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19 Classic Vodka Cocktails You Should Know

Try these essential vodka mixed drinks to find your new go-to cocktail.

Vodka is one of the best spirits to make into cocktails. Many people overlook this spirit because of its lack of flavor and smell. But its neutrality is what makes it great.

Pink cocktail with ice and mint

Its lack of flavor makes it the perfect alcohol for cocktails. For centuries, bartenders have been making vodka cocktails, so there are literally thousands of vodka cocktails.

I’ve tried as many classic vodka cocktails as I could to create this list of the 19 best vodka cocktails.

Best Vodka Cocktails 

Whether you are a vodka enthusiast or just starting your vodka journey, these 19 vodka cocktails will bring a smile to your face.

Sea Breeze

The Sea Breeze became popular in the 1980s. This refreshing and light cocktail is perfect for drinking by the pool or on the beach on a sunny day.

This cocktail contains cranberry and grapefruit juice mixed with vodka. It is the cousin of the Cape Coddler (vodka and cranberry) and the Bay Breeze (vodka, cranberry, and pineapple).

Despite becoming popular in the 80s, I discovered that this delightful cocktail was invented much earlier.

You can read about it in the Savoy Cocktail Book published in 1930! The original cocktail calls for gin, apricot brandy, and lemon and is served over ice with a mint garnish.

The modern Sea Breeze has grown tremendously from its origins, but it is still one of the best vodka cocktails.

I appreciate how this cocktail quenches my thirst on the hottest beach days. I always feel refreshed after drinking one.


Classic Moscow Mule

The Moscow Mule is a popular vodka cocktail. This drink was created in 1941 by John G. Martin of Heublein and John A. Morgan of Smirnoff.

The two were looking for a way to market Smirnoff vodka in the United States and came up with the Moscow Mule, a mix of vodka, ginger beer, and lime.

This cocktail became one of the best vodka cocktails in the 1950s. It is a refreshing and flavorful drink that is perfect for any occasion.

You serve a Moscow Mule in a copper mug, which helps to keep the drink cold. The copper mug is striking and some of what made the Moscow Mule iconic. This is one of my favorite cocktails.

If you are looking for a classic vodka cocktail, the Moscow Mule is a great choice. You can make one easily and it always tastes great. You’ll appear classy without necessarily needing to know how the difference between shaken and stirred.

Check out our picks for the right vodka to use in a Moscow Mule.


Vodka Tonic

The vodka tonic is one of the most basic and classic vodka cocktails. It is simply vodka and tonic water mixed together.

You can add lime if you like, but it is not necessary. This cocktail is refreshing and great for most occasions. 

I like to make my vodka tonics with good quality vodka. I think it makes a difference in the flavor. I also like to use fresh lime juice if I have it. This adds a touch of sweetness and acidity to the drink.

If you are looking for a simple but delicious cocktail, the vodka tonic is a great choice. It’s also a great choice for those looking to keep their calories low during a night out (or a night in).


Vodka Cranberry

The vodka cranberry is one of the best vodka cocktails. It is a mix of vodka and cranberry juice. You can add a splash of lime if you like, but it is unnecessary. 

I like to make my vodka cranberries with good quality vodka. I think it makes a difference in the flavor.

I also like to use fresh cranberry juice if I can find it. This adds a little bit of sweetness to the drink.

If you are looking for a refreshing and flavorful cocktail, a vodka cranberry is excellent. 


Cosmopolitan

The cosmopolitan is one of the most popular vodka cocktails. You can call one a cosmo for short.

This drink was created in the 1970s and became popular in the 1990s. This cocktail is a mix of vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice, and Cointreau. It is served in a martini glass.

The cosmopolitan is a delicious and refreshing cocktail. It is perfect for any occasion. I enjoy the tartness of the cranberry juice and the sweetness of the Cointreau.

This cocktail is always a crowd-pleaser.

If you are looking for a classic vodka cocktail, the cosmopolitan is a great choice.


Bloody Mary

The bloody mary is the classic brunch cocktail.

