20 Easy Vodka Drinks to Add to Your Vodkabulary
Leave laborious prep behind and try these easy vodka cocktail recipes. From spritzers, smashes, and screwdrivers to martinis, mules, and more, these delicious drinks are short on ingredients and steps.
Recipe and photograph of White Russian by Brittany Conerly
Contrary to popular belief, to make delicious mixed drinks at home, you don't need a fully stocked bar, expensive bar tools, or tons of prep time. To prove it, I pulled together some of the easiest cocktail recipes for some of the best vodka cocktails that you can throw together when you're short on time and/or lazy, perfect for when you want to fix yourself something quick or invite your party guests to help themselves.
This mix of vodka cocktail recipes ranges from super-quick classics such as a 5-minute White Russian to a stylish (but still super easy) French Pear Martini.
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Vodka cocktail basics
Whether you're new to vodka drinks, or just need some new inspiration, start here
What are some easy vodka drinks?
Since vodka's flavor is barely detectable, it can be used to turn anything into a cocktail without changing your drink's flavor. Use it to spike a can of soda, iced tea, or orange juice a la the screwdriver cocktail. But the easiest and cleanest-tasting vodka drinks are vodka soda and vodka tonic.
What are some refreshing vodka drinks?
The Moscow mule, which is simply vodka, ginger beer, and fresh lime juice, is refreshing on a hot day. That hit of ginger and a thirst-quenching bit of lime juice will sate any thirst. The vodka highball with lemon and lime juice will also hit the spot when it's sweltering out.
What are some popular vodka cocktails?
Cocktails that are popular among vodka drinkers range from the very straightforward and potent vodka martini aka the Kangaroo to the coffee lover's espresso martini to the day-friendly Bloody Mary with tomato juice.
5-minute vodka cocktails
Short on time but want a satisfying sipper? These easy-to-make classic cocktails will do in a pinch.
Looking for a super easy cocktail to serve with brunch? All you need for this one is fresh grapefruit juice, vodka, salt, ice cubes, and lemon or lime wedges. You can even build it in the glass. The salted rim, which makes this a Salty Dog and not the similar drink called the Greyhound, not only enhances the citrus but helps give the impression that it took some effort to make this day-friendly drink.
There are several recipes for a boozy Arnold Palmer, either made with sweet tea vodka, bourbon, or limoncello. But this version stays true to the Arnold Palmer balance of iced tea and lemonade. Here you have the option to make it with store-bought lemonade and iced tea or go the homemade route if you're a DIYer. The recipe also includes instructions on batching a pitcher for a party.
For those who love screwdrivers with a little something extra, try the classic Harvey Wallbanger. Created in the 1950s, this drink adds Galliano, a sweet herbal liqueur, to that mixture of orange and vodka. For this recipe, you can either use fresh-squeezed orange juice or store-bought. But while some recipes have you build the cocktail in the glass, this one requires you use a cocktail shaker.
This crisp-tasting and easy-drinking classic vodka cocktail is credited with having introduced countless drinkers to the vodka spirit. And no, you don't need a copper mug to enjoy it; a Collins glass will do just fine. Simply squeeze lime juice into the glass, fill it with ice, add vodka, and then top with ginger beer.
Coffee lovers and fans of the movie The Big Lebowski are no strangers to the White Russian, a decadent drink that typically features Kahlua coffee liqueur and heavy cream. In this Yummly original recipe, we add a little amaro. Fun fact: You can forgo the cream and just use vodka and coffee liqueur, resulting in what's called a Black Russian.
The caipiroska is the vodka version of that popular Brazilian cachaça cocktail, the caipirinha. This drink can be made with any type of sugar. However, the recipe writer recommends using cane sugar and grinding it with a mortar and pestle first so it mixes better.
For an effervescent and thirst-quenching cocktail, build this vodka mojito. It'll take about 2 minutes to make, and you don't even need a shaker. Another great thing about this recipe is that it gives you the options to switch out the soda water for lemon-lime soda and the simple syrup for honey or maple syrup. You can easily tailor it to your tastes.
