25 Cocktails To Try If You Like Drinking Vodka

While a 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 don't think so.

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 of 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!

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 spiked pink lemonade.

This isn't just your standard lemonade 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 again 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 for chilling in the fridge. 

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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

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.

Caipirovska

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 it into pieces, and muddle it 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 do 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.)

Frose

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, which 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 Corner'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? 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 this 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, 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 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 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. Add ice, vodka, and fill the glass with this ultra-fresh lemonade. It's pretty much summertime in a glass.

Moscow mule

Anything that's been around as long as the Moscow Mule has been is a classic, and a classic for a reason. While the tradition of serving it in a copper mug might make it seem complicated, or the sort of drink that only comes out when there's a need to bring out the special drinkware, that's not the case at all.

It's actually almost deceptively simple and calls for vodka, lime, mint, and ginger beer. The ginger beer might be the one that throws a wrench in things, but these cocktails are seriously so good that it might just be worth keeping some on hand — along with a mint simple syrup that can be used not only for this cocktail but for any to which you might want to add a bit of minty sweetness.

Since there aren't a lot of strong flavors here, that means a good, clean vodka is crucial. (The copper mugs, however, aren't — if you don't have them, don't sweat it!) Since this cocktail is served over a lot of ice, that means there's a perfect summer drink, but they can also be so much more. Once the nights start getting longer, add apple cider in lieu of some of the lime flavor, or swap out that plain vodka for a flavored one. The ginger beer already adds a splash of autumn flair, and this one is just as good on long evenings as it is on sunny afternoons.

Vodka tonic

Anyone looking to make the kind of small choices that add up to big differences in health should look to their cocktails and drinks of choice. Countless mixed drinks are laden with sugars, artificial sweeteners, and colorings, but that doesn't mean you have to give up your regular tipple in order to cut those things out. One of the simplest cocktails to make with vodka doesn't have any of that, and it's a simple vodka tonic. Just vodka, tonic, and a dash of lemon or lime — it doesn't get any easier.

While you should preferably use fresh lemon or lime, no one will judge you for using juice from the bottle. Dress this one up with a cherry or a sprig of lavender, rosemary, or lemon thyme, and you might be surprised to find how refreshing this incredibly easy drink is. There is one footnote to this, though: Since any bitterness or funk from low-end vodka isn't going to be hidden behind strong flavors, this is one cocktail you're going to want to use with a better bottle. It's not necessary to go top-shelf, but just remember that you're going to taste that vodka.

Cosmopolitan

Sitting back and sipping on a Cosmopolitan might seem like the sort of thing you'll only do if you're out at a fancy brunch place or a classy bar, but that doesn't have to be the case at all. It's actually pretty easy to make at home with just a few ingredients, and as with a number of vodka cocktails, this one's surprising in both simplicity and deliciousness.

Anyone who loves cranberry and citrus is bound to love a Cosmopolitan, and we're also going to debunk the idea that just because it's pretty, that means it's not strong. It can be! In the classic version of the Cosmopolitan, Cointreau joins the vodka for a boozy kick, and once you add the cranberry juice, oranges, and limes, this one's got a tangy kick that will sit right at the base of your throat ... but in a good way.

There is one more thing that should be mentioned, though, and that's a little pre-planning. While ordinary vodka is fine for many of the classic cocktails, this is one that you're going to want to use a citrus-flavored vodka. It'll make all the difference in the world, and let's be honest, if you're going as far as making your own cocktails, picking up the right vodka is a necessary step.

White Russian

Fans of "The Big Lebowski" will be well acquainted with the appeal of the classic White Russian, a cocktail so easy to make that it's on The Dude's go-to list — and it should be on yours, too. Why? Because this creamy, boozy drink is perfect for anyone looking for an easy-to-make dessert drink.

This, however, does take a bit of planning ahead, because in addition to the vodka, you're also going to need Kahlua and — if you want to do it right — heavy cream. While that means keeping a spot in the refrigerator (and making sure you keep an eye on the freshness of the heavy cream, because it's not an ingredient that gets used every day), there's good news: those are all the ingredients you'll need.

There are a few variations on the White Russian that are just as noteworthy. Swap the heavy cream for either cola, cold brew, or even a dash of stout and you can turn that White Russian into a Black Russian. It's a brilliant option if you don't happen to have heavy cream on hand, but here's a tip: Take that heavy cream, turn it into a delicious caramel drizzle, and use the rest for your White Russian. You could even opt to line your glass with that caramel drizzle, and since it'll last longer than the cream alone, you'll have a no-waste situation either way.

