In celebrating "National Vodka Day", I offer up some cocktails that are classic and will look very familiar to most while others are originals with my own personal twists. The suggested vodka brand used for each cocktail is intentional based on it's character and tasting notes in relation to other ingredients. Of course, as always, you are welcome to use your own favorite vodka, but it's important to have a well-balanced cocktail even with vodka's subtle taste qualities.
A much needed upgrade from the Kool Aid tasting and looking Sour Apple Martini. Thus cocktail has a sophistication with tart acidity and a natural sweetness with the use of fresh fruit ingredients. Use a vodka with much acidity featuring fruit and citrus. A vodka made from mixed grains or wheat works best, like Pearl or Grey Goose.
- 1 oz Pearl Vodka
- 1/2 oz Calvados (French pear brandy)
- 1 oz fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 1 oz green apple puree*
- 1 tbsp egg white
In a mixing glass, add all ingredients. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with 3 drops of Peychaud's bitters.
* Fresh Green Apple Puree - 2 lbs Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored, and quartered), 2 oz fresh lemon juice, 1 cup of water, and 1.5 oz sugar. Heat over high heat in a saucepan, bring to a boil, then simmer. Cook the apples until soft (20 mins), remove from heat and allow to cool. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth mixture. Fine strain and seal in fridge for 3 days.
- 1.5 oz TRU Organic Vodka
- 1/2 oz FRUITLAB Ginger Liqueur
- 1/2 oz Combier d'Orange
- 1/2 oz white cranberry juice cocktail
- 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
In a mixing glass, add all ingredients. Shake well. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish piece of ginger candy and/or lime slice.
This fruit-centric cocktail has diverse fruit flavors with elements of citrus, floral, and slight bitterness. A potato base vodka, such as Boyd & Blair, works well to soften the bitter and floral characteristics.
- 1.5 oz Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka
- 1/2 oz Aperol
- 3/4 oz Elderflower Liq, such as St. Germain
- 3/4 oz fresh ruby red grapefruit juice
- 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
In a mixing glass, add all ingredients. Shake well. Strain into a chilled champagne saucer. Garnish a grapefruit peel.
A great dessert cocktail using a creamy Old World vodka to offset the citrus. Lemon Merangue pie in a glass. Serves 4.
- 1 pint of lemon sorbet, slightly softened
- 4 oz Christiania Vodka or Alsolut Elyx from the freezer
- 1 oz Limoncello from the freezer
- 8 oz chilled Prosecco
In a mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Add chilled Prosecco and stir to blend. Transfer to a pitcher and serve in chilled champagne flutes. Garnish lemon zest.
A twist on the classic dessert cocktail the Black Russian with the addition of a classic Amaro, a bitter herbal aperitif from Italy. Best to use an Old World Russian-style vodka with spice, cocoa, and vanilla, such as Stoli.
- 2 oz Stolichnaya Vodka
- 1 oz Kahlua
- 1/2 oz Ramazzotti Amaro
In a mixing glass, add all ingredients and stir well. Strain into an ice-filled Old Fashioned or rocks glass. Serve with a stick of rock candy.