There’s nothing like ending a night with a really great vodka martini. Shaken or stirred, dirty or with a twist, it’s just perfection.
But there’s a whole lot of other ways to appreciate vodka, and with National Vodka Day coming up on October 4, these cocktails are a beautiful start in preparing to broaden our vodka horizons.
At Rare Lounge at Encore Boston Harbor, this cocktail that shows the love between fruit, citrus, and herbs, Love Story is made with Belvedere Organics Lemon & Basil Vodka, cucumber simple, apple,lime, orange bitters, and rose aromatics. “The Love Story is a perfectly refreshing and balanced cocktail, showcasing a harmonious blend of fruit, citrus and herbs. This expertly crafted cocktail is a true love story between Belvedere Organics Lemon and Basil Vodka, shaken with house-made cucumber simple syrup and apple, and poured into a beautiful coupe, misted with rosewater,” said Chelsea Brewster, Executive Director of Restaurant and Beverage Operations, Encore Boston Harbor.
At The Late Great at Virgin Hotels Nashville, this cocktail is made with Belvedere Vodka, cucumber, lemon, Greek yogurt, and dill. “Inspired by and named after George Jones’ 1959 song, White Lightenin’ is a vodka-based cocktail created to taste like tzatziki sauce in a glass. The savory drink is well balanced with cool cucumber notes, creamy Greek yogurt, and dill oil to add a tangy bite,” said Hope Rice, Bartender In Residence.
At Jackdaw NYC, this is a delicious and unique cocktail. It’s rooted in vodka and orange juice, with the added flavor of orange curaçao and lemon juice giving it a rich and complex flavor. Lastly, it includes vanilla syrup, making it tasty to even those who don’t love a strong taste of vodka in their cocktails. It’s beloved by many Jackdaw visitors, and the addition of egg white gives it a beautiful frothy top! “This is one of our most popular cocktails at Jackdaw! It has a dynamic flavor. It’s both sweet and citrusy in a way that really balances its vodka base. People love it not only for its great flavor, but it’s also a fun yellow color, and it includes a foamy top from the egg white. We usually top it with an orange peel, making it as beautiful as it is delicious!” said Dylan McCabe, General Manager and Bartender at Jackdaw NYC
At Printer’s Alley in New York City, this is a beloved classic in the UK, so it’s no surprise that the Irish founders behind Printers Alley have perfected the vodka-based martini with a twist. It’s both sweet from the passion fruit and simple syrup but balanced with the citrus notes of the lime and prosecco! “Its unique flavor profile and presentation which was served with half passion fruit is the reason behind the popularity of the drink and Americans are in for a treat. Topped with Prosecco it gives us the powerful bubbly top that we all love. Then a dried lime on top is the finish to this one-of-a-kind tasting cocktail,” said Dylan McCabe, General Manager and Bartender at Printers Alley.
Found at Eight & Sand at Central Station Hotel in Memphis, Cardinal Punch is a light, floral and ultra refreshing vodka cocktail, made with Wheatley’s vodka, creme de cassis, elderflower and lemon. “This tasty drink goes well with gin or vodka but by using vodka, the rest of the unique flavors shine a little brighter. The combination of a cassis and elderflower gives the drink unique and delicate floral notes that are supported by the softer citrus of lemon juice,” said Wyatt Moore, Bartender at Eight & Sand.
Cake Batter Vodka Martini
At all Tipsy Scoop Barlor locations, celebrate National Vodka day unconventionally this year by eating your liquor! This boozy ice cream is infused with the perfect amount of cake vodka, amaretto and white chocolate liqueur. With up to 5% alcohol content, it is just enough to give enjoyers a buzz without having to call in “sick” the next day.”For those who like their martinis frozen, there’s Tipsy Scoop’s Cake Batter Vodka Martini; cake batter ice cream infused with vodka and amaretto. Have your cake, and drink it too!” Melissa Tavss, Founder and CEO of Tipsy Scoop.
At The Sundry Food Hall in Las Vegas, this Greek take on the Gimlet is made with 1966 Dill Infused Vodka, Ouzo, green grapes, honey, and lemon juice. The cocktails at The Sundry are inspired by the hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, my love of the city and my time spent visiting Vegas with family. The Leap Year is my Greek take on a Gimlet, inspired by Caesars Palace as Julius Caesar was the father of the leap year. Grapes are muddled and then mixed with dill-infused vodka, Ouzo, lemon and honey,” said Phil Collins, Director of Beverage, TableOne Hospitality.
The Pepper Blossom
The Living Room in Wesley Chapel, Florida has the Pepper Blossom, which takes floral vodka and complements it with citrus and spice. Starting with rose vodka, The Living Room beverage team levels up this cocktail with habanero tincture, grapefruit, lemon, rose petals and peppercorn. “Floral, fragrant and spiced, the Pepper Blossom starts with sweet, rose vodka and plays up its fruit-forward notes with local, citrus flavors. The addition of house-made habanero tincture and subtly spicy and herbaceous peppercorn cut the sweetness of the beverage while still complimenting its tastes, making for a flavorful and unforgettable experience,” said Zach Feinstein, CEO and Owner of The Living Room.
Moon & Sky
At Grand Army Bar in Brooklyn, Moon & Sky is a pisco & vodka sour with apricot and sparkling wine, found on the bar’s “greatest hits” menu section. There are several grape-based spirits used here, between the vermouth, pisco, and sparkling wine. This drink originated on the bar’s Sade-themed menu in early 2020 (when they exclusively played Sade in the bathroom). Head bartender Patty Dennison says: “Similar in style to an Old Cuban (a shaken rum sour topped with sparkling wine), the apricot and pisco add complexity to this drink without being overpowering, and this cocktail is an incredibly approachable option for the vodka drinker.”
