Vodka is more than a partner for club soda or olive juice (although I’d be perfectly fine if that’s all it was). This spirit is a highly adept cocktail chameleon capable of promoting flavors—like mint, citrus, and pepper—in drinks hot and small, strong and weak. Without getting too serious here, it’s clear to me that vodka still deserves more respect. Here are 11 cocktail recipes that’ll turn even the fans of dark spirits into vodka supporters.
A lemon drop martini is best enjoyed solo, without a snack, meal, or in-law nearby. Sweet, sour, and impossibly drinkable, it is the official cocktail of Personal Time.
I would make this just to have a batch of the orange simple syrup, but since you’ll also end up with a gimlet that perfectly balances mint and citrus, you might as well make the whole drink.
Spas are relaxing because you wear robes and drink floral water. You can do this same thing at home, only you can do it better by wearing your own robe and swapping floral water (boring) with a boozy rosebud cocktail.
Enjoyable hot vodka cocktails are few and far between, so when you find a winner like this spice-forward mulled number, it’s best to keep it on file. If you don’t have a thermos or don’t want to keep your stove running, don’t worry—this drink works just as well served cold.
Some form of a dirty, briny, cheese-stuffed-olive-garnished martini was always going to make this list. It’s popular for a reason (it’s undeniably delicious) and if you’re looking for an entry point to the DIY Dirty ‘Tini Lifestyle, this recipe will suit you well.
Grapefruit is considerate in that it doesn’t immediately rot once I forget it’s in my refrigerator—it gives me a few days to remember that it’s there. So if you also have a grapefruit stashed in your fridge, you owe it to yourself and this resilient citrus to use it for something more fun than breakfast, like this easy and refreshing mule.
A well made, no short-cuts (get lost, sour mix), Long Island Iced Tea is as delicious as any cocktail out there. If you’re skeptical, I get it—the Long Island lost control of its brand years ago—but this recipe is perfectly balanced and absolutely worth giving the old “college try.”
8. Blue Hawaii
Blue drinks are fun and you should know how to make one that doesn’t taste like a bowl of sugar. Not only does this Blue Hawaii balance sweetness with acidity, it does so using five ingredients you might already have on your bar cart.
Homemade limoncello paired with crushed peppercorns is an obvious, delicious, worthwhile addition to your post-dinner drink arsenal. It’s worth noting that this recipe does take a few days to come together, so if you’d like to sip on this lemon pepper beverage make sure to plan ahead.
Re: Giving grapefruit the life it deserves. A salty dog is simple (three ingredients), flexible (works with either vodka or gin), and delicious (there’s salt on that rim).
Everyone should know how to make a bloody mary mix from scratch—it’s easy and the ingredients are likely already in your refrigerator. Once you learn how to make the mix yourself, you’ll never have to worry about whether or not a new grocery store carries your preferred mix brand.
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