12 Cocktails To Try If You Like Drinking Vodka

While yes, a truly remarkable vodka will be so smooth you can drink it straight, we're here to debunk that whole "flavorless" thing. What's the point of vodka, then? Just to be a vehicle for intoxication?

We say, "Nay!" And so does Absolut Elyx CEO Jonas Tahlin (via Men's Journal).

Those who are super serious about their vodka know there's more to it, and it starts with being not just smooth, but almost silky. Real vodka has a creamy texture that adds a whole different element to a cocktail, and what about flavor? It should have that, too — but not in the same way rum or whiskey has flavor.

It makes more sense to describe vodka as having character instead of flavor. What comes through should be just a hint of something: a bit of grass, perhaps, or a whisper or wheat. Don't believe it? Do your own taste test, putting a high-end vodka near something with a bottle that's less than $10. The difference is as clear as that more expensive bottle.

Those who know vodka already know that, so let's talk about cocktails. If you really love vodka, you don't want to bury it beneath a ton of strong ingredients. When you do that, the only way you know you're drinking vodka is when the buzz starts — try any of these light, delicious drinks and you'll not only love the drink, but you'll love the vodka, too!

Chocolate peppermint martini

A really nice vodka shouldn't just be like drinking alcoholic water, there's mouthfeel to consider, too. Choose a silky, almost creamy vodka and you're going to want to use that in a cocktail that makes the most of it — and what better way to highlight a creamy vodka than in a chocolate peppermint martini?

Recipe developer Jaime Bachtell-Shelbert came up with a brilliant, decadent vodka-based cocktail for Mashed, and while it's great for the holiday season, it's perfect any time you're looking for a drink that can do double duty as a dessert. A winter, holiday-themed party in July? Sure! 

The recipe is almost deceptively easy, calling for just 4 ounces of vanilla vodka, 1 ounce of peppermint schnapps, 4 ounces of creme de cacao, 3 ounces of half and half, and a tablespoon of chocolate syrup. Combine in a cocktail shaker with some ice, and then garnish. Whether that means adding crushed candy cane, chocolate shavings, a drizzle of syrup, or some whipped cream, there's no way to go wrong with this wonderfully creamy dessert drink.

Spiked pink lemonade

Is there anything better than a tall glass of lemonade on a hot summer afternoon? It turns out that yes, there is — and it's Tasting Table's own spiked pink lemonade.

This isn't just your standard lemonade, maybe thrown together from a powdered mix. While that's fine sometimes, think of this as a sort of grown-up lemonade that starts with sugar, raspberries, mint, lemon zest, and just a pinch of salt simmered until everything comes together nicely.

Then, it'll get juiced up with some freshly-squeezed lemon juice, chilled with some ice, and juiced up in another way with some vodka! This cocktail is light and refreshing enough that it's going to let the smooth, creaminess of the vodka carry those incredible summertime flavors, and while you can definitely take some shortcuts, we don't recommend it. 

We do, however, recommend using this idea as a base for any other berries you might have on hand. Blackberry-lemonade vodka? Strawberry-lemonade? Heck yes! It's so good, you might want to make an extra-big batch just to keep chilling in the fridge. 

Vodka Gimlet

A gimlet is one of those incredibly easy yet sorely underestimated cocktails that prove that something doesn't have to be complicated to be really, really tasty. MasterClass says that it's been around for a long time, and legend has it that it was Sir Thomas Gimlette, the 19th century Surgeon Admiral of the Royal Navy, who first came up with the idea to combine gin and limes to help prevent sailors from getting scurvy.

Is that true? It's sort of up for debate, but we do know that gimlets were widely popular into the 1930s. Even though the cocktail might be most commonly made with gin, it's not unusual to use vodka in lieu of the more botanical liquor — especially given that gin can be a somewhat polarizing, love-or-hate thing.

In fact, for vodka lovers, it's a must. Given that a gimlet is traditionally made with just the liquor of choice and lime juice (although a dash of simple syrup can be added for extra sweetness), that means the choice of vodka is a big deal. This is a cocktail that's going to let the fine, delicate flavors of the vodka shine through, so keep some lime juice in the fridge, and enjoy this super-easy cocktail whenever you want to feel fancy ... with minimal effort.

