15 Best Chasers To Pair With Vodka

A chaser is basically an accompaniment to your main glass of alcohol, usually in the form of a side shot of another drink with little to no alcohol, that helps reduce the intensity and throat burn of hard liquor. If imbibed immediately after sips of a hard drink, a chaser can balance out the flavor intensity of a stronger alcohol, add additional complexity to a smoother alcohol like vodka, or just help mitigate the possibility of a hangover the next morning. 

When it comes to any of these three categories of vodka — potato-based, fruit-based, and grain-based — the absolute best vodka can be a joy to drink, straight no chaser. However, a long night at the bar can quickly become a more extended morning hangover without a chaser, and hard liquor can be bracing without the addition of something else to follow it immediately afterward. Whether enjoyed from a shot glass, dunked in a glass (boilerplate style), or speared with a toothpick and left as a garnish, there are a number of chasers that pair particularly well with vodka in terms of drinkability and complementary nature.

Olives and brine

Olives and the brine they come soaked in are natural partners with vodka. If you've ever seen or ordered a dirty vodka martini, you know how necessary the olive and its brine are to add complexity to that drink. In fact, being specific about the type of martini you want is one of the most important do's and don'ts of ordering a martini because the sodium and briney umami downplay the harshness of vodka.

It makes sense then that olives or a shot of olive brine would be great chasers for a tall glass of vodka. It's basically a deconstructed dirty martini, just spaced out between two glasses. In fact, these flavors pair so well together that vodka producers like Kástra Elión have gone ahead and distilled olives into its liquor. So it stands to reason that olives and olive brine would make an incredible chaser for the right type of vodka, which is whatever you're in the mood for. 


Perhaps the most important ingredient in vodka you've never thought about is water. The same element present in every glass of transparent liquor actually derives its name from the English translation of the Russian word voda, meaning "water." But why are we talking about water as an effective chaser for vodka if vodka is literally made from the stuff?

Something else you may not know about the flavor of vodka is that water can have an impact on the taste of it, depending on the salt content. Water as a chaser also has the dual benefit of watering down the alcohol going into your system while hydrating your body as you drink. In other words, you can enjoy more vodka for a longer period by chasing it with water and maybe mitigate the nauseating effects of a hangover while you are enjoying it. That definitely sounds like a winning combination to us.  

Tonic Water

If you like drinking vodka, you are probably well acquainted with vodka tonics as one of the world's most popular and simple cocktails. Relatively simple in its execution — the water being an equal ingredient to vodka in the recipe — tonic naturally works as a chaser to pair with vodka, too.

The "tonic" title can be attributed to the carbonated water's medicinal properties, which go back 300 years to 17th century South America as a cure for fevers. Sourced from the bark of the cinchona tree, quinine (the medicinal compound that gives tonic water a slightly bitter aftertaste) also adds layers of bitter and sweet complexity to a vodka. While the sweeteners added to the tonic water don't make it as healthy as natural water, tonic water can still be mildly hydrating. Throw in the benefit of it having a slightly enlivening taste, and you have another winning vodka chaser. 


Lemonade is a pretty versatile drink that works well as a mixture for almost any distilled liquor you can think of. Spiked lemonade is one of those drinks that stands the test of time and has survived beyond college dorm room parties because of how great it works with rum, gin, whiskey, and, yes, vodka. In fact, several vodka producers already have some type of lemonade-infused vodka available for purchase for that reason.

Better still, a research study by the National Library of Medicine concluded that lemon juice may actually protect the liver from the damaging effects of alcohol because of the antioxidants present in lemon ... at least in mice. With the concentration of alcohol sitting at about 40% ABV in the U.S., chasing your drink with a shot of sweet, tart, and tangy lemonade sounds like a great way to level up your basic vodka drink and may even have some preventative benefits as well. 

Ginger beer

Like a few of the suggested chasers on our list, ginger beer is another chaser that works for people who enjoy the sweet, tastebud-tingling, ginger-based drink in any cocktail. Although the noted afterburn of gingery heat that emanates from your chest after swallowing it isn't for everyone, regular imbibers of the Moscow mule cocktail should have no issue with the fiery combo of ginger beer and vodka. Consider it a very basic deconstructed version of a favorite drink, just split up between two glasses.

Unsurprisingly, the vodkas that pair best with your ginger beer chaser are going to be whatever you find to be the best vodkas for your Moscow mule. That all depends on what flavor notes are most important for you to impart on your vodka. A ginger beer chaser is just a natural combination of flavors, and the more carbonated the ginger beer, the more bubbly and crisp a reaction you can expect to follow your vodka with. 

