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21 Essential Vodka Cocktails to Know

I’ve mixed countless vodka cocktails and can confidently say they’re a hit for any occasion. Vodka’s neutrality makes it perfect for crafting drinks that suit any taste, blending seamlessly with flavors ranging from light and fruity to deep and savory. I particularly enjoy how it allows the other ingredients to shine, making each sip a discovery of the cocktail’s unique profile. If you’re looking to explore the versatility of vodka in cocktails, this roundup is a must-try. It showcases the spirit’s adaptability, offering something for everyone’s palate.

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Moscow Mule

moscow mule

One of the all-time classic vodka cocktails, the Moscow Mule originated in 1941 as a collaboration between the owner of Smirnoff, a Russian bartender, and a Hollywood bar and ginger beer brand owner. The Moscow Mule is an easy recipe that blends spicy ginger beer, vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup for a refreshing sweet, tangy, and spicy balance. Break out the copper cups if you’ve got them! This is one of my favorite vodka cocktails to enjoy all year round.

Vodka Soda

vodka with club soda in a glass with a lime garnish

The vodka soda is a classic but simple vodka cocktail. This two-ingredient vodka drink combines vodka and soda water for a low sugar, low calorie drink. Add a lime wedge or lemon for a touch of citrus, and enjoy this refreshingly simple cocktail! The vodka soda is an easy go-to order at the bar, and it’s easy to make at home. If you prefer your vodka cocktails a little sweeter, add a splash of pineapple juice or your juice or sweetener of choice!

Vodka Gimlet

Vokda Gimlet Cocktail in a Coupe Glass

Although the classic Gimlet is a gin cocktail, this Vodka Gimlet recipe has a more alcohol-forward taste than the botanical taste you’d expect in the original recipe. The vodka Gimlet is a classic cocktail that’s easy to make, consisting of lime juice, simple syrup, and vodka. The most important step in making the vodka gimlet is to use chilled vodka. I love this vodka cocktail in the summer for its tart and refreshing taste, but you can enjoy it anytime.

Vodka Tonic Cocktail

Vodka Tonic

Another classic gin cocktail doppelganger, Vodka Tonic is an easy blend of vodka and tonic water. Tonic used to be a medicinal beverage to cure malaria, but now it’s a popular cocktail mixer that offers a refreshing depth of sweet and bitter flavors. This vodka cocktail recipe makes one cocktail with a squeeze of lime for a tangy citrus palate and a lime wedge garnish.

Vodka Collins

vodka collins

There’s no shortage of gin-replacement cocktails. This vodka twist on the gin cocktail Tom Collins is a simple four-ingredient recipe made by pouring vodka, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup into a highball glass and topping it with soda water. The Vodka Collins is a refreshing bubbly lemonade perfect for a hot summer day.


Cosmopolitan cocktail

A classy, feminine cocktail popularized by the hit HBO series “Sex and the City,” Cosmopolitan originated in the 1980s. It’s a bright pink cocktail served in an elegant martini glass, blending vodka, orange liqueur, cranberry juice, and fresh lime juice. This deliciously sweet, tart, and citrusy cocktail is a refined palate of fall flavors.

Vodka Sour

vodka sour

Tart lovers will rejoice with this Vodka Sour cocktail, consisting of lemon juice, simple syrup, and Angostura bitters. You can add lime juice for an extra sour kick, and the angostura bitters give this cocktail a wonderful finish that complements the sour and sweet ingredients. The best part of any sour cocktail is stirring in an egg white to create its characteristic frothy topping. If vodka is your spirit of choice, you’ll love this classic sour cocktail.

Vodka Martini

two martinis

The epitome of quality and class, the classic Vodka Martini is a highly alcoholic cocktail consisting of vodka and vermouth shaken thoroughly in a cocktail shaker. The result is one of the smoothest, silkiest drinks you’ll ever taste, and an iconic and classic vodka cocktail. The quality of the ingredients is integral to the smoothness and tastiness of a vodka martini. I like mine dirty, with a splash of olive juice.

Dirty Shirley

dirty shirley

An alcoholic twist on the beloved Shirley Temple, the Dirty Shirley spikes the classic sprite, lime juice, and grenadine trio with a hearty pour of vodka. This is an easy cocktail to make, starting by blending the grenadine, vodka, and lime juice at the bottom of the glass, then topping it with lemon-lime soda. This is one of the easiest vodka mixed drinks to make, and it’s usually a hit because of its nostalgic flavor!

Vodka Mojito

vodka mojito

Mojitos may be the ultimate rum cocktail, but this recipe adds vodka instead. For amateur bartenders that want to feel like pros, muddling mint, simple syrup, and lime is an easy way to do it! This recipe for vodka mojito is as classic as they come, offering a delicious flavor palate of herbs, sweetness, and tart citrus with a carbonated finish.

Lemon Drop

lemon drop martini

The preparation method is the only thing shared between the classic martini and the Lemon drop martini. The Lemon Drop Martini is a smooth, sweet, and silky cocktail that shakes lemon juice, simple syrup, Cointreau, and vodka in a cocktail shaker until it’s blended and ice cold. It’s the perfect happy hour cocktail, served in a chilled martini glass.


