Vodka is a staple in my liquor cabinet. It's a neutral spirit, so it has become my go-to choice when mixing drinks for a crowd with strong opinions about piney gin, overly sweet rum, or intensely agave-forward tequila. It also happens to be one of the easiest spirits for making cocktails. There are dozens of vodka drinks that only require one or two additional ingredients, so it's possible to make fantastic-tasting drinks without getting too overwhelmed with the wide world of mixology. Whether you're a newbie at making cocktails or a seasoned bar keep, these are the best vodka mixers to keep on hand for any occasion.
Soda water (also called club soda or seltzer) has become a super popular mixer for vodka. The water dilutes the vodka's sharp flavor while the bubbles create effervescence that enhances the drinking experience. This option also happens to add zero calories to the drink, so it's the most diet and keto-friendly mixing option. Our favorite way to enjoy a vodka soda is to use Topo Chico as the soda water and top the drink off with a lemon or lime wedge. That small squeeze adds a ton of citrus flavor to the cocktail!
Flavored Sparkling Water
Upgrade your soda water to flavored sparkling water to add flavor without adding many (or any) calories. Grab your favorite La Croix, Bubbly, or Aha drink and mix it with vodka in a highball or lowball glass. Our current favorite is Spindrift cucumber to create a cooling and refreshing summer sipper.
If calories aren't a concern, almost any soda works well as a vodka mixer. Coca-cola is a popular choice, as is lemon-lime flavored soda like Sprite or 7-Up. You can also use homemade infusions instead of store-bought soda. Keep in mind that the vodka all but disappears in these sugary drinks, so they will go down dangerously easy.
Tonic water might be more closely associated with gin, but a vodka tonic is another classic cocktail that never gets old. It has the same effervescent finish as soda water, but the quinine in the tonic adds a slightly bitter element. Keep in mind that most tonic waters are heavy on sugar, so you may want to peek at the nutrition label before stocking up your bar to make sure it's right for you.
Anyone who's had a Moscow Mule knows that ginger beer is one of the best vodka mixers to keep on hand. It's traditionally served in a copper mug, but you can use any highball or lowball glass to mix this drink. Depending on the brand (or whether you're using ginger ale or ginger beer), the flavor of this drink can be muted or quite sharp and spicy.
Red Bull is a perfect mixer when you need a little pick-me-up. This caffeinated mixer is sure to keep you alert as you drink, and its distinct carbonated flavor adds something unique to a vodka cocktail. Keep in mind that the CDC doesn't recommend mixing alcohol and caffeine, though, so you'll want to use this mixer at your own risk.
If bubbles aren't your thing but you're still looking for a light and refreshing drink, look to cranberry juice. Mixing vodka and cranberry juice creates a drink called the Cape Codder, and the result is a perfectly tart and sweet cocktail that goes down easy. The cranberry juice also masks a cheap vodka's harsh finish, so this is a good mixer to have if you need to get through an unpleasant bottle.
The Screwdriver is a classic cocktail, and it couldn't be easier to make: Just add orange juice to vodka, and your drink is ready! If desired, you can drizzle in some grenadine to turn it into a gorgeous (and delicious) Vodka Sunrise, or mix OJ with ginger beer to create an Orange Moscow Mule. Freshly squeezed orange juice is the best option for flavor, but the store-bought stuff does just fine in a pinch.
The Greyhound cocktail is another easy two-ingredient cocktail made with grapefruit juice and vodka. Unlike most of the mixers on this list, grapefruit juice skips the sweet flavor, so it creates an intensely tart beverage. The vodka's flavor all but disappears when mixed with this tangy juice. For a fun twist on the classic, serve this drink with a salt rim to turn it into a Salty Dog.
Iced Tea and Lemonade
If you're looking for the perfect cocktail for a very hot day, this is the one. The Arnold Palmer--equal parts sweet tea and lemonade--is a Southern favorite because of its sweet-tart flavor. Adding a splash of vodka to the mix turns it into a John Daly, an equally refreshing drink with an alcoholic kick. Of course, you can also skip the mixture and combine vodka with plain lemonade. Spiked sweet tea is delicious on its own, too.
Tomato Juice or Bloody Mary Mix
This one is a favorite of brunch-goers everywhere! Keep a few small cans of tomato juice on hand, and you'll be able to enjoy a Bloody Mary any time of the day. Of course, a great Bloody Mary also includes a few additions (like Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, or pickle juice), so the tomato juice alone won't create the brunch aesthetic. There are several companies that sell premixed Bloody Mary mix (like Zing Zang or Mr. and Mrs. T), so you may want to opt for those if you don't have the rest of the ingredients around.
The liquor store aisles are packed full of pre-made mixers, so don't be afraid to stock up on a few. Traditionally, these mixers are made with artificial ingredients and are heavy with sugar, but you'll find a lot more artisanal options today made by craft producers. Choose from options like simple syrups to mix with soda water to fully pre-made mixers like Cosmopolitan mix.
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