Iced tea

Iced tea is maybe the least likely suspect on our list of vodka-paired chasers. The aforementioned lemonade, together with vodka and iced tea, is also its own drink — the John Daly. It's named for a scandalous professional golf champion who was known to consume the beverage regularly. However, when it comes to pure chasers, black tea and vodka without the presence of lemonade is another marriage made in shot chaser heaven. 

As evidenced by the existence of a cocktail known as the vodka sweet tea — a cocktail that mixes iced black tea, vodka, and your choice of preferred sweetener — the addition of sugar, honey, or syrup to your iced tea will help balance out your glass of vodka's alcoholic kick. It also enhances the hint of herbaceousness in your shot of iced tea while culling some of the astringency of the non-alcoholic part. This is effectively like chasing your vodka with a shot of sweet tea, which sounds all sorts of right. 

Fruit juice

Different fruit juices are often used in any number of cocktails as mixers, with good reason. The uniqueness of the fruit juice imparts itself to whatever liquor you mix it with, making for an interesting flavor collision in your mouth. With lightly flavored alcohol like vodka, the essence of fruit doesn't have to work very hard to deliver those extra layers of taste, and some of the best drinks to mix with vodka, like pineapple, orange, cranberry, and grapefruit juice, also impart an added nutritious benefit.

All told, your fruit juice vodka chaser is only as good as the quality of fruit juice you pair your vodka with. The fruit juices you buy from your local grocery tend to be watered down and higher in unhealthy preservatives, so if quality ingredients matter to you, it may be a better idea to chase your vodka with organic juices made from 100% fruit concentrate. These types of juices hang onto more vitamins without the addition of unnatural chemicals and sugars, making for a better-tasting chaser for your vodka. 

Pickle brine

Pickle brine, the salty, tangy liquid leftover in the empty bottle of your favorite pickles, is another fabulous option for vodka. Pickle juice cocktail recipes are everywhere these days, and if you've ever wondered, "What's up with all these pickle drinks lately?" you may be ready to discover that the answer is found in a shot glass chasing your next round of vodka.

Although the profile of the pickleback — a shot of pickle brine following a sip of whiskey — is rising in America, the Polish have long been using pickle juice brine as a vitamin C-packed cure-all for hangovers and an energy booster. It turns out they may be on to something since The American Journal of Gastroenterology found that the vinegary liquid in pickle juice could reduce inflammation that causes muscle cramps in athletes, while the salty brine-filled pickle juice can lower your blood sugar. The best brines are high quality, staying away from the use of artificial dyes and preservatives, and are your best bet for a proper vodka chaser. The acidic, pungent flavor will accent the flavors of fine spirits and wash out the taste of poor imitators.

Tomato juice

The Bloody Mary is basically a Caesar without the clam juice, and if you've ever had one, you know exactly how well tomato juice pairs with vodka. Chasing vodka with tomato juice is like someone sneaking you a Bloody Mary cocktail after each sip, with the thickness of tomato coating and cooling your throat as the vodka works its way down. The tartness of tomato actually gives vodka some complexity, while the mouthfeel of the juice imparts a pleasantly pulpy texture against the watery body of the liquor. 

Tomatoes are loaded with vitamin C, making them an antioxidant booster capable of removing harsh stuff from your liver while also minimizing the horrible feelings of a hangover. So tomato juice will not only taste incredible chasing your vodka, but its health properties can help stave off a horrible hangover the next day and keep you from feeling the lethargic effects of drinking alcohol.  


Nobody knows vodka like Russians, and when it comes to who to take your vodka chaser cues from, we think it would be wise to defer to the Russian people. Although you may have never considered it, a chaser doesn't necessarily have to come in a liquid form in a shot glass.

Russians tend to enjoy authentic vodka with small bites and appetizers in order to fend off the dreaded next-day vodka hangover. Anything from pickles, borscht, and the perennial favorite, caviar, can be consumed after hits of vodka. (Although, the latter is more of a special occasion treat than an everyday experience.)With the platinum-priced fish eggs edging up as high as $7,401 per kilogram, that's understandable. Since vodka is the base of so many well-known martinis, it stands to reason any appetizers that pair nicely with martinis are a safe bet for vodka. Deviled eggs or a healthy platter of veggies in the form of crudités can impart flavors in your mouth that elevate vodkas after taste and mitigate the burn. 


