Best Flavored: Square One Organic Cucumber Vodka
courtesy of Total Wine
Region: United States | ABV: 40% | Tasting notes: Fresh cucumber, Floral
Savory and sweet notes balance beautifully in this elegant bottle made with certified organic American rye. The silky, candied profile of a carefully distilled vodka meets the garden-fresh flavor of the hand-peeled cucumbers that infuse it for a sippable spirit thats a shoo-in for a lithe Bloody Mary but which also yields a dynamite vodka Gibson.
Best For Highballs: Broken Shed
Region: New Zealand | ABV: 40% | Tasting notes: Citrus, Grass, Honeysuckle
As Abou-Ganim points out, theres been a return in the highball, a three-ingredient cocktail of spirit, bubbly water, and crucially, ice. Tall, cool, and refreshing, the highball is the drink of summer for home bartenders, and the New Zealand-based Broken Shed vodka works beautifully in the glass. Distilled from whey and pristine aquifer and mountain water, this spirit has a floral honeyed character and a creamy, luscious body. Yet, theres nothing overly sweet or cloying in there.
It has a beautiful natural taste that is light and crisp with a smooth warmth to finish it off, says Fred Flynn of Wilmington, N.C.’s Manna. Flavorful yet bright, it makes you want to go back for another sip.
There Is A Right Way To Build A Vodka Soda
Whatever you do, never make a Vodka Soda by adding ice to a highball glass first and then topping it with vodka and seltzer. There is a better method that will help maintain the integrity of the ice. Start by pre-chilling your glass in the freezer. When the glass has developed a cloudy frost, remove it from the freezer and add your vodka to the glass . The standard pour is two ounces but, for a lighter, more refreshing Vodka Soda ideal for warm weather drinking, use only 1.5 ounces of vodka. Then, place the cubes of ice in the glass and, finally, top with seltzer and stir with a bar spoon.
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What Are Good Sodas To Mix With Vodka
A traditional and plain drink of vodka is enough to satisfy a lot of people already. However, many people want to be adventurous and want more flavor to their vodka. Now, we will discuss all the good sodas that can be mixed with vodka.
So what are the excellent sodas to mix with vodka? Almost all sodas can be mixed well with vodka. Vodkas are flavorless spirits. With this, adding different kinds of soda can be well mixed with each other.
Vodka is a distilled blend of water and alcohol. Vodkas are made to be clear and odorless. However, you can still have the aroma of the alcohol in it.
Vodkas are just water and grain alcohol. So we can say that the vodka is neutral. This means that any sodas can be mixed with it.
So now, let us talk about the good sodas that can be mixed with vodkas. Lets go.
How Do Beginners Drink Vodka
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Rinse The Glass With A Strong Flavored Spirit Or Liqueur
Take your vodka soda to the next level with a rinse of absinthe, Campari, elderflower liqueur, or allspice dram!
Any potently flavored spirit or liqueur will add another level of flavor or a subtle nuance to your vodka soda.
Simply pour a small amount of the liquid into your desired glassware , swirl to coat the inside of the glass, and then discard the fluid. Fill with ice and build the drink as usual.
I love to combine an absinthe rinse with muddled pineapple and a squeeze of lime juice. Incredible flavor without a lot of cals or carbs!
Pineapple Lime Vodka Soda with an absinthe rinse
A Little Higher Or Lower Yet Have You Ever Wondered About The Proof Of Your Cocktail
Things can get complicated when you start combining different liquors with nonalcoholic mixers, shaking it with ice and adding water, and everything else that is required to create great drinks. Unless you are willing to carry a test kit filled with scientific gadgets to the bar, there is no straight answer as to how strong the drink in front of you is in reality.
There is, however, a simple formula that can help you estimate the alcohol content of your mixed drinks. It can also help you decrease or increase a drinks potency if you know a few basic facts.
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What Is Vodka Made From
Vodka is a vast and varied category of liquor and unlike some other spirits, there are no set regulations governing its production. Vodka has a Russian origin and is often because the standard method for making it is by fermenting and distilling grain. This can be corn, rye, wheat, or any other grain that the distiller chooses to use. Potato vodka has long been a popular product of Poland and other potato growing regions, such as Idaho and Scandinavian countries. Vodka can be distilled from nearly anything, though and you will find vodkas made from things like beets and grapes.
Vodka is a rectified spirit, meaning that it is often distilled at least three times. Some are distilled five or more times. It has become common practice for a vodka brand to broadcast that their vodka has been distilled X number of times. The assumption is that the more times it is distilled, the cleaner and smoother it is. Generally, this is true. As vodka takes each trip through the still, the “heads” and “tails” are often removed. These are the parts of the distillate found on the top and bottom of a finished batch. By taking only the “heart” of the distillate, the vodka becomes cleaner and has fewer impurities.
