Vodka, lime, sugar and ice are four versatile ingredients that should be included in every well-stocked bar's selection of basic liquors and mixers.
Cocktails to Make with Vodka, Lime, Sugar and Ice
Vodka is a versatile liquor and generally a crowd pleaser. There are several cocktails you can mix up with these four ingredients, plus or minus a few.
Vodka on the Rocks
If you want a quick and easy cocktail, simply pour an ounce or two of vodka over ice. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the ice before you pour in the vodka and garnish the drink with with the lime wedge.
Another easy cocktail combines vodka and tonic water. Begin as if you're making a vodka on the rocks, but top off your drink with a splash of tonic water.
Shake the vodka with ice and strain it into a martini glass. Add a small amount of dry vermouth if you like.
Although vodka sours are typically made with lemon, you can substitute a lime for a little more tartness. Stir or shake two ounces of vodka with an ounce of lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Serve the drink over ice.
The Tom Collins is commonly made with gin, but it's just as nice when made with vodka. This cocktail is made similarly to the vodka sour. Follow that recipe, and then add a slice of orange and a maraschino cherry as a garnish. Top the drink with club soda.
To make this classic cocktail, shake one and a half ounces of vodka and and one ounce of lime juice with ice. Strain the drink and garnish it with a lime twist.
Make this pleasing pink cocktail by shaking one ounce of vodka, one ounce of triple sec and half an ounce of lime juice with ice and straining the drink into a martini glass. Garnish the drink with a lime wedge.
You've probably heard of the Latin Caipirinha, which is a rum-based cocktail. Try its cousin, the Caipirosca, which is prepared with vodka. Muddle two teaspoons of cane sugar and a lime wedge in the bottom of a glass. Fill the glass with ice, and then top it off with vodka. This refreshing summer drink is popular in Brazil.
Using Sugar in Cocktails
Granulated sugar generally doesn't mix well in cocktails, but there are two ways to use sugar to sweeten your drink. First, you can create a sugar rim. Rub the rim of your empty glass with a lime wedge and then dip it in a tray of sugar. The lime juice helps the sugar stick when you turn the glass upright. Strain or pour your drink into the glass. Each time you take a sip, you'll enjoy a burst of sweetness.
To sweeten your cocktail directly, you must dissolve the sugar ahead of time so it can blend with the vodka and other mixers. Add one part sugar to one part water in a saucepan and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and stir occasionally. You have created simple syrup. You can store this syrup for up to a month in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Keep vodka, lime, sugar and ice on hand, and you'll be prepared anytime someone stops by unexpectedly for cocktail hour.