The boilermaker, as it's known in America, is a classic combination of beer and whiskey. A shot of the latter gets dropped directly into a beer, each chasing the other. It can also just be a beef followed by a shot, depending on how many you've had. In Russia, a version of the boilermaker called Yorsh. It relies on vodka and is named after an adaptive fish known to survive in any environment you put it in.

Unlike Americans, the Russians prefer to slowly enjoy their vodka boilermaker between small helpings of the previously mentioned appetizers. Divided between two glasses, the mix tastes pretty much like beer with undertones of vodka's grainy aftertaste. This is a combination definitely more about lowering the feel of the alcohol content in a way that doesn't taste or feel like watering it down. In other words, what you get from this chaser is more alcohol in one sitting without sacrificing either the beer or vodka's flavor. 


It's clear how appetizers can also stand in as chasers for vodka, but another specific category of food pairs extraordinarily well with vodka. Caviar obviously leads the way in the vodka seafood pairing category, but that's far from the extent of it.

Grilled fish is complementary to vodka because it won't overpower the liquor but still gives you a texture and taste. In the Russian Arctic, a whitefish called stroganina is fished for nine months out of the year — even through holes cut in the ice during winter. Stroganina is reminiscent of Japanese sashimi with a fatty texture,the taste of which plays the background to the star of the show, vodka. Oysters are fantastic with vodka, usually sharing double duty as a main or a chaser for vodka, otherwise known as an oyster shooter. In a similar way to some other popular vodka pairings, the taste of seafood offers a cleansing, umami-rich finish that complements rather than overshadows vodka.

Sweet wines

There are people who believe sweet wines like port or ice wine are too cloyingly sweet to enjoy beyond an aperitif or dessert. What you need to know about ice wine is that the real high-quality stuff actually offers balanced complexity in the form of equal parts natural sugar and acidity. Port, a fortified Portuguese sweet wine named after its birthplace in Porto, very closely mirrors that sugary, acid balance.

With ice wine's low alcohol content sitting somewhere between 10% to 11% alcohol by volume (ABV) and port a little higher at around 19% to 20% ABV, both drinks offer a chaser that is low in alcohol but high in flavor. Ice wine's notes of ripe pitted fruit with citric acidity add fruitiness and zing to an unflavored vodka. Meanwhile, port adds notes of sweet spice and berries to the lingering grain of vodka. The thickness of each wine offers a salve for the astringency of alcohol that may accompany vodka's aftertaste, making your glass of vodka easier to down and better tasting. Imagine a deconstructed lounge chair afternoon or an ice wine martini, and you begin to get an idea of where this chaser can take your vodka. 

Sparkling water

Sparkling water, the main ingredient in a vodka soda, can also be separated from the drink as a chaser. It works just fine for the same reason it works as a mixer. The carbonated, low-calorie vibrancy of sparkling water reduces the burning sensation that can accompany a swig of strong vodka while offering the same benefits as plain water when it comes to hydration — offsetting a hangover with its bubbly effervescence.

Nowadays, sparkling water brands are infused with a number of interesting flavors, which creates the additional upside of chasing your vodka with flavor notes of everything from citrus to wild berries and seasonal or tropical fruits. Sparkling water brands like bubly, with options like orange cream and lemon sorbet, make it easier to get a hit of nostalgia with each shot of sparkling water chaser. So now you can enjoy an adult alcoholic beverage with a non-alcoholic chaser through flavors that remind you of your childhood — and help keep you clear-headed enough to enjoy the memories. 


Soda is the everyday mixer for the unfancy home bartender who just wants to get their alcohol down as smoothly as possible. Vodka is one of those spirits that pairs well with pretty much any decent soda you can think of. Coca-Cola, Sprite, Mountain Dew, you name it, vodka's ability to pair with any soda and hold onto its potency without overpowering the drink is well known. Of course, chasing your vodka with a pop of choice can only make the tasting experience that much better.

One thing to keep in mind if you choose to go this route with your chaser is the sugar content your pop will bring to the proceedings. Although there's no evidence to suggest that combining sugar and alcohol won't ensure a hangover, there are two ways it can raise the likelihood of that happening. Number one, the benefit of flavor enhancement can also become a drawback if you end up drinking more alcohol than you should because of it. Lastly, too much sugar can drastically affect your blood sugar levels, resulting in a sugar high followed by a crash. This adds up to a bad morning made even worse.