Lemon drop martini

Lemon is kind of a weird choice for a popular flavor — there aren't many people who are biting into a fresh lemon and lauding that oh-so-tart, eye-watering freshness, after all. Still, it's been a wildly popular flavor for hundreds of years, but it wasn't until the 1970s that a San Francisco bar found a new way to serve it up in the form of a lemon drop martini.

A martini might sound like it's pucker-worthy enough without throwing lemon into the mix, but don't worry — mixing up a lemon drop martini delivers not just the sour, but the mix of sour and sweet that makes lemon so popular in the first place.

The edge is taken off in large part thanks to the (optional) sugar-rimmed glass, and the not-so-optional simple syrup. While it'll take some planning ahead to make and cool the syrup, it's such a handy thing to have for a variety of cocktails that it's absolutely worth making and keeping a bottle in the fridge. Add some Cointreau and your vodka of choice, and you have a light and refreshing cocktail perfect for any day of the week.

Espresso martini

Are you looking for something a little classy? Maybe something to serve ahead of a dinner party, book club meeting, or game night? If that's the case, look no further than the espresso martini. This 1990s classic — and yes, sorry, the 1990s are now considered "classic" — combines everyone's two favorite drinks into one very drinkable cocktail.

A bottle of simple syrup is a must-have here, too, and although we recommend using legit espresso for a truly tasty espresso martini, that's not a make-or-break sort of thing. (Pro tip: You could also swap in cold brew, the iced coffee alternative that's so smooth you'll never go back to the old way.) Don't forget to run your coffee through a fine mesh strainer — really, it'll make a difference — and serve over ice, with or without milk, cream, or your favorite plant-based alternative.

As you might suspect, the espresso martini was first developed with the idea of providing a caffeinated pick-me-up along with any potential drowsiness that might come with a cocktail, and that's remained one of the biggest wow factors of this drink. It's also what makes it a perfect way to start a get-together where you don't want your guests nodding off when the discussion about the newest best-seller is just getting started, or the first hand of cards is just being dealt.

Harvey Wallbanger

For anyone who loves the fresh taste of oranges, the very 1990s-sounding Harvey Wallbanger should absolutely be in your repertoire of quick drink recipes. Made with your choice of vodka, oranges (or orange juice), lemon (or lemon juice), and Galliano, it's a wonderfully sweet drink that's both citrusy and not too sweet that it's overpowering — and that's thanks to the addition of the Galliano.

While many cocktails have ingredients that can be swapped out in favor of other things, that's not the case with this one. Galliano is a must-have, so what is it? It's essentially an Italian liqueur with a taste that's a bit hard to describe. It's vanilla, yes, but it also has licorice-like anise flavors, a bit of citrus, and herbal undertones that take the edge off what might otherwise be too sweet. Couple that herby vanilla with the lemon and the orange, and you've got a surprisingly well-rounded cocktail that's been popular for decades for very good reason.

Mudslide

Milkshakes are brilliant no matter what age you happen to be, and anyone with doubts needs to go to a burger joint with a really, really good variety of shakes on the menu and just ... not order one. Can't even think of doing that, right? Exactly! The mudslide is a milkshake that's upgraded to be a little more adult, and if you love a White Russian, you'll love a mudslide. We can almost guarantee that, because mudslides and White Russians are sort of like cousins. The base is the same, but replace the White Russian's heavy cream with an Irish cream like Bailey's, and you've got the mudslide.

It's worth pointing out that's just the basic model. There are all kinds of ways you can upgrade the mudslide while keeping the chocolatey, boozy richness. Add some ice cream for a legit milkshake (and if you're not using eggnog ice cream for this every time the holidays roll around, you're just not living), add caramel drizzle along with the chocolate, top it all off with some chocolate shavings, add a cherry and some whipped cream, and don't forget about the vodka. Swap the regular stuff out for whipped cream or vanilla vodka, add some cookie crumbles, and this drink might just be your next go-to dessert.

Sex on the Beach

There are two phases of life. In one (although, not necessarily the first), "sex on the beach" sounds like a great idea. In the second, you're smarter and you know that sand gets everywhere. Interestingly, we learned that this vodka and peach schnapps drink was originally created to be marketed to the former (but not necessarily younger) group of people.

