Best Vodka Cocktails

By Gayot Editors

Recipes for Great-Tasting Vodka Cocktails

Vodka‘s crisp, clean and subtle flavor blends beautifully with lemon juice, ginger beer and even absinthe. In fact, it mixes well with almost anything. That’s probably one of the reasons vodka is, by volume, the most popular spirit in the United States. If you look elsewhere in the world, Russians drink an average of twenty liters of vodka a year.

To celebrate its top-selling status, we’ve collected the best vodka cocktail recipes in the U.S., from cities including New York, Aspen and Las Vegas. Get into the spirit and learn how to make these mixed drinks at home with GAYOT’s Best Vodka Cocktails.

> And if you love these cocktails, you’ll enjoy our list of Top Infused Vodka brands as well.

1. Black Widow Cocktail

Black Widow Cocktail Recipe

Recipe courtesy of Blavod

More of a fad than a classy drink, however, Blavod has popped up in bars and clubs in such creations as the “Black Widow,” a colorful but simple cranberry-Vodka drink, or the “Screwed Up Screwdriver,” a Halloween-colored concoction that turns an unappetizing green when stirred.

3 oz. Blavod Black Vodka
3 oz. cranberry juice

Method: Fill small glass with ice. Pour in chilled cranberry juice. Layer with Blavod. Serve unstirred.

2. Bread and Butternut

Recipe courtesy of Leo Robitschek, Bar Director, The NoMad Bar, New York City, NY

Deep, warming Sherry and butternut squash flavors are balanced by a hint of lemon juice that refreshes the palate.

2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 teaspoon Becherovka liqueur
1 ounce Absolut Elyx vodka
3/4 ounce Lustau East India Solera Cream Sherry
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce Amontillado Sherry
3/4 ounce butternut squash simple syrup (see directions below)
Lemon wheel, for garnish

Method: Place the Angostura bitters, Becherovka liqueur, fresh lemon juice, Amontillado Sherry, butternut squash syrup, Lustau East India Solera Cream Sherry and Absolut Elyx vodka in a cocktail shaker. Add three large ice cubes and shake quickly until chilled. Strain into a highball glass tightly packed with small ice cubes. Garnish with the lemon wheel, and then top the glass with more ice.

Butternut Squash Simple Syrup
1 medium butternut squash
4 1/4 cups water
4 1/4 cups raw sugar
Dash of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Deseed and quarter the squash, and then roast for 90 minutes. Remove when cool enough to handle. Place the squash and water in a large pot, and then simmer for 20 minutes. Pass the mixture through a chinois strainer without applying pressure. Add the salt. Place an amount of raw sugar that is equal in weight to the liquid mixture, approximately 4 1/4 cups, in the syrup. Transfer to a glass container.

3. Citronic Cocktail Recipe

Grey Goose is made from wheat grown in the Picardy region of France

Recipe courtesy of Grey Goose

The French consider Grey Goose the “best tasting” vodka so this recipe keeps it simple and refined.

50 ml Grey Goose
Elderflower cordial
Tonic water

Method: Pour Grey Goose over ice into a highball glass, add a dash of elderflower cordial, top with tonic water, stir well and garnish with a lemon wedge.

4. Copper Gimlet

A twist on the traditional gin gimlet, the Copper Gimlet uses vodka and absinthe

Recipe courtesy Edwin Osegueda, Lead Mixologist, Faith & Flower, Los Angeles, CA

The classic gimlet is made with gin, but this Southern California spin calls for vodka, vanilla simple syrup and absinthe.

2 ounces Absolut Elyx vodka
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce vanilla simple syrup (see directions below)
1/2 ounce Pernod absinthe
1 lime wheel, for garnish

Method: Place the Absolut Elyx vodka, fresh lime juice, vanilla simple syrup and Pernod absinthe in a cocktail shaker and add ice. Shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel, floated.

Vanilla Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Combine the sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve. The liquid will be grainy, then cloudy, and is ready when it is completely clear. Turn off the heat, add the vanilla and let sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain and store in an airtight container. It can be refrigerated for up to one month.

5. Diamond Mojito Cocktail

Diamond Standard Vodka is a pure-grain Polish export made from rye

Recipe courtesy Diamond Standard Vodka

A vodka twist on the classic rum cocktail made with Diamond Standard vodka.Ingredients:
2 oz. Diamond Standard Vodka
3 fresh mint sprigs
2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
Soda Water Method: Muddle the mint, sugar and lime juice in a Collins glass. Fill it with ice, add Diamond Standard Vodka and top it with soda. Shake or mix the drink. Garnish with a lime wedge.

