Your Beginner’s Guide to Vodka Cocktails

If we’re being honest, we have to admit that even brands like Absolut or Smirnoff vodka don’t really resonate with too many people when they drink it neat. But it’s different when you mix it with other stuff. In fact, a lot of bartenders say that because of its “clean” taste it makes for the most perfect mixer of them all.

So if you’re going to a bar and you want to try out vodka, here are some of the vodka cocktails you may want to consider.

Vodka Martini

It’s probably the most iconic vodka cocktail of them all. That’s because of James Bond and his insistence on “shaken, not stirred”. When you order it, you may want to refrain from saying that for the sake of your bartender, who may have heard that phrase more frequently than the number of times parents have heard the Frozen Disney movie theme song.

Whether you shake it or stir it, it’s basically a mix of vodka and dry vermouth, and it’s one of the most wonderful pairings of all time.

Bloody Mary

You’re only supposed to drink when the sun has set, but you have to make an exception for the Bloody Mary. There are many recipes, but basically you combine your vodka with tomato juice in a highball glass. Often there’s also lemon juice along with Worcestershire sauce and other hot sauces.

Many tend to think it’s for Sunday brunch, while others figure that it’s the best “hair of the dog” answer to a hangover.

Vodka Tonic

The utter simplicity of this combo belies its terrific taste. The thing about tonic water is that it isn’t sweet at all, so some drink this with meals because of how it cleanses the palate. Others like how the tonic water can accentuate the taste of special flavored vodka. If you have just plain vodka, you can also just add some lime juice to the mix.

It’s this combo that has launched so many different vodka mixes. Many over the years have wondered about replacing the tonic water with something else, which is why we have combos like Vodka Seven (with 7-Up) and Vodka Soda (with club soda).


Vodka is so versatile that you can probably mix it with any kind of fruit juice. Yet despite the many ways you can experiment with these mixes, it’s the combination of vodka and orange juice that’s still king over all the other fruity vodka drinks. To make an excellent Screwdriver, you just have to make sure that you use freshly squeezed orange juice. If possible, you don’t use those prepackaged orange juices in supermarkets.

Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one fruit juice. Why not 2? You can always add mango juice, grapefruit, or cranberry to suit your preference. You can even use flavored vodka. It’s all up to you, or you can ask the bartender for a recommendation.


It’s famous nowadays among adults who grew up watching Sex and the City on HBO. It’s mostly ordered by ladies, but if you’re a guy and you’re secure in your masculinity, you may want to try one. It’s just to find out what the fuss is all about, you know?

Various bartenders have different ways of making this, but basically it has lime juice and cranberry juice. For those with a sweet tooth, more cranberry juice is nicer but others just prefer a dash for the color.

Black Russian

This is just a fancy way of ordering vodka with coffee liqueur and lots of ice in the glass. Usually you use Kahlua, but you may want to try other brands. This is also a drink that doesn’t require premium-quality vodka. A cheaper bottle will do just fine.

There’s also a White Russian version, and that combines 2 parts vodka and 1 part Kahlua with full fat milk. Mix it and you’ll be amazed at how the sweet taste will blindside you.

Moscow Mule

Some say that it was made to introduce vodka to the American public back in the 1940s. Others contend that it was a combo to promote ginger beer.

Either way, it doesn’t use ginger ale. It mixes in ginger beer instead, and no, they’re not the same thing. Ginger beer is spicier, and if you see your bartender using ginger ale you need to go to a better bar. You mix 2 parts vodka to one part lime juice with ice, and then you top off the glass with ginger beer.

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