Vodka originated as a medicinal elixir in Europe during the 15th century. However, it transformed into a spirit around the 18th century, with distilling traditions developing in Russia, Sweden, Poland, and France.
Vodka is a simple distillate of water, grains, and potato. It is a clear spirit with a subtle flavor, perfect for sipping neat from a chilled bottle.
Even the harshest-tasting vodka is hardly perceptible when mixed. Therefore, it’s one of the most versatile spirits that add alcohol content without an alcoholic flavor to cocktails.
Below, I will cover a list of vodka mixers that complement or even mask vodka’s flavor. You can make a classic vodka cocktail, or make a simple 2 ingredient mixed drink with these beverages.
Cranberry juice is a classic mixer for vodka and the key ingredient in the famous Cosmopolitan cocktail.
Cranberry juice is a delightfully tart and sweet vodka mixer that combines perfectly with citrus and other fall flavors.
Cranberry juice is sold sweetened and unsweetened at your local grocery store.
I like the unsweetened version for cocktails, using simple syrup to sweeten the cocktail to my liking.
If you like cranberry flavor, check out some more cranberry cocktails to make.
Just as vodka originated as a tonic, so too did Coca-Cola, originating nerve tonic from a drugstore in 19th century Atlanta.
Now, Coca-Cola is one of the most popular soft drinks in the world. I like to use a sweeter French vodka with coke.
Check out different Coke flavors to mix with your vodka.
Ginger beer is another flavorful and fizzy mixer with a spicy and rich finish that pairs well with vodka.
Traditional ginger beer is a brew of real ginger, sugar, and water. However, most of us are used to manufactured ginger ale brands like Canada Dry or Schweppes.
Ginger beer is the key ingredient in one of the most beloved vodka cocktails, the Moscow Mule.
For those who have a more complex and mature palate, grapefruit juice is slightly sweet with a bitter aftertaste.
It’s also a seasonal fruit, with the sweetest juices available during the fall and winter months.
I enjoy the bittersweet flavor of grapefruit juice in cocktails as it precludes the need for bitters.
Iced tea comes in countless varieties and flavors, from sweet black tea to herbal white tea.
I prefer lemon sweet tea as it’s both refreshing and energizing.
Whether it’s sweet or not, iced tea has a dry finish due to tannins, which give a vodka drink an even crisper, cleaner finish.
Orange juice is an overpowering mixer that adds an unmistakable sweet, tangy flavor to any cocktail.
Orange juice has long been a go-to vodka mixer for the Screwdriver cocktail. I enjoy Screwdrivers as much as mimosas for a brunch cocktail.
I’ll often combine the two cocktails for an extra alcoholic Orange Blossom, adding prosecco and vodka with a splash of orange juice.
Vodka is the most subtle spirit in terms of flavor, all but camouflaging into flavored mixers like juices or soft drinks.
However, soda water is even more of a blank slate, offering texture and finish instead of flavor.
Thus, a vodka soda cocktail allows vodka the rare occasion to impart flavor. I like using vodka like Tito’s for my vodka sodas.
As the name implies, tonic water was first a medicinal drink made from the bark of the South American Chinchona tree.
The bark’s quinine content was used to stave off malaria. Now, tonic water is an invaluable additive for cocktails, providing that unique bitter flavor and a refreshing fizziness.
A vodka tonic with a squeeze of lime is always a good choice.
Fruit juice encompasses a broad range of flavors and ingredients, not to mention the many single-fruit juices on my list.
It is fashionable to purchase fresh-pressed juices that combine various ingredients, like orange pineapple-banana or apple-ginger-strawberry.
I like using a mix of fruit juices with vodka and red wine in a delicious pitcher of sangria.
It’s hard to think of a cocktail or beverage that wouldn’t benefit from a splash of lime juice.
Lime juice has a strong, tart flavor with a slightly sweet finish. It has fewer to no seeds compared with lemons and is as good a mixer as it is a garnish and a chaser.
You can chase a shot of vodka with a lime slice, use it in a classic cocktail like a Moscow Mule, or even spike a pitcher of homemade limeade with vodka for a summer cookout with friends.
Pineapple juice is the ultimate sweet, tropical treat.
Its concentrated sweetness receives a nice tart finish that blends well with other juices and spirits.
A little goes a long way to sweeten or brighten a vodka cocktail.
I like to blend vodka with pineapple juice, cranberry juice, and lime juice in this Bay Breeze cocktail recipe.
Simple syrup, at its most basic, is sugar and water boiled to create a sweetener for any kind of drink.
However, there are countless flavored simple syrups to both sweeten and impart flavor.
Many cocktail recipes have you create infused simple syrup with ingredients ranging from maple to ginger and baking spice.
I like making my own simple syrups instead of using sweetened juices and beverage mixers so I can dictate how sweet the cocktail will be.
Tomato juice is a rich, tangy, and slightly sweet vodka mixer that lies at the foundation of the most treasured vodka cocktail of all, the Bloody Mary.
Tomato juice has a unique texture and a flavor that lends well to savory cocktails.
Plus, it’s a naturally zero-calorie beverage with plenty of nutrients.
Red Bull is one of the pioneers of energy drinks.
While we may down a can to start our day or keep us awake on long road trips, Red Bull has also become a popular cocktail mixer.
Red bull and vodka are now as popular a pairing as vodka and soda.
If you’re looking for caffeinated, energetic inebriation, one vodka red bull will do the trick.
Consisting of lemon juice, sugar, and water, lemonade is a beloved refreshment worldwide.
Its balance of sweet and tart needs little embellishment. As a vodka mixer, lemonade will mask the spirit’s subtle flavor.
Lemonade is a crowd-pleasing beverage with or without alcohol, so you can serve a spiked and virgin pitcher at family gatherings.
- Cranberry Juice
- Ginger Beer
- Grapefruit Juice
- Iced Tea
- Orange Juice
- Soda Water
- Tonic Water
- Fruit Juice
- Lime Juice
- Pineapple Juice
- Simple Syrup
- Tomato Juice
- Red Bull
What Do You Drink Vodka With?
Try these vodka mixers and tell us your favorite in the comments!
If you prefer to take shots, check out our favorite vodkas for shots.
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