Kamikaze cocktail

Originating in Japan on a US naval base during WWII, the Kamikaze started as a sweet-and-sour vodka shooter. Today, mixologists and bartenders have turned it into a refined cocktail, not unlike the Lemon Drop Martini. Comprised of vodka, orange liqueur, lime juice, and simple syrup, the Kamikaze is another one-shaker recipe with great flavor depth.

Bloody Mary

Classic Bloody Mary Recipe

The most beloved boozy brunch cocktail of all, the Bloody Mary is a prime example of vodka’s versatility in sweet, spicy, and savory cocktails. This classic brunch cocktail is comprised of numerous ingredients, including vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire, and Tabasco sauce (or your hot sauce of choice). The Bloody Mary is an elaborate drink that’s well worth the effort and preparation.

Madras Cocktail

madras cocktail

Another great option for a fall-inspired brunch, the Madras cocktail is an easy blend of vodka, orange, and cranberry juice. It’s a less alcoholic yet heartier version of the cosmopolitan, and an elevated take on the vodka cranberry. No shakers or fancy equipment are necessary to make this tasty, sweet, tart cocktail. All you need to do is throw the ingredients in a glass or pitcher and stir.

White Russian

Bartender finishing a White Russian cocktail

Undoubtedly the most decadent and rich vodka cocktail, the White Russian is a sumptuous blend of cream, Kahlua coffee liqueur, and vodka. The sweet coffee liqueur with cream makes the White Russian a perfect nightcap that will easily double for dessert. This is a single-serving recipe that is both easy and fun to make. There’s nothing more mesmerizing than watching the cream expand like a cloud as you pour it into the vodka and Kahlua mixture.


two appletini cocktails on a black background

This extravagant cocktail is for amateur bartenders looking for a challenge. It’s full of obscure ingredients and numerous steps, but the result is worth the effort. The apple flavor comes from a delicious, neon-green apple brandy plus a splash of organic apple juice. Lemon juice brings out the apple flavor even more, not to mention green apple slice garnishes to continue the apple theme.


vodka OJ screwdriver cocktail

There’s no easier vodka cocktail to make than the classic Screwdriver. It doesn’t even specify exact measurements, letting the drinker decide strongly they’d like their spiked orange juice to taste. It’s one of the easiest vodka mixed drinks to make in a pinch. The Screwdriver starts with a shot of vodka, over which you pour your favorite brand of orange juice. It’s a breakfast of champions!

Sea Breeze

sea breeze

This simple three-ingredient cocktail is as fresh and light as its name. The Seabreeze cocktail combines vodka, cranberry juice, and grapefruit juice in a glass for a sweet, sour, and bitter trifecta. This spiked cranberry juice and grapefruit juice cocktail is sophisticated, easy, and a great alternative to a screwdriver for summertime brunches.

Espresso Martini

espresso martini cocktail

This rich and classic cocktail will get you inebriated and energized at the same time! The espresso martini is a famous cocktail that’s on any high-end cocktail menu, blending a shot of espresso with vodka, Kahlua coffee liqueur, and vanilla. The intensity of the coffee flavor gets a nice complement from vanilla. Despite its numerous ingredients, this is a one-shaker recipe. You may want to warm up before endeavoring the long 30-second shake time!

Godmother Cocktail

godmother cocktail

A novel take on the classic Godfather cocktail, the Godmother is an easy two-ingredient combination of amaretto and vodka. Amaretto is a delicious almond-flavored liqueur that offers a trifecta of sweet, nutty, and bitter flavors. This is an easy recipe to scale up as the ratio is a simple two-to-one vodka to amaretto ratio.

Sex on the Beach

sex on the beach cocktail with ingredients

A sensual and sinfully sweet vodka cocktail, Sex on the Beach throws various summery liqueurs in with vodka for a highly alcoholic drink that’s perfect for pool and beach parties. Peach schnapps and creme de cassis are super sweet peach and blackberry flavor agents that get a tangy balance from the orange juice and cranberry juice layered on for a sunset color profile.

An image of a vodka cocktail, contemporary and sleek, served in a tall, elegant glass. The cocktail is crystal clear, reflecting the purity of the vodka, with a few ice cubes and a twist of lemon for a subtle flavor. The glass is garnished with a thin slice of lemon on the rim. The background features a modern, high-end bar with a minimalist design, clean lines, and vibrant lighting that highlights the cocktail's clarity. The bar counter is neat, with a display of premium vodka bottles and sophisticated barware, emphasizing the drink's premium quality.

21 Vodka Cocktail Recipes

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
4.7 from 3 votes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: vodka cocktails
Servings: 1
Author: Paul Kushner
Check out these amazing recipes that will elevate your vodka experience to the next level.


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Paul Kushner

Written by Paul Kushner

Founder and CEO of MyBartender. Graduated from Penn State University. He always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. His restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time he turned 17 he was serving tables, and by 19 he was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, Paul opened his first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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