5 Classic Vodka Cocktail Recipes to Mix at Home

When it comes to the king of booze in the United States, vodka has been sitting at the top for a while (at least in terms of sales). The fact that it is at its heart a colorless and flavorless spirit lends itself to myriad iterations — there is literally a vodka at every price point you can imagine, from the cheapest, worst-tasting plastic handle vodka to the best craft vodka in America. These myriad options are only talking about plain vodka. There are also innumerable flavored vodkas that just grow that number to even greater heights.

One of the most basic benefits of vodka (after “it gets you drunk”) is that it mixes with basically everything. While you can use any of these mixes for a quick two ingredient drink that gets the job done, there are a number of classic vodka cocktails that, as a reader of The Manual, it’d be good to know off the top of your head.

Below, you’ll find five of the most classic vodka cocktail recipes out there. Master these and you’re on your way to calling yourself the best home bartender on the block.

Bloody Mary

bloody mary cocktails classic vodka cocktails
  • 2 oz vodka
  • 5 oz tomato juice
  • 5 tsp prepared horseradish
  • 3 dashes hot sauce, such as Frank’s Red Hot
  • 2-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 lime wedges
  • Lemon wedge
  • Celery salt
  • Black pepper
  • Celery stalk for garnish

Method: In a shaker, squeeze lemon and one lime wedge over ice. Add the other ingredients and shake well. Pour over ice in a tall glass and garnish with a celery stalk and a lime wedge. For extra flavor, float a few extra dashes of hot sauce on top.

The Cape Codder

cape codder cocktail
  • 2 oz vodka
  • 4 oz cranberry juice
  • 0.5 oz lime juice
  • lime wedge

Method: Add vodka and juices to a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with lime wedge.

Moscow Mule

classic vodka cocktails moscow mule
Photo by Amy Ellis Photography
  • 5 oz vodka
  • 4 oz ginger beer
  • 0.25 oz lime juice
  • Lime wheel

Method: Add crushed ice to a copper mug, followed by vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. Stir and garnish with a lime wheel.

(Note: If you want a Moscow Mule on steroids, check out the Mega Mule.)

Salty Dog

salty dog cocktail
  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • 3.5 oz grapefruit juice
  • Kosher salt
  • Lime wedge

Method: Pour kosher salt onto a plate. Moisten rim of glass with a split lime wedge, then gently coat rim with salt. Add ice, vodka, and grapefruit juice.

White Russian

classic vodka cocktail recipes white russian
Amy Ellis Photography
  • 1.5 parts vodka
  • 2 parts coffee liqueur
  • 3 parts cream

Method: In an Old Fashioned glass, pour vodka and coffee liqueur over a large cube or ball of ice. Float cream on top and stir slowly.

Last updated September 5, 2018, to include details of The Manual Spirit Awards 2018.

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