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Vodka is a versatile drink that can stand on its own or serve as the perfect ingredient for a wide variety of cocktails. The subtle flavor that this liquor has makes it ideal for mixing into cocktails, but how do you find the best vodka for cocktails to make your drink truly exceptional?

To help you out in your search for the perfect drink, we’ve got the information you need. We’ll break down the different kinds of vodka out there and give you some tips for how to choose the one that’s right for your drink. We’ll also tell you about some of the most popular vodka cocktails out there so that you have some ideas for what drink to try next.

How to Choose the Best Vodka for Your Favorite Cocktail

Different Types of Vodka

Grain Vodka

A variety of grains, including wheat, barley, or rye are used to create vodka. By fermenting these grains and then distilling any impurities out, this traditional method of creating vodka has been used for centuries. The different grains used each lends their own flavors to the finished product; rye vodka, for example, has an earthy flavor, while wheat vodka has a light and clean taste.

The smooth flavor that grain vodka achieves makes it a favorite of many vodka connoisseurs. While other types of this well-loved liquor bring their own unique flavors to the table, grain vodka is distinctive for the more neutral flavor it achieves.  

Potato Vodka

By mashing potatoes into a fine paste, allowing the resulting mixture to ferment, and then finally distilling any impurities away, potato vodka can be created. Popularized in eastern Europe but then spread throughout the world ever since, this form of vodka is a favorite among liquor drinkers in all four corners of the globe.

While still retaining the overall neutral character of vodka, potato vodka has a slight natural sweetness that sets it apart from grain vodka. Another reason that makes this type of vodka popular is the lack of a strong alcoholic flavor, allowing the other flavors of the drink to shine through without anything masking them.

Fruit Vodka

Starting with fermented wheat or rye, fruit vodka sets itself apart from traditional grain vodka by adding a variety of fruits during the fermenting process. The combination of different grains with fruits like apples, cranberries, pears, and many others creates some unique flavor combinations that give you plenty of variety to try.

Even more than potato vodka, fruit vodka has a sweetness to it that makes it ideal for pairing with other sweet, fruity flavors in cocktails. While more neutral vodkas might suit certain drinks, pairing a fruit vodka with flavors that go nicely with the natural sweetness will create a perfect combination.

Finding the Best Vodka for Cocktails

One of the defining traits of vodka is the neutral flavor that it has compared to other liquors. While many flavored vodkas have become popular, especially in recent years, the variety of flavors available shows the diversity that this liquor allows for. People all over the world have added different tastes to vodka to make a range of unique drinks. So how do you know which type of vodka works best for the mixed drink you want to create?

The right vodka is going to change depending on what kind of drink you want to make, but potato vodka is often a good choice for the naturally rich flavor it carries. Grain vodka, however, is a great choice for any drink that is meant to have an overall neutral flavor, since the lack of additional flavor notes will let the flavor of the drink stand for itself. Sweet, fruity drinks might benefit from the naturally-sweet flavor of fruit vodka.

Vodka Cocktails to Try

Looking to make a drink that will make your favorite vodka shine like you’ve never seen it before? Here are some classic combinations to try out next time you’re serving cocktails.

Vodka Martini

Perhaps the most iconic of all vodka cocktails, the vodka martini is the perfect way to class up any cocktail party. It couldn’t be simpler to make either, with just three ingredients involved: vodka, dry vermouth, and bitters. Potato vodka will give this drink a rich flavor that will have you loving every sip, with a lemon peel garnish adding the perfect sour finishing touch to the drink.

Apple Martini

A slight twist on the classic martini you know and love, an apple martini features the fruity flavor of an apple and a vibrant green color that will catch anybody’s eye. Recipes to make this drink might use apple-flavored vodka, though you can get a drier end product by using a grain vodka instead and adding apple-flavored liqueur to achieve the signature flavor.

Bloody Mary

A classic drink fit for any occasion, a bloody mary is a classic drink that will let you enjoy your favorite vodka in a completely unique way. Vodka and tomato juice are the only two necessary ingredients, though you can customize your drink with a range of additives including everything from sea salt to jalapeno peppers or anything else you can think up. Potato vodka serves as a great base that allows the other flavors to shine.

Black Russian

A strong drink that has a bold character that stands out among the other options, a Black Russian is another simple-to-make cocktail that only involves two key ingredients. Vodka, ideally a grain vodka that lets the other flavors stand out, and coffee liqueur are all you’ll need for this drink. An optionally cherry in the drink adds an extra dimension to the flavor you enjoy.

Screwdriver

Looking for the ideal cocktail to liven up any brunch event that you’re hosting? The classic screwdriver might just fit the bill, mixing fresh-squeezed orange juice with vodka to create a boozy and fruity treat that will liven up any occasion. A fruit vodka makes the perfect choice to further accentuate the fruity flavor of this drink.

Kamikaze

Refreshing and just fancy enough to make your high-end cocktail hour all the more classy, the kamikaze combines your favorite vodka with fresh-squeezed lime juice and high-end triple sec to give you an unforgettable flavor you’ll love from the first sip. The slight sweetness of potato vodka makes it an ideal choice for this drink, letting the other flavors take a leading role while offering its own hints of flavor.

Vodka Tonic

It doesn’t get much more classic than the vodka tonic, a simple-to-make drink that can be your go-to for any occasion. Tonic water and vodka are the only two ingredients for this easy drink, but you can add lemon or lime wedges for garnish if you want to do something a little extra. Potato vodka makes a great choice for this drink, or you can go with grain vodka for a more muted flavor.

Vodka Sour

Another old-fashioned choice that makes the perfect cocktail for any occasion, a vodka sour has a distinctive taste that makes it a favorite of many drinkers. While there are a number of variations on this classic drink, the basic formula involves three components: vodka, sweetener, and citrus for that distinctive sour taste. Use potato vodka to add a subtle sweetness to the characteristic sour flavor.

Vodka Collins

A slight variation on a classic drink, a vodka collins is made with vodka, simple syrup, lemon juice, and soda water to create its refreshing signature flavor. You can substitute soda water with ginger ale and use fruit vodka for a sweeter flavor, or use grain vodka to let the sour flavor of the lemon juice be the star of the show.

Lemon Drop

Another citrusy mixed drink that just about everyone knows, lemon drops require sugar, lemonade, and fresh lemon. Add a lemon-based fruit liquor to give the drink its strength and to add the perfect complement to the fruity flavors of this drink. Garnishing the rim with a touch of sugar helps to add a further sweetness to the overall flavor.

Vodka Cranberry

Another fruity mixed drink that packs an unmistakable flavor in every sip, a vodka cranberry is a no-frills cocktail made from vodka, ice, and cranberry juice. Fruit vodka adds a slight sweetness to the flavor, or you can use grain vodka for a more subtle end product. Squeeze a bit of lime into the drink to add another dimension to the flavor, then garnish with the wedge you used.

Cosmopolitan

Legendary for both its signature flavor and the colorful look of the drink, a cosmopolitan is made from vodka, lime juice, cranberry juice, Cointreau liqueur, and a lemon garnish. Use a fruit vodka to bring out the natural sweetness of the other ingredients to perfection and you’ll have a high-class drink that you can enjoy anytime.

Want to experience any of these drinks made right, and discover more about how to enjoy your favorite liquors? We’ll help you learn more so that you can make the most out of every drink you enjoy. Visit Town’s End Stillhouse today!

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