Despite its versatility and purity (if you’re buying the right bottles, that is) vodka has slipped out of favor in recent years with the likes of gin and rum becoming the go-to on cocktail menus. However, in honor of National Vodka Day, which is held annually on October 4, we’re sharing our favorite vodka cocktail recipes to prove that this spirit is as worthy of a spot in your liquor cabinet now as it’s ever been.
While one of the most popular vodka cocktails of all time is of course the martini (thanks in no small part to a certain Mr. Bond), the adaptability of this clear liquid helps it sit perfectly with just about any flavor combination. From rich creamy coffee recipes to fresh and vibrant citrus combos, vodka makes the ideal base for a plethora of cocktails.
Smoke Point Martini
In a daring experiment in sustainability, San Francisco’s Hangar 1 Vodka has created a vodka from Napa Valley grapes that were singed in the recent Californian wildfires, making them unfit for winemaking. The result is Smoke Point: an entirely unique vodka with unexpected floral tasting notes, and hints of cinnamon and allspice. All proceeds from the limited-edition vodka will be donated to the California Fire Foundation. And, while puritans might shout that without the addition of vermouth or brine, a martini cannot be classed as a cocktail (given that the general rule is that a recipe must have at least three ingredients), we’re happy to bend the rules when it comes to cocktail making – especially when it comes to a spirit this special.
- 3oz Hangar 1 Smoke Point Vodka
- Smoked olives, for garnish
In a mixing glass filled halfway with ice, pour spirit over and stir to chill. Strain through fine-meshed sieve into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with smoked olive.
Sapling Citrus Drop at Whatley Manor
Two like-minded British eco-champions have joined forces to release a super sustainable limited-edition vodka. Made using waste citrus fruits from Whatley Manor’s two-Michelin-star restaurant and employing Sapling’s environmentally conscious four-times distilling process, the Sapling Whatley Manor Citrus Vodka is awash with, you guessed it, fresh and vibrant citrus notes. And as with all Sapling spirits, for every bottle sold a tree is planted, with a unique code to tell the drinker where their tree is and what project it was planted under. To celebrate the partnership, Whatley Manor is serving up a special cocktail, which utilizes honey from the hotel’s own beehives – but you can use any honey at home if you don’t have your own buzzing pets.
- 1½oz Sapling x Whatley Manor Citrus Vodka
- ¾oz Whatley honey syrup made from Whatley Manor’s own beehives
- ¾oz citrus juice (lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits will all work)
Pour all ingredients over ice and shake before double straining into a chilled glass. Garnish with a spring of home-grown mint and lemon peel.
Pumpkin Spice Lebowski
If there was ever a flavor that signifies the onset of fall, there is no doubt that it’s pumpkin spice. However, the sugary delight needn’t stop in our coffee cups, with the Pumpkin Spiced Lebowski elevating it to a sophisticated evening tipple. This recipe calls for Reyka Vodka, a small-batch spirit that hails from Iceland and uses glacial spring water for an impressively pure taste.
- 2 parts Reyka Vodka
- 1 part coffee liqueur
- 1 part heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
Combine the cream and pumpkin pie spice in a cocktail shaker and shake before adding the Reyka Vodka and coffee liqueur and shaking again with ice. Serve on the rocks.
Grey Goose Apple Martini
Just like the martini, Grey Goose vodka requires little introduction. The French spirit uses only the finest ingredients, with full traceability in every step, to ensure its vodka is one of the smoothest on the market. The brand’s commitment to purity even sees it go as far as to wash each bottle with Grey Goose vodka before bottling, as well as saturate each cork to ensure that no other liquids compromise its integrity. This unrivaled attention to detail has made Grey Goose one of the most famous, and indeed the most popular, vodkas in the world, with a bottle being a staple on any well-stocked home bar.
- 1½oz Grey Goose La Poire Vodka
- 1½oz Calvados
- 1/3oz Ancho Reyes chilis
- 1½oz lime
- 1½oz fresh apple juice
Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake thoroughly before pouring into a chilled martini glass.
Ylang Ylang Espresso Martini by One Aldwych
As part of its recent collaboration with a host of local independent retailers, One Aldwych, which sits in the heart of London just moments away from Covent Garden, has released an all-new cocktail menu. Each recipe is inspired by the fragrances of sustainable perfumery, Floral Street, with the concept including an interactive scented menu. Among creative cocktail line up is the Ylang Ylang Espresso Martini, which gives an interesting twist on the drink of the moment with the addition of coconut sugar and CBD.
- 2oz Medatini Espresso Martini (a pre-mixed espresso and vodka mix featuring CBD)
- 1oz June L’Espirit
- 1oz Meda Focus
- 1 tsp coconut sugar
Shake all ingredients over ice and double strain into a chilled martini glass, and garnish with edible flowers.