Tito's Witching Hour

Cold brew coffee might sound like it's just the sort of thing you'd order at a fancy-schmancy coffee house, but honestly, it's pretty easy to make at home. Basically, you're just going to steep some coffee overnight instead of running it through your usual Chemex or drip machine, and it'll result in a coffee that's super smooth, shares The New York Times.

While it takes a little bit of advance planning, it's absolutely worth it. We're not just saying that because cold brew will put iced coffee made with a drip machine to shame, but a smooth cold brew coffee is precisely what you'll need to make the cocktail that Tito's calls the Witching Hour.

They say it's perfect for a monster movie marathon, but we'd argue that it's pretty tasty any time — particularly as a pre-dinner beverage, at a lengthy brunch, or a post-work, early evening pick-me-up. It's easy, too: Just 3 ounces of cold brew, a touch less than half that of vodka, and a dash of cinnamon syrup and you'll have a packed-with-flavor drink that comes with a smooth creaminess and a caffeinated hit.

The Conductor

It's safe to say that many people could use some more veggies in their diet ... or, know someone in the family who could. Even if the idea of a Bloody Mary leaves you with spine-tingling chills — and not the good kind — we've found a vegetable-based vodka cocktail that's guaranteed to please. What's different about this one? Our Conductor Cocktail — adapted from New York City's Society Cafe — doesn't have the same texture that some might find questionable in a Bloody Mary.

Instead, this drink relies on the sweetness of a beet-infused vodka, purple carrot juice, and pineapple juice to make a vodka cocktail that's as tasty as it is pretty. Good news, too: The sweetness of those ingredients is enough to skip the simple syrup, and honestly, any time we can make a cocktail without any added sugar, that's one for the win column.

While you can add plenty of decorative garnishes like cucumber slices and basil seeds, the simpler version of this is brilliant, too. And another bonus? It doesn't feel like you're just drinking vegetables.

Pumpkin pie martini

While pumpkin spice is definitely one of those love-or-hate flavors, there's no denying that people who love it tend to really, really love it. Sure, it's great in coffee, but what about those days when you wrap up work and need something with a little more kick than a coffee can provide?

Wholly Nourished's recipe developer Jaime Bachtell-Shelbert teamed up with Mashed to come up with an incredible pumpkin pie martini that's easy enough to make for yourself after a long day at work, and looks classy enough to serve at the next book club meeting or poker game. The basics of the drink are pretty simple: 4 ounces each of vanilla vodka, hazelnut liqueur, and half and half, with a dash of pumpkin pie spice. Add more spice and sugar to the rim of the glass — with the help of some maple syrup — and you have a decadent dessert drink that's everything you love about a pumpkin pie beverage, with the warm buzz of your favorite vanilla vodka.


The fewer ingredients there are in a cocktail, the more focus there will be on the liquor — and when you really want to taste what's coming out of that nice bottle you decided to treat yourself to, you're going to want a cocktail that's more on the minimalist side of things. Really good vodka isn't exactly cheap, and the Spirit of Wales Distillery has what might be the perfect vodka cocktail to really showcase the vodka itself.

It's called the Caipirovska, (based, presumably, on Brazil's caipirinha) and it's about as easy as a cocktail gets. Simply take one lime, cut into pieces, and muddle together with a few teaspoons of brown sugar. Add a handful of ice, top with your vodka of choice, then stir and enjoy!

Seriously, that's it! Not only does the few ingredients allow the quality of the vodka to really come through, but the combination of the lime and the brown sugar is just enough to accent the flavor without overpowering it. (It's also easy, and we do like easy cocktails!)


Anyone who loves vodka knows that it's best served cold. And what's better than over ice? Turning the whole thing into a slushie. (We'll say this upfront: You're welcome.)

Recipe developer Kit Hondrum teamed up with Mashed to create something truly incredible: frose. Yes, it's a play on rose, but it's also so much more.

