In its homeland of Russia, vodka is considered one of life’s greatest pleasures. A neutral tasting and versatile alcohol, can either be savored on its own or enjoyed with a few key flavors. Here are some ways you can drink vodka.
No one is born an expert. Learning about alcohol—its history, its cultural importance, how to drink it, or how to mix it into drinks—takes time. It takes a little tasting and a little light reading.
1. Drinking Vodka Straight
The first thing to consider when drinking vodka straight is the quality of spirit. Unless you want to forever ruin it for yourself, it’s best to opt for higher quality brand when you’re sipping it solo.
- Choose a plain vodka to drink. Most vodka experts believe that drinking it in its pure form is the proper way to enjoy this beverage.
- According to some enthusiasts, a good drink will taste creamy and smooth. It will smell grainy and have a thick texture when frozen. A bad drink will be harsh, bitter tasting, watery, and smell like medicine. If the drink burns your palate, it is most likely lower quality.
- If you have trouble picking a brand, opt for a popular brand. Most people prefer the taste of Grey Goose, Absolut, Smirnoff, Titos, Ketel One, or Stolichnaya.
- If pure vodka is too aggressive a taste for you, opt for a flavored vodka like green apple or vanilla. The added sugar content may make the drink more palatable.
- Throw your bottle of vodka in the freezer for a few hours. This isn’t wine! You want this beverage as cold as possible.
- Don’t worry about your vodka freezing solid. Alcohol has a much lower freezing point than water and will remain unfrozen in a standard freezer.
- Sip vodka, don’t shoot it. Focus on savoring the taste rather than getting drunk.
- Smell the vodka as you swirl it in your glass. Take a small sip and let the flavor rest on your palate for a few seconds. Exhale through your nose to fully appreciate its grainy aroma. Now swallow it and savor the aftertaste.
- Vodka was originally created to be a food spirit, meant to be imbibed gradually like wine.
2. Drink Vodka in the form of Cocktail
If you don’t want to drink vodka straight, you can easily mix it into a variety of cocktails that will hide—or enhance—its inherent flavors. While most vodka cocktails include fresh juice or citrus and are shaken with a cocktail shaker, there are vodka cocktails for every type of drinker.
Try a Screwdriver.
- Mix 1-1/2 ounces of plain vodka with 6 ounces of orange juice for the best drink. Add a few cubes of ice and stir with a spoon.
- For a more sophisticated drink, make a Mimosa Screwdriver. Mix 1 ounce of orange flavored vodka with 4 ounces of freshly squeezed orange juice. Add a dash of orange bitters and a splash of extra dry champagne.
- Screwdrivers are best enjoyed in the morning and go great with brunch.
Drink a Cosmopolitan.
- All you need is plain vodka, cranberry juice, Cointreau (orange-flavored liqueur), and lime juice.
- Add 2 ounces of vodka and 1 ounce of each of the other ingredients. Shake well with cracked ice.
- Frosting the rim with sugar and adding a lime peel gives your drink a sexy look.
- You may also add a dash of orange bitters to enhance the taste.
Sip a Bloody Mary.
- This thick, savory cocktail focuses more on zest and spice to please your tastebuds.
- Mix an ounce of plain vodka with 3 ounces of tomato juice, 1/2 ounce of lemon juice, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, a pinch of salt and pepper, and a splash of hot sauce. Add some ice and stir gently.
- For a nice garnish, add a single celery stalk.
Have Sex on the Beach.
- The drink! This cocktail is infused with many fruity flavors to help mask the strong flavor of plain vodka.
- Mix 1-1/2 ounce of vodka with 2 ounces of orange juice, 2 ounces of cranberry juice, and 1/2 ounce of Peach Schnapps.
- Fill the glass with ice, stir, and garnish the rim with an orange slice.
Indulge in a Vodka Martini.
- The Martini is a classic choice and the official drink of James Bond 007, shaken, not stirred.
- Simply mix 2-3 ounces of plain vodka with 1 of dry vermouth. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes.
- Shake well and pour the solution into a martini glass. Garnish with 3 olives on a stick.
- For added flavor, put a twisted lemon peel on the rim of the glass.
3. Take Vodka Shots
Chill it. The best way to chill a bottle of vodka is simply to store it in the freezer. That way you’ll always have it at the ready. Freezing vodka removes any harsh flavors in the spirit and softens the burn of the alcohol in both the aroma and on the palate.
While vodka shots are primarily taken to get the party started, the ice-cold shooters are also great with food. In Russia, straight vodka is always served with a meal or snacks called zakuski, which include noshes like smoked fish, pickles, fresh cucumbers, meats, sausages and olives. If you want to drink vodka like they do in Russia, take bites of food in between sips of vodka—and repeat until the sun comes up.