And here's the thing — while you might not want to go into a crowded bar and order "sex on the beach," it's still an incredibly tasty cocktail. Fortunately, it's easy to make at home: vodka, peach schnapps, orange, cranberry juice, and some maraschino cherries, and you're ready to go. Should you rename it? Well, that depends on who you're serving it to, doesn't it? Inviting the in-laws over for dinner and kicking things off with this delicious cocktail, maybe tell them that it's a "snuggles on the sofa" or "cuddles on the couch."

Whatever you call it, it's pretty amazing — and, this is also one where it's easy to make some swaps. Exchange your regular vodka for a peach, cherry, or orange vodka for an extra kick of flavor, and you're not going to go wrong with vanilla or whipped cream vodka, either. There are, after all, such a wide variety of flavored vodkas out there, you might as well have a little fun — and if you can't have it on the beach, what's left?

Metropolitan

The great thing about keeping vodka on hand is that no matter what you feel like, it's there for you. It's an incredibly versatile spirit, and that's demonstrated fairly well by the Metropolitan.

The Metropolitan goes hand-in-hand with the Cosmopolitan, but there is an important difference. While most traditional Cosmos use either unflavored vodka or a citrus version, the Metropolitan calls for black currant vodka. So if you're in the mood for something sweet but not citrusy, and a little richer in flavor than the light Cosmo, reach for this particular kind of vodka, add the same lime juice, cranberry juice, and Cointreau, and whip up something completely different with very, very similar ingredients.

We're big fans. If you're planning on whipping up some Cosmos for some friends popping by after work, that's great! What's even better is that if you don't use up all your ingredients, you can opt for this very close yet completely different cocktail to use up whatever you have left over. Just don't forget the black currant vodka while you're at the store.

Madras

Need to come up with a fancy-looking, fancy-sounding, complex-looking cocktail on the spur of the moment? Look no further than the Madras, a fruity cocktail that tastes way more complicated than it is.

It's simply orange juice, vodka, and cranberry juice. That's literally it. And one of the things we love about this one is that it's easy to modify the ingredients to taste. Not a fan of the cranberry? Add more orange juice for a bit more sweetness. Not a fan of the tang of the orange, or have trouble with drinks that are just too citrusy? Lean more on the cranberry for a tart version.

We're also fans of the fact that not only are orange juice and cranberry juice staples, but you're not going to be buying these just to make a single drink. They won't sit on the shelves for long (we're looking at you, Galliano), and although it's perfectly acceptable to opt for regular vodka, this is a great cocktail for using flavored vodkas to up the flavor in whichever direction you prefer.

The Confident Man

Sweet drinks are a dime a dozen, and while vodka is definitely great for a sweet cocktail, sometimes, you just want something a little more out-of-the-box. Sommelier and restaurateur Joe Campanale has you covered with his brilliant — and brilliant pink — cocktail, The Confident Man.

This is the ideal drink for anyone who makes sure they grab a grapefruit when they go on vacation, or who gets super excited to see the first signs that the year's citrus crop is going to be filling up the bins at the produce aisle. In addition to the tartness from the grapefruit, Aperol adds a little bittersweet to the tart, and St-Germain — a flowery liqueur — takes the edge off everything and keeps it from becoming just too much. Looking for something that's not sweet, and is tart enough to make you shiver ... but not in a bad way? Look no further.

Ice Pick

Seriously, it doesn't get any easier than this, and this is a cocktail that you can absolutely invest in as your drink of the afternoon. The ice pick is simply vodka and iced tea — and that's it!

That said, the simplicity of this one makes it so, so easy to have fun with. Opt for flavored iced teas for something super sweet, or brew your own tea, chill, and add vodka. The flavor combinations are absolutely endless, and whatever you're in the mood for, there's bound to be something that will suit you.

Peach iced tea and peach vodka? Something lemon-heavy and wonderfully citrusy? Something with raspberry, strawberry, or blueberry? What about something made from herbal tea? This, too, is a great option if you happen to have some bottles sitting around collecting dust. If you picked up, say, a liqueur with plans to make a particular cocktail and never looked at it again, there just might be a vodka-and-iced tea drink that could benefit from a boost of whatever flavor that liqueur is packing. If there's anything better than following your favorite cocktail recipe and knocking it out of the park, the answer could be coming up with your own go-to signature drink — and here's your starting point.

Alb Media owns and operates Tasting Corner and Mashed.