It is a mix of vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, horseradish, and lemon. You can garnish a bloody mary with all sorts of things like celery, olives, pickles, or bacon.

I like bloody marys because they are so flavorful. The tomato juice is slightly acidic, and the Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce add depth to the flavor.

I also love the horseradish because it gives the cocktail a little bit of a kick.

If you are looking for a delicious and hearty cocktail, the bloody Mary is a great choice. It is perfect for brunch or any other occasion.

Find the perfect vodka to use in a Bloody Mary here.


Lemon Drop Martini

The lemon drop martini is a delicious and refreshing vodka cocktail.

It is a mix of vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup, and you can garnish it with a lemon slice or a cherry.

I love the tartness of the lemon juice and the sweetness of the simple syrup. The balance between sweet and sour makes this cocktail one of the best vodka cocktails.

You should use freshly squeezed lemon juice, if possible, and high-quality vodka. Additionally, ensure that all your ingredients are cold. For a classy touch, you can add lemon sugar to the rim.

If you are looking for a delicious and refreshing vodka cocktail, you can’t go wrong with the lemon drop martini.


Screwdriver

The screwdriver is a classic cocktail and one of the best vodka cocktails.

It is a mix of vodka and orange juice, and you can garnish it with an orange slice or a cherry. Its simplicity is what makes it great.

Since this cocktail only features a few ingredients, it is essential to use quality ingredients. Additionally, you should avoid using pulpy orange juice. It gives an unpleasant mouthfeel.

I appreciate the sweetness of the orange juice and the vodka. This cocktail is another classic brunch cocktail. It is also a great cocktail to make for large batches. It is perfect for parties.


Vodka Soda

The vodka soda is one of the most popular vodka cocktails. It is a mix of vodka and soda water, and you can garnish a vodka soda with a lime slice or a cherry.

I love the simplicity of the vodka soda. It is perfect for any occasion and is always a crowd-pleaser.

Additionally, it is a great cocktail to make for large batches. Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best – a vodka soda is one of those things.


White Russian

The White Russian is a classic cocktail. It is a mix of vodka, coffee liqueur, and cream. 

I enjoy the sweetness of the coffee liqueur and the cream. This cocktail is perfect for after dinner or for dessert. Many assume that this cocktail is challenging to make, but it is pretty straightforward.

Combining vodka, coffee liqueur, and cream and pouring it over the rocks gives you an adult milkshake that you will not forget. Ironically, the white Russian is not Russian in origin.

When you make a white Russian, use high-quality cream or half-and-half. Milk will create a thin cocktail and isn’t as rich as it needs to be.

If you are looking for a classic and delicious cocktail, the White Russian is a great choice.


Vodka Gimlet

The vodka gimlet is a refreshing cocktail that is perfect for any occasion. It is a mix of vodka and lime juice. You can garnish a vodka gimlet with a lime slice or a cherry.

The vodka gimlet traces its history back to the 18th century. It was initially served to sailors to get them to drink lime juice and avoid scurvy. It has been popular ever since.

Making a vodka gimlet is quite simple. You only need two ingredients, vodka, and lime juice. The key is to use fresh lime juice, high-quality vodka, and ice-cold water.

If someone ever gives you a hard time about drinking a vodka gimlet, you can tell them that you are drinking it for health reasons.


Espresso Martini

The espresso martini was created in the 1980s by a bartender in London.

He was trying to make a cocktail that would appeal to the late-night club crowd. 

The espresso martini is a delicious and refreshing cocktail. It is a mix of vodka, coffee liqueur, and espresso, and you should always garnish one with a coffee bean.

I love the combination of coffee and vodka. This cocktail is perfect for after dinner or for dessert. 


Madras

The Madras is a refreshing and flavorful cocktail.

It is a mix of vodka, orange juice, cranberry juice, and club soda, and it should be garnished with an orange slice.

The Madras is an excellent choice for those looking for a flavorful cocktail. It is also a perfect choice for those looking for a refreshing and fruity drink.

Making a Madras is quite simple. The key is to use fresh juices and high-quality vodka. 


