Vodka’s neutral flavor profile makes it one of the best spirts to create cocktails with, and we’ve already written about some of our favorite vodka cocktails. While there’s nothing wrong with drinking vodka neat — sipping a top-shelf vodka can be quite delightful — some of the best ways to enjoy the spirit are with mixers. What’s especially fantastic about vodka is you can make several delicious drinks with just two ingredients: vodka and the mixer of your choice.
Vodka is so versatile, the problem becomes deciding what kind of vodka cocktail you’re in the mood for on any given day. You can go the savory route with Bloody Mary Mix or sweet with orange or pineapple juice. Of course, you can always keep things tame and refreshing with old favorites like soda water. Whatever you’re in the mood for, the best vodka mixers below have you covered.
Keep reading and stock up your home bar with everything you need for a refreshing vodka cocktail at home.
1. Tonic Water
Tonic water is not only a must-have mixer for vodka lovers, it’s a cornerstone in the bartending world. It’s refreshing, with a slight bitterness provided by the quinine (fun fact: quinine was used to treat malaria back in the day). Really the only downside to using tonic water in your vodka cocktails is the high sugar content.
2. Soda Water & Sparkling Mineral Water
Soda water, also known as club soda, is an absolute go to as a mixer. If you like the taste of vodka or want to avoid sugary mixers (see also: everything else on this list), soda water can be used to dilute vodka’s bite while adding a little carbonation. Using soda water is a tried and true way to create delicious cocktails, especially if you’re trying to limit your carb and sugar intake. Our go-to brands include Schweppes and Canada Dry
For a more sophisticated low-calorie drink, spend a few dollars more and get sparkling mineral water instead. Unlike standard club soda, true mineral water comes from a natural spring, which is why restaurants charge a premium for S. Pellegrino and Perrier. To create the perfect at-home vodka cocktail, simply combine S. Pellegrino, vodka and crushed fruit of your choice over ice.
3. La Croix
Yes, there is a difference between seltzer and soda water. Both seltzer water like La Croix and club soda are made from water carbonated with carbon-dioxide (CO2); however, soda water also contains minerals like sodium bicarbonate, which gives it a slightly salty, mineral taste. On the other hand, seltzer water is usually mixed with low-calorie flavoring instead of minerals. We’re big fans of La Croix’s flavors, which are a great simple mixer for vodka.
4. Orange Juice
Orange Juice doesn’t quite get the love it deserves as a vodka cocktail mixer. Mimosas are more popular when it comes to brunch, but Screwdrivers pack a little more punch, and are actually a little more smooth without the heavy carbonation of champagne. The sweetness does wonders to mask the bite of the vodka, plus, you still get your vitamin C along with a nice little buzz in the morning.
5. Ginger Beer
A little spicy and incredibly refreshing, ginger beer pairs perfect with vodka’s neutral characteristics. Really all you need is a good ginger beer and the vodka of your choice to make a Moscow Mule, but when you add a little bit of lime to the mix, it takes the Mule to another level of deliciousness.
6. Bloody Mary Mix
There are actually quite a few ingredients that go into a Bloody Mary. To get a Bloody Mary just right takes some practice, or a decent Bloody Mary Mix. This mixer is seasoned with celery salt, black pepper and pepper sauce for a little kick. It’s savory, rich and a great way to quickly make a great Bloody Mary without all of the hassle.
7. Red Bull
Need a pick me up? Red Bulls are a good mixer to get the party started. On those nights where you are on the fence about going out, a vodka Red Bull can provide that extra pep in your step that you need, all while giving you a buzz. We don’t recommend drinking these all night, that is, unless you don’t plan on falling asleep until next Wednesday.
8. Pineapple Juice
Pineapple Juice might seem like a bit too tropical for vodka, especially since those drinks are usually in Rum’s courtyard, but the heavily acidic taste of pineapple juice does wonders to mask the taste of vodka. And when you don’t have any rum handy, vodka can serve as a delicious substitute for a Piña Colada.
9. Arnold Palmer
Turn that Arnold Palmer into a John Daily with a little vodka in the mix. An Arnold Palmer consists of half iced tea and half lemonade, and make for an absolutely delicious summertime drink. It’s sweet, citrusy, and with a little vodka, there are few better ways to spend a hot summer day than with this cocktail in your hand.
10. Cranberry Juice
Cranberry Juice is the backbone for great vodka cocktails like the Cosmopolitan and Sea Breeze, but really, when your liquor cabinet and fridge is a little bare, cranberry juice and vodka are all you really need for a good cocktail. Cranberry has powerful and somewhat sour tasting notes, which can lightly flavor, or completely mask the vodka depending on how much you add. If your bottle of vodka is plastic and costs less than eight bucks, you might want to go heavy on the cranberry, boss.
11. Lemon-Lime Soda
You might be noticing a reoccurring theme with vodka mixers here — citrus flavoring. Lemon Lime sodas, like a Sprite or 7Up, are great vodka mixers, especially in a pinch. Because of the citrusy notes, you don’t really need lemon or lime garnish, and the carbonation brings a slight, yet satisfying burn when you sip your cocktail. Just don’t go too heavy on this particular vodka mixer, because like tonic water, they pack a ton of sugar. Try using the Sprite mini cans so you have just enough to mix your evening cocktails.