6. Green River

Hailing from Austin, Texas, the Green River blends Green Chartreuse, citrus and vodka for a refreshing drink

Recipe courtesy Jason Stevens, Director of Bars and Beverage, Bar Congress, Austin, TX

Green Chartreuse liqueur casts a verdant glow and adds an herbal, floral flavor, enhancing this drink’s citrus notes.

1 1/2 ounces vodka
6 basil leaves
3 large grapefruit peels, with minimal pith
1/4 ounce simple syrup (see directions below)
1/4 ounce Green Chartreuse
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
A few grains of salt
1/4 grapefruit wheel, for garnish

Method: Place the vodka, four basil leaves, grapefruit peels, simple syrup, Green Chartreuse and fresh lime juice in a shaker. Add ice cubes and shake hard for 15-20 seconds. Double strain into an old fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with the remaining two basil leaves and a quarter wheel of grapefruit.

Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Combine the sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve. The liquid will be grainy, then cloudy, and is ready when it is completely clear.

7. Jubilation

Getting its fruit flavor from kirschwasser, the Jubilation cocktail is inspired by Cherries Jubilee

Recipe courtesy Jesse Carr, Bar Director, La Petite Grocery, New Orleans, LA

Cherries Jubilee inspired this sweet sip, which gets its stone fruit flavor from kirschwasser.

1 ounce Oryza vodka
3/4 ounce kirschwasser
1 ounce Amaro Montenegro
1 ounce lemon juice
3/4 ounce pineapple juice
Peychaud’s bitters
Lemon wheel, for garnish

Method: Place the Oryza vodka, kirschwasser, Amaro Montenegro, and lemon and pineapple juice in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Add a float of Peychaud’s bitters. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

8. Lavender Lemonade

Violet liqueur gives the Lavender Lemonade a purple hue

Recipe courtesy Woody Creek Distillers, Basalt, CO

Floral notes from violet liqueur and lavender simple syrup elevate this summery sip.

1 1/2 ounces Woody Creek potato vodka
2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 ounce lavender simple syrup (see directions below)
1 dash violet liqueur
Lemon twist, for garnish

Method: Place the Woody Creek potato vodka, freshly squeezed lemon juice and lavender simple syrup in a shaker. Add ice and shake. Strain into an ice-filled rocks or Collins glass. Add a dash of violet liqueur. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Lavender Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon food-grade dried lavender
Combine the sugar, water and dried lavender in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve. Simmer for 20 minutes, and then remove from heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Strain and store in an airtight container. It can be refrigerated for up to one month.

9. Mountain Rose

Topped with sparkling wine, the Mountain Rose cocktail is a refreshing aperitif

Recipe courtesy Alex Jump, Bar Manager, Easy Bistro & Bar, Chattanooga, TN

Sparkling wine and a low alcohol content make this floral, subtly sweet and hoppy beverage the perfect aperitif.

1 ounce Tempus Fugit Creme de Noyaux
1/2 ounce Hophead vodka
1/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1/4 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
Argyle Brut sparkling wine
Local flowers, for garnish

Method: Place the Tempus Fugit Crème de Noyaux, Hophead vodka, and fresh lime and grapefruit juice in a mixing glass. Add ice and shake until chilled. Fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with Argyle Brut sparkling wine. Garnish with local flowers.

10. Nicholas Collins

The Nicholas Collins will warm you up on a cold day with its spice-infused flavors

Recipe courtesy Jackson Cannon, Bar Director and Owner, The Hawthorne, Boston, MA

The flavors of fall comfort the senses in this spice-infused drink.

1 1/2 ounces apple-spiced vodka
1/2 ounce Schonauer Apfel liqueur (see directions below)
1/2 ounce raw sugar simple syrup (see directions below)
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
Dash of cranberry bitters
Barritt’s ginger beer
Sliced apples, for garnish
Cherry, for garnish

Method: In a shaker, combine the apple-spiced vodka, Schonauer Apfel liqueur, Demerara simple syrup, fresh lemon juice and cranberry bitters. Pour into an ice-filled Collins glass and top with Barritt’s ginger beer. Garnish with the sliced apples and cherry.

Apple-Spiced Vodka
1 cinnamon stick
1 liter Absolut vodka
8 allspice berries
3 cloves
2 Honeycrisp apples, thinly sliced
Toast the cinnamon, allspice berries and cloves in a dry sauté pan until warm. Add to 1 liter of Absolut vodka and let rest for two hours. Place the Honeycrisp apple slices in the vodka mixture. Keep covered in a cool, dry place for 48 hours, and then strain and rebottle. Refrigerate if not using within one week.

Raw Sugar Simple Syrup
1 cup raw sugar
1 cup water
Combine the raw sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve. The liquid will be grainy, then cloudy, and is ready when it is completely clear.