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Article Highlight: Strawberry Daiquiri Made With Vodka: Easy Recipes for a Breezy Time

Daiquiris rely on rum and lime juice for their signature flavor, but sometimes even the classics need a make-over. By adding juicy and refreshing strawberry and utilizing vodka instead of rum, you have a delicious… Keep reading »

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Martini cocktail with olives

Vodka is one of, if not, the most well-known and frequently consumed spirit.

Vodka's History

A clear, distilled spirit, the roots of vodka can be traced back to several origins. Most attribute Russia as the birthplace, but Poland and Sweden each produced their own vodka as well. The process hasn't changed much over the years, whether the vodka is produced from grains or potatoes. However, some brands have started to use other bases such as fruit or herbs.

Vodka and Cocktails

In several countries across the world, including Belarus, Finland, Russia, and Ukraine, vodka is often consumed neat or on the rocks, rather than mixed in a cocktail. However, vodka drinks and cocktails are some of the most popular, no matter where you are in the world. Consider the vodka martini, Bloody Mary, White Russian, or screwdriver.

Vodka's Palette

The beauty of vodka is its ability to mix with nearly any and all ingredients. Since classic vodka is colorless and odorless, it's the ideal spirit to mix in any cocktail when you don't want the alcohol to affect the flavor or scent of the beverage. You can blend vodka with many liqueurs, juices, and other mixers without altering their original flavors, losing flavor, or even changing their colors if you're trying to maintain a certain hue. Vodka is ideal for the cocktail enthusiast who likes to experiment and create new cocktail recipes.

Classic Vodka and Cocktails

Vodka's easy-sipping abilities mean it can still be the star in spirit-forward cocktails, such as the vodka martini, or in a simple vodka soda. With spirit-forward cocktails, there's no place for the liquor to hide, and if it is overpowering to the cocktail, then the flavor or color, or both, won't be quite right. If you're opting for a martini, try to choose a higher quality vodka. Good vodka should be smooth and nearly unremarkable in taste aside from the smoothness.

A few classic vodka cocktails to keep in mind as you start include the martini, a Gibson, vodka gimlet, Moscow Mule, kamikaze, or even jello shots.

The World of Flavored Vodka

The modern world of flavored vodka affords both shortcuts and a boost of flavor to cocktails. Today there are dozens of vodka flavors, some expected and others unusual, but no matter the flavor, there's always something new to play with or shake-up. Common flavors include citron, orange, apple, raspberry, vanilla, and coffee. More unique flavors to consider would be bacon, peppar, pink lemonade, and rose.

While they can seem strange or difficult to use correctly, consider the vodka flavors you already have or know in your cocktail or in unique martinis. A cosmopolitan or lemon drop martini benefits from a citron vodka, while espresso or even chocolate martinis can benefit from coffee vodka, the classic appletini relies on green apple vodka for an extra kick. Currant vodka creates a stunning and memorable martini as well.

For savory cocktails, think of the Bloody Mary if you wanted to use bacon or peppar vodka. You could even use the peppar vodka for a hot and dirty martini. For an unusual twist, a rose vodka martini would make for an elegant cocktail.

Infused Vodka

The neutral palette of vodka allows for infinite play with infusions or to create custom flavors. If you wanted to punch up your Bloody Mary, a great option would be to infuse vodka with ingredients such as cucumbers, tomatoes, lemon, and dill, as well as garlic, onion, and celery. Slice up cleaned, fresh vegetables and combine with a bottle of vodka in jars or a large pitcher, allow to infuse for at least three days in the refrigerator. Other flavor combinations to consider are basil with berries, fresh herbs, and ginger.

As a rule of thumb, always use fresh ingredients that are thoroughly cleaned.

Putting It All Together

With a wide world of mixers available to vodka, you can go sweet, with fruit and juices such as pineapple or peaches and ice cream or milk, or savory with tomato juice and olive brine. You can go fizzy with soda or sparkling wine, or warm with a hot toddy or coffee.

A Nod to Vodka's Simplicity

Vodka can seem like a boring spirit, but its neutral, crisp flavor is an absolute gift for vodka drinks. It's easily malleable to create a world of flavors without losing any essence of the cocktail. Play around without fear, but start with more inexpensive ingredients such as Absolut or Titos, before moving on to bigger players. Most of all, enjoy the process.

Vodka Drinks: Revolutionizing Recipes