This boozy cocktail starts with 10 ounces of rose and 2 ounces of Chambord, that should be frozen either overnight or for a few hours — whatever you happen to have time for. Transfer the frozen mix to the blender, then a dash of lemon juice, and half a cup of frozen berries. (Hondrum suggests a half-and-half mix of strawberries and raspberries.) While you could stop there, we're talking about vodka — and Hondrum says that it's perfectly perfect to give this one an added kick with a few shots of vodka. (Exactly how much? This isn't a precise science, and hey, we're not here to judge.)

Delicious? Yes! Classy? Absolutely.

Earl Greyhound Fizz

There's a lot to love about vodka, and one of those things is how easily it can be infused with other flavors. (Seriously, if you don't have a few bottles of vodka with all kinds of ingredients steeping away, you're making a big mixology mistake.) There's definitely no shortage of options out there when it comes to infusing vodka, but for Tasting Table's own Earl Greyhound Fizz cocktail, we're going to be talking about something that's traditionally steeped in boring old water.

That, of course, is tea, and this cocktail starts with steeping Earl Grey tea bags in vodka. (It's so good that you should just go ahead and do the whole bottle — you'll appreciate it later.) While that's infusing overnight and working its magic, that's the perfect time to make another of the cocktail ingredients, honey simple syrup. Just heat, melt, and mix honey and water together, then bottle it and put it in the fridge.

For the final cocktail, it's more straightforward: In addition to the vodka and the syrup, add grapefruit juice and ice to a cocktail shaker, shake thoroughly, strain, and pour.

Sea Breeze

There's a good chance that vodka-lovers may have heard someone order a Sea Breeze before, and while it looks like a vodka cranberry, it's not entirely just a fancy name for ordering this admittedly basic drink. (And just to be clear, there's nothing wrong with a simple vodka cranberry. It's a classic for a reason.) But with the addition of one ingredient, this simple drink gets elevated just a little bit — while still being simple enough that a truly high-quality vodka will shine through.

So, what's the ingredient? According to the BBC, it's grapefruit juice! Add about half as much grapefruit juice as you use cranberry juice, and you'll end up with a tart cocktail that tastes much more complicated than it is — especially if you choose a nice bottle of vodka off the shelf. Serve over ice, and add a wedge of grapefruit for an extra kick. This is 100% the drink you'll want to sip while enjoying a hot, sunny afternoon on the porch ... or, when you find yourself wishing that you were. 

Old Lace

Don't let the name "Old Lace" scare you — this might contain some olde-timey ingredients, but the classics are classics for a reason.

The basics of Tasting Table's own cocktail are pretty straightforward, starting with an ounce and a half of vodka, an ounce of apple juice, and ¾ of an ounce each of lemon juice and simple syrup.

What gives this cocktail a distinctive kick that absolutely sets it apart from other cocktails is the addition of two other ingredients. First is Galliano Autentico, which is an Italian liqueur that has flavors of vanilla, lavender, juniper berries, cardamom, and cinnamon ... among others. It adds a distinct botanical flavor, so just a dash will do. You don't want to overpower the vodka, after all, and this is an ingredient that has the potential to do just that. 

Then, another ingredient that only requires a dash: Peychaud's Bitters. While it's perhaps more associated with drinks like the Old Fashioned, it works brilliantly with this vodka cocktail, because who says vodka drinks can't be old-school classy?

Spiked watermelon lemonade

While cocktails are a brilliant and often necessary part of life, there's also something to be said for a versatile mixer that can be enjoyed alone — which is why we're absolutely in love with Tasting Table's own watermelon lemonade.

It uses both fresh watermelon and lemon, and to anyone who might be tempted to fall back on the powdered stuff, we'll say that it's worth giving this a try and investing the extra time at least once — because it'll make such a difference you may never go back. After boiling sugar, lemon zest, and mint in water and reducing it to a syrup, the recipe then combines that syrup with fresh watermelon, all mixed into a puree.

While it can and should be enjoyed just like that, we'd also argue that this is pretty perfect for serving with vodka, too. Ice, vodka, and fill the glass with this ultra-fresh lemonade? It's pretty much summertime in a glass!