Ways To Upgrade Your Vodka Soda
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The Vodka Soda is pretty much the un-cocktail. Its typically meant to be as tasteless and chuggable as possible.
Until recently, when I thought of a Vodka Soda, I thought of a drink meant to induce drunkenness with as few calories as possible. And thats about it.
I definitely dismissed it altogether for a while there. But it was actually my aversion to it made me want to do some tweaking and throw a few back in the name of R& D.
After trying a bunch of easy variations, Im ready to stand behind the Vodka Soda as a really fun and delicious cocktail template.
Read on for my four Vodka Soda upgrades + recipe template and ideas!
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For A Floral Aromatic Vodka Soda: Nikka Coffey Vodka
Our favorite new vodka of 2017, Japanese-made Nikka Coffey Vodka is a match made in heaven for a Vodka Soda. Produced in the same continuous Coffey still thats used for the distillerys famous whiskies, Nikka Coffey Vodka is distilled from corn and barley and refined with white birch charcoal. Use it to make a floral, vegetal Vodka Sodaone that tastes like the first day of spring and smells like fresh laundry. With notes of honeysuckle, mint, lemon oil, fresh cut grass and sugar snap peas, the vodka wont need to be covered up with anything more than a little soda.
Small Bottles Are Better
Unless you are throwing a party or planning to use a lot of soda at once, its best to stock your home bar with the smallest bottles available. The majority of the carbonation is lost when the seal is first cracked. A scotch and soda or whiskey fizz with day-old soda will be weak, flat, and undesirable. With the smaller bottles, you can usually pour one tall or two short drinks and each will be super fresh.
With club soda and tonic, in particular, be sure to open these bottles slowly. Crack the seal and allow the first air to pass before opening it all the way. These sodas are notorious for fizzing up and will overflow immediately, even if you did not shake the bottle.
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Tips For Making This Recipe
- You may be tempted to add more club soda to the glass, but I dont necessarily recommend that. If you do, youll water down the potency and punchiness of the fresh lime juice.
- Ensure your club soda is nice and cold. This vodka cocktail is best when its icy!
- As mentioned previously, lime is the juice of choice here for a vodka soda, but Ive also made it with lemon. Or, you can go all out and try a combo of both!
- Pick the best citrus .
Always Good Always New
As successful as Vodka Soda is, we actually know very little about its origin. No bar is known as its place of birth, and no bartender as its inventor. No matter, since the Vodka Soda has lost almost none of its popularity over the past 20 years. Quite the opposite. Its simplicity has made it a brightly shining star in an ever-more complex world of drinks. But it is possible to be a bit more creative with the garnish. Besides the classic twist of lime, other kinds of fruits and vegetables can be used depending on the season whether mint, apple, or red beet: creativity is the catchword. And an invitation for you to experiment at the same time, cheers!
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Best Potato Vodka: Woody Creek Distillers
Region: Colorado | ABV: 40% | Tasting notes: Potato, Earth, Pepper
While potato vodkas only used to come from Russia, the U.S. now produces outstanding versions of its own. Abou-Ganims top choice is this bottle from Colorado-based Woody Creek Distillers.
Its distilled only once from Rio Grande spuds grown on the distillers own farm at alpine altitudes. The process leaves in a lot of the character of the potatoes, says Abou-Ganim. Its earthy, funky, and vegetal with a rich character.” He says its the vodka to reach for if you like your martinis big, bold, and garnished with a blue cheesestuffed olive.
Cocktails To Order Instead Of A Vodka Soda
Whether watching your carbs or seeking a cocktail that’s as light as it is refreshing, a vodka soda has long been a popular choice during a night out at the bar.
The vodka soda is so light and refreshing, in fact, that professionals use it as a palate cleanser of sorts. “As a craft bartender, I sometimes taste hundreds of drinks a night to make sure they are made properly. This is what we call straw tasting. This ensures quality. Needless to say, that is a lot of flavor over the course of a night. At the end of a shift, there really isn’t anything better than a refreshing vodka soda to cleanse the palate of all that flavor,” Deke Dunn, head bartender and Beverage Director at Allegory Speakeasy Bar in Washington, D.C., tells Mashed.
But, of course, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. For those who still love their vodka sodas but want to switch things up a bit, there are many quality cocktail options that have the same light and refreshing elements, but offer the opportunity to try something new.
