It means “the water of life,” and for many bartenders and mixologists it is indeed the lifeblood of their business. Vodka is the go-to spirit for bartenders looking to create an accessible libation or leverage its base ingredient as a jumping off point for a complex concoction. Infuse it with anything from fruits to hot peppers, serve it chilled with a dash of vermouth, shake it with a fresh citrus juice and some simple syrup — vodka delivers in both classic and contemporary cocktails. This versatile, pure spirit keeps bars seeking profits afloat and customers looking for comfortable yet innovative drinks content. Here are some recipes to spark new life into your vodka cocktail offerings.
Created by Michael Waterhouse, proprietor of Dylan Prime & Drink Tank in New York City.
2 ounces Bak’s Bison Grass Vodka
4 basil leaves
2 lemon wedges
Muddle fruit and basil together and add Bak’s Bison Grass Vodka. Shake and serve over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a basil leaf.
The Social Tea
Developed by Peter Kane, managing partner at The Stanton Social in New York City.
1 ½ ounces Ketel One Citroen
1 ounce concentrated gunpowder green tea
1 heaping tsp. marmalade
¾ ounce fresh lemon
¼ ounce lemon simple syrup
Serve in a snifter with ice. Garnish with a lemon peel.
Haru Cherry Blossom
On the menu at Haru Restaurant in New York City.
2 ounces Svedka Cherry
1 ½ ounces nigori sake
½ ounce cranberry juice
½ ounce peach puree
Pour over ice, vigorously shake, strain, and serve straight up in a Martini glass. Garnish with a cherry and a small flower.
“Sex and the City 2” SKYY Glamour Gal
Courtesy of SKYY Vodka.
2 ounces SKYY Vodka
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
½ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce simple syrup or 1 tsp. sugar
Drop of crème de cassis*
Rim a Martini glass with crème de cassis and sugar**. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a Martini glass. Finish the cocktail with a drop of crème de cassis on top.
*Crème de cassis can be replaced with Chambord.
**To rim the Martini glass, first dip rim of glass in a shallow dish filled with crème de cassis and immediately place rim in another shallow dish with sugar, rotating the glass to ensure the whole rim is covered with sugar.
Available at the Woodward in the Ames Hotel in Boston.
1 ½ ounces ABSOLUT Boston
¾ ounce lime juice
¾ ounce simple syrup
Fentimans Ginger Beer
Muddle ginger and mint leaves, and top with Fentimans Ginger Beer.
Chopin Red Wine
Courtesy of Chopin Vodka.
2 ounces Chopin Vodka
½ ounce dark cherry juice
1/3 ounce Noilly Prat Red Vermouth (optional)
Muddle berries together in a mixing glass, add Chopin Vodka, dark cherry juice and optional vermouth. Dry shake ingredients and double strain into a Boston can. Add ice, stir briefly and strain into stemless wine glass.