  Shot of espresso 
    •  ¼ oz Demerara Gum Syrup
    • lemon peel for garnish

    Instructions

    • Add your vodka, coffee liqueur, espresso, and syrup to a shaker tin. 
    •  Generously add ice and shake until the tin is frosty. 
    •  Double strain (strain through a standard hawthorne strainer and a fine mesh strainer) into a coupe glass. 
    •  Express a lemon peel over the top and enjoy!

    ❸ Cosmopolitan

    Before the Starbucks craze, there was an original “pink drink,” the Cosmopolitan. As with many things in the cocktail world, there’s hot debate over who originally invented this vodka-based cocktail, but it got its start in the late 1980’s in the United States—not quite old enough to be considered a “classic,” but an influential cocktail nonetheless. The Cosmopolitan isn’t made with traditional neutral vodka, but a citrus-infused “citron” vodka, like Absolut citron.

    Recipe 

    • 1 ½ oz citron vodka 
    •  ¾ oz Cointreau 
    •  ¾ oz freshly squeezed lime juice 
    •  ½ oz cranberry juice cocktail
    • lime wedge for garnish

    Instructions

    • Add the vodka, Cointreau, lime juice, and cranberry juice cocktail into the bottom of a shaker.  
    • Fill with ice and shake until well-chilled. 
    •  Strain into a chilled coupe glass. 
    •  Garnish with a lime wedge.

    ❹ Pineapple Smash

    Let the pineapple sing in this vodka based smash. With the aromatics of rosemary and bitters, this fruity and boozy cocktail is summertime ready. The smash category of cocktail has been around since the very beginning of cocktail history. It generally combines seasonal fruit, mint, sugar, and a spirit base. In this recipe, we forgo the mint, and smash lemon wedges with our Pineapple Gum Syrup for a delicious and unique take on the smash.

    Recipe 

    Instructions

    • In a julep tin, muddle the lemon wedges and Pineapple Gum Syrup 
    •  Add vodka, crushed ice and stir for 15 seconds 
    •  Fill with more crushed ice and garnish

    ❺ Pornstar Martini

    Here’s another cocktail recipe with flavored vodka, and it’s a fun one: the pornstar martini. A delicious blend of passionfruit and vanilla makes for a sweet and fruity concoction that’s made even more indulgent by the addition of a shot of chilled champagne.

    Recipe 

    • 1 ½ oz vanilla vodka 
    •  ½ oz passionfruit liqueur 
    •  ½ oz Tropical Passionfruit Syrup 
    •  ½ oz fresh lime juice Chilled champagne (or prosecco)

    Instructions

    • Add all ingredients, except for the champagne, to a shaker tin. 
    •  Add ice and shake for 5-10 seconds. 
    •  Double strain into a coupe glass. 
    •  Pour approximately 2 oz of champagne into a small glass and serve alongside your cocktail.

    ❻ White Russian

    Next, we have yet another cocktail recipe with vodka and coffee: the White Russian. The signature drink of the Dude (or El Duderino, if you’re not into the whole “brevity” thing), the drink is now synonymous with the 1998 Coen Brothers comedy, The Big Lebowski. The White Russian originated with the addition of heavy cream to the existing Black Russian cocktail, which is simply a mixture of vodka and coffee liqueur over ice.

    Recipe 

    • 2 oz vodka
    •  1 oz coffee liqueur (we like Mr. Black) 
    •  1 oz heavy cream

    Instructions

    • Add your vodka and coffee liqueur to a rocks glass and top with ice. 
    •  Stir gently to incorporate and chill the spirits. 
    •  Pour your heavy cream over the top. You can either stir to fully mix the cocktail, or let the cream settle on its own.

    ❼ Moscow Mule

    The Moscow Mule is one of the cocktails recognized for its vessel as much as its taste. Traditionally served in a frosty copper mug, this vodka cocktail is equal parts sweet, tart, and spicy. According to Moscow Copper Co, the Moscow Mule was the brainchild of three hard-pressed business owners, each trying to sell their signature product to unenthused Americans of the 1940’s. A copper mug manufacturer, a ginger beer brewer, and the owner of Smirnoff distillery walk into a bar… and the rest is history.

    Recipe 

    Instructions

    • Add your vodka, ginger syrup, and lime juice to a copper mug, or rocks glass. 
    •  Add ice and stir until fully mixed. 
    •  Continue stirring and slowly add club soda until the glass is filled. 
    •  Garnish with a lime wedge and enjoy!

    ❽ Colorado Bulldog

    Fans of the White Russian above, will love this flavorful drink. It takes everything up a notch, and is a delicious spin on the original. You can also make it with Coca-Cola.

    Recipe 

    Instructions

    • Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice.
    • Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds, until the shaker tin is ice cold.
    • Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with fresh raspberries (optional)

    ❾ Lemon Drop Martini

    In the beginning, the lemon drop martini wasn’t a martini at all. The lemon drop was originally served in a cocktail glass, at a 1970’s bar called Henry Africa’s. Throughout the years it gained the addition of a sugared rim for extra sweetness, and made its way into a martini glass (or a shot glass). 

    Recipe 

    • 2 oz vodka 
    •  ½ oz triple sec 
    •  1 oz lemon juice 
    •  1 oz Classic Gum Syrup 
    •  Sugar for garnish

    Instructions

    • First, rim your martini or coupe glass with sugar by rubbing a cut lemon wedge around the edge of the glass and dipping in sugar, making sure to evenly coat the rim. 
    •  Then, add all ingredients to a shaker tin, add ice, and shake until frosty. 
    •  Double strain into your rimmed glass and enjoy!

    Over the years, vodka has successfully made its way into cocktail culture, as well as our hearts. We don’t judge vodka for not having a signature flavor of its own, we celebrate it for being a team player that’s ready to fill any role. We hope you enjoy these seven cocktail recipes with vodka; please let us know in the comments which ones you tried!


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