Drinks with flavored vodkas
No need to go through the trouble of infusing vodka when you just want to add an extra layer of flavor to your cocktail. For these easy cocktail recipes, flavored vodka will work just fine.
This simple lemon-y vodka cocktail by barman Dushan Zaric is a bestseller in his world-renowned bar Employees Only. And all you need to make it at home is Meyer lemon vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, a sprig of mint, and club soda.
You'll want to sip this sparkling spa water cocktail on the hottest of days. If you don't have cucumber vodka on hand, you can always cheat with cucumber sparkling water to bring in that flavor; it just won't be as prominent. Garnish with a sprig of mint or a pinch of dill weed.
This beer cocktail made with citrus vodka was inspired by how Blue Moon beer is usually served with an orange slice. But you don't need to use that brand, as any wheat beer or hefeweizen you prefer will work in its place.
Fresh-squeezed juice cocktails
The best way to ensure a great-tasting cocktail is by using fresh juice. These vodka recipes require some juicing and muddling but that extra bit of effort will totally pay off.
The beauty of this enduring classic is its simplicity. But do yourself a favor and forgo the canned orange juice when making it. All you need is the juice from one orange to pour in a glass with vodka and top with a splash of soda water to give it a bit of effervescence.
Even though you may have to run to the grocery store to fetch some of the ingredients of this cocktail, when it gets down to making it, it'll take no time at all. And the result is something refreshing, herbaceous, and fruity, plus it features a generous 2 ounces of citrus vodka.
The Berry Vodka Smash comes with a warning to be careful when imbibing since it goes down so easily. This porch pounder can be made with raspberries or blackberries. And if you don't have a shaker or muddler, the recipe recommends using a mason jar and wood spoon.
Looking for something a bit more interesting and potent than the classic wine spritzer? Muddle together strawberries, lemon, and agave syrup and then pour in vodka and sauvignon blanc with ice. Give it a good shake, strain into an ice-filled wine glass, and top with soda water.
If you've got some clementines (aka Cuties) kicking around the fruit bowl, whip up this beauty. All you need is a good, clean vodka and simple syrup. The recipe writer also recommends enjoying this with charred shishito peppers for a nice little happy hour at home.
For a fancy night in, try these easy but sophisticated vodka cocktails. Their only resemblance to the classic martini is that they're served in a martini glass, but that sure makes them feel elegant.
You don't have to be a fan of TV show Sex and the City to enjoy the drink it made famous. This vodka sour — like a margarita but with citrus vodka instead of tequila — is a classic in its own right: not only a pretty color but a tasty tipple. All it takes is citrus-flavored vodka, triple sec (preferably Cointreau), cranberry juice, and fresh lemon juice.
If you prefer a cocktail that is a well-balanced combination of tart and sweet, shake up a lemon drop martini. Its simplicity allows you to play with its flavors, such as adding a bit of Cointreau for an orange undertone or using floral simple syrups for a fun and pretty twist.
This is the vodka cocktail that launched a thousand martini glasses. Originally it was made with apple schnapps, which was fine when it was popular in the 1990s, but this new recipe updates it. Gone is the neon green schnapps, which has been replaced with apple brandy and Granny Smith apple juice for a more balanced flavor.
To make a traditional espresso martini you only need vodka, espresso, and Kahlua coffee liqueur, but this particular recipe encourages you to play with the flavors. For a dessert variation, make it with vanilla vodka instead of plain vodka and garnish it with chocolate-covered espresso beans.
This pretty drink takes the pear martini to an elegant level with a touch of elderflower sweetness and the effervescence of champagne. You also have the option to rim the glass with superfine sugar, but a slice of pear would be the perfect garnish on its own.
Want more cocktails?
Cheers to these additional cocktail articles from Yummly!