At The Boardroom in New York City, olive oil & herb-infused Three Olives vodka, Dolin Blanc vermouth, cucumber, basil, fresh lime juice, salted olive bitters. General manager Hernán Trujillo, who runs the bar program says: “This martini twist on a gimlet has the salinity of a dirty martini, featuring herbs and cucumber as a bridge that connects with the citrusy qualities of a classic gimlet. With the subtle notes of each component, the use of vodka ensures this cocktail harmoniously captures the essence of all the ingredients, rather than accentuating any single ingredient. What remains is the perfect balance between citrusy, salty and herbaceous.”
At 390 Social in Park Slope, Brooklyn, acid adjusted fresh squeezed green apples,red apple cordial, housemade olive brine, vodka. “I made this drink to reimagine the classic appletini from the 90’s. This version is far less sweet (and less neon colored) and highlights the clean flavor of apples, while the olive brine uplifts the cocktails tartness. This is hands down one of the best cocktails I have ever made,” says Ronny Jaramillo, master mixologist and owner.
At Culaccino in Franklin, Cula Weather uses a vodka distilled from southern citrus, an Italian liqueur made from Bergamot, and the restaurant’s housemade limoncello. “Cula Weather is a delightfully refreshing drink that’s perfect anytime of the year whether it’s hot, summer weekends by the pool or cool, crisp evenings in the fall. It is the bright pop of sweet basil, and invigorating citrus that make this drink feel like it just got ten degrees cooler outside, Andrew Erickson, head bartender.
At Carversteak at Resorts World Las Vegas, American Harvest Vodka shaken with muddled lemon wedges, sage and verbena syrup. Served over ice with a float of Select Italian Aperitif. Francesco Lafranconi, the beverage director, says: “This vodka smash combines the crispness of American Harvest Vodka with the zesty sweetness of Limoncello. The muddled sage and verbena add fragrant, citrus and earthy notes, while the Select Aperitif floating on top provides a touch of bitterness and complexity. It’s a truly refreshing and invigorating drink.”
Lavender Lemon-Drop Martini
At Steve and Cookie’s in Margate, New Jersey, a drink that tastes as beautiful as it looks. A perfect lemon drop made with American Harvest Organic vodka, crème-de-violette and limoncello. “Our Lavender Lemon-Drop is delightful – the lavender adds a succulent floral note to each sweet and tangy sip,” said Steve and Cookie’s Beverage Director.
At Empress by Boon in San Francisco, Pandan infused Vodka, Aviation Gin, Brucato Chaparral, Spiced Pear Liqueur, lime, and orange bitters. “This cocktail is inspired by a classic Asian dessert ingredient, pandan. This drink uses the exotic rich creaminess of pandan leaves and the herbaceousness of Brucato Chaparral. The flavors are enhanced with the spiced notes of St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur and the bright gin notes of Aviation. An easy sipper sure to brighten the palate,” said Patrick Arrieta, head bartender.
At Revivalist in Huntsville, Alabama, light, crisp and refreshing with hints of peach and hibiscus, paired with your choice of vodka. “I created this drink to appeal to our female guests who are looking for a flavor profile not typically found in Huntsville. It is a refreshing and easy-to-drink cocktail that is balanced and eye-catching,” said Cody Sowell, Mixologist, Revivalist at 106 Jefferson Hotel.
At The Parlour at InterContinental New York Barclay, the cocktail is served in a chilled martini glass with Belvedere vodka, pear nectar, Barclay rooftop honey, freshly squeezed lime juice and sprinkled with ground cinnamon. Inspired by my mother’s pear strudel that she makes during the holidays, this drink reminds me of home,” said Brett Bukofser, Director of F&B Outlets.
At Buttermilk & Bourbon in Watertown, Massachusetts, this cocktail is made with Skyy Vodka, Jenwey special herbal tea blend, lemon, and honey. “This vodka-centric drink is special because it incorporates an herbal tea that was specially blended just for us. We used Marie Laveau as inspiration and used herbs that she was well known for, also blending in lemon honey and of course Vodka; thus the name Voodoo Priestess,” said Sarah Heimreid, Buttermilk & Bourbon Beverage Director.
Bitter Orange Cucumber Collins
At Tattersall Distilling in River Falls, Wisconsin, this cocktail is made with Tattersall Tightline Vodka, Tattersall Bitter Orange, lemon, and simple syrup. “Our Tighline Vodka is extremely neutral and essentially acts as a blank canvas for us to play around with. We love pairing Tattersall Bitter Orange Liqueur with cucumber. When combined, it tastes like fresh melon and has a gorgeous bright orange hue. It’s light and refreshing but still has tons of flavor. This combo always keeps you coming back for another sip,” said Kodi Satra, Beverage Manager at Tattersall Distilling.
At the bar at the Hewing Hotel in Minneapolis, this cocktail is made with Haku vodka, essence of blackberry, lime and pine. “As the name states, this is a neutral drink for vodka lovers with just subtle hints of light flavor. This cocktail comes from our highball collection, with soda water from our Toki highball machine. It provides the perfect fizzy ice cold bubbles for our guests,” said Alex Quamme, beverage manager the Hewing Hotel.