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For A Cooling Vodka Soda: Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka
Flavored vodkas can get lost in the mix in complex cocktails. Instead, use a high-quality flavored vodka to make a more interesting Vodka Soda. Theres a wide range of great options that dont include desserts in their titlesfrom Hanson of Sonoma Ginger to Absolut Limebut it doesnt get better than Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka. The New York-distilled spirit tastes like you muddled a bunch of fresh cucumber slices in the bottom of the glass, yielding the most refreshing, cooling Vodka Soda youve ever had. Its like treating yourself to a spa day, but with a little extra booze.
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What’s The Difference Between Vodka And Gin
Vodka is a distilled spirit made most commonly from grains or potatoes. Traditionally, the clear liquor is famously from Russia and Poland, but today it’s made all over the world. The United States and all parts of Europe contribute to the global vodka market. It’s drunk worldwide, too. Russia and Eastern European countries drink the most, followed closely by the U.S. Vodka is also the most popular liquor to use in cocktails, mixed drinks, and shots, making it essential in every bar.
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Dont Sleep On Good Soda Water
Not only are some seltzers flatter than others, but some brands add salt to their water. Q, for example, adds a touch of saline to their club soda. While using soda water with added salt can make a Vodka Soda more thirst-quenching, it doesnt necessarily work with all vodkas. Our personal favorite is Fever Tree, which has a higher level of carbonation and tighter bubbles.
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Grapefruit Juice And A Splash Of Soda
As with pretty much every item you consume, the caliber of your ingredients matters here. Pour a few ounces of good-quality grapefruit juice over a shot of vodka on ice, give it a stir, and top with soda water and a lime wedge. Its a light, bright, slightly effervescent version of a Greyhound cocktail.
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When You Dont Need To Mix Vodka With Soda
Soda is not just the plain carbonated water from our childhood that we had no idea why anyone would drink. You get soda in ginger lemonade flavor, various tonics, lemon-lime squeeze, and even various berry flavors. It all sounds so utterly delicious. Why wont you mix vodka with soda?
The reason is, you are paying for a premium vodka bottle. When you are buying really good quality vodka, its only fair that you see what the fuss is all about. After all, nobody talks about vodka in terms of aging and flavor like they do with whiskey. So what is so special?
Well, premium quality vodka comes with a lot of volatiles, which contains the flavor of the drink. Now, vodka does not hold these volatiles well, because it has not been aged like wine or whiskey. The volatiles in vodka tends to evaporate fairly quickly, depending on what you are mixing it with. And with it, the flavor goes away.
Companies like Pristine Vodka have been working with superb quality mineral-rich grains, pure mountain water to give you a subtle, classy flavor infused with vanilla and spice.
Notably, vodka has not had a good reputation among the classiest of drinks, but that is changing. So, when you invest in a premium bottle, you should try to taste the flavor you are paying for. Who knows, you might end up liking it.
Best Russian: Beluga Noble
Region: Russia | ABV: 40% | Tasting notes: Flowers, Cream, Alpine herbs
This vodka is the greatest combination of old traditions and contemporary chic, says Borisov. He notes the superiority of both the water source and the filtration processtwo key contributors to the vodkas bouquet and flavor profile. Beluga uses pure artesian well water from Siberia, and it triple filters its vodka through birch charcoal, a silver filter, and quartz sand. Then, the spirit is left to rest for a month to relax its aroma. After all that,” Borisov says, “the final product is clean like a tear, a common expression used to describe the highest quality vodka in Russia.”
Borisov also recommends keeping this bottle in the fridge and drinking it cold and neat, complemented in true Russian fashion with a small piece of rye bread and a pickled cornichon.
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Best For Bloody Marys: Absolut Peppar
Courtesy of Walmart
Region: Sweden | ABV: 40% | Tasting notes: White pepper, Red pepper, Vanilla
For the The Cocktail Professor Anthony Baker, the best vodka for a Bloody Mary is the one originally developed for the drink. The worlds first flavored vodka, Absolut Peppar has been going strong for 35 years, spiking the favorite brunch drink with just enough spice so that you feel it, but its not burning hot, says Baker.
With its relatively light body and its mild burn, it makes a drink that enhances the pleasure of the meal without knocking you out for the rest of the day.
Region: Poland | ABV: 40% | Tasting notes: Spicy, Nutty, Creamy
Abou-Ganim describes Belvedere, the quintessential Polish vodka, as Big, bold, and robust. Its distilled three times from just Dankowski Gold rye and artesian well water, then filtered twicea measured amount of refinement for todays vodka standards. It retains the character of the grain, but with a silkiness that buoys its booming flavor: nuts and vanilla, spices, and cream.
Slava Borisov of Travelle at The Langham Hotel in Chicago raves about the Smogory Forest version, which is part of Belvedere’s newest vodkas made with rye sourced from single estates. The bottle is distilled with grain grown near its namesake in Western Poland. It has notes of salted caramel, honeycomb, and white pepper, she says.