Vodka Collins

The vodka collins is one of my favorite vodka cocktails.

It is a mix of vodka, lemon juice, sugar, and club soda. You can garnish a vodka collins with a lemon slice or a cherry.

I love the tartness of the lemon juice and the sweetness of the sugar. This cocktail is perfect for summertime or any time you are looking for a refreshing drink.

The vodka collins was created in the 19th century. It was initially made with gin, but vodka became one of the best vodka cocktails in the 20th century.

The key to making an excellent vodka collins is to use fresh lemon juice, high-quality vodka, and ice-cold club soda.


Vodka Sidecar

The vodka sidecar is one of the best vodka cocktails. It is a mix of vodka, orange liqueur, and lemon juice, and you can garnish one with an orange slice or a cherry.

I particularly like the sweetness of the orange liqueur and the tartness of the lemon juice.

This cocktail is perfect for wintertime or any time you are looking for a delicious and sophisticated drink.

The vodka sidecar was created in the early 20th century. It is a classic cocktail that has been popular ever since.

The key to making an excellent vodka sidecar is using high-quality orange liqueur and vodka. Additionally, the lemon juice should be fresh.


Vodka Sour

The vodka sour is one of the best vodka cocktails. It is a mix of vodka, lemon juice, sugar, and egg white. You can garnish a vodka sour with a lemon slice or a cherry.

I love the tartness of the lemon juice and the sweetness of the sugar. Additionally, the egg white gives this cocktail a smooth finish.

This cocktail is perfect for summertime or any time you are looking for a refreshing drink.

The vodka sour was created in the 19th century. It is a classic cocktail that has been popular ever since.

The key to making a great vodka sour is to use fresh lemon juice, high-quality vodka, and ice-cold club soda.


Berry Vodka Smash

The berry vodka smash is one of my favorite vodka cocktails.

It is a mix of vodka, berries, mint, lemon juice, and sugar, and you can garnish one with berries or a sprig of mint.

I enjoy the sweetness of the berries and the mint. The berry vodka smash was created in the early 21st century. This drink is a modern take on the classic vodka sour.

The key to making an excellent berry vodka smash is to use fresh berries, high-quality vodka, and mint. It helps to muddle the mint, releasing the essential oils into the cocktail.


Black Russian

The black Russian is the older brother of the white Russian. It is a mix of vodka and coffee liqueur, and you can garnish one with a cherry.

I love the sweetness of the coffee liqueur. This cocktail is perfect for a post-dinner drink, and it can also replace dessert.

The black Russian was created in the early 20th century. It is a classic cocktail that has been popular ever since.


Vodka Spritzer 

The vodka spritzer is one of the best vodka cocktails. It is a mix of vodka and club soda. You can garnish a vodka spritzer with a lemon slice or a cherry or with other fruits or herbs.

I love the refreshing and light taste of the vodka spritzer. The vodka spritzer was created in the early 20th century. It is a classic cocktail that has been popular ever since.

The key to making an excellent vodka spritzer is using high-quality vodka and ice-cold club soda.


Best Vodka Cocktails 

  1. Sea Breeze
  2. Classic Moscow Mule
  3. Vodka Tonic
  4. Vodka Cranberry
  5. Cosmopolitan
  6. Bloody Mary
  7. Lemon Drop Martini
  8. Screwdriver
  9. Vodka Soda
  10. White Russian 
  11. Vodka Gimlet
  12. Espresso Martini
  13. Madras
  14. Vodka Collins
  15. Vodka Sidecar
  16. Vodka Sour 
  17. Berry Vodka Smash
  18. Black Russian
  19. Vodka Spritzer 

Final Thoughts

There you have it, nineteen classic drinks that include the best vodka cocktails. These are my personal favorites, and each one of them has something unique about them. There is also a perfect vodka cocktail for every occasion.

Make these cocktails with a top shelf vodka or with a cheaper brand that still tastes good.

I suggest you try them all and find which one suits your fancy. There are many other vodka cocktails. If your favorite one isn’t on my list, let me know in the comments below.

Cheers!

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.