The Best Vodka Cocktails That Aren’t Martinis

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There are few cocktails more iconic than the martini. Long before I was of drinking age, if I thought about a classy older person, they were likely drinking one. They were also probably wearing a monocle, had a curly mustache, and might have loosely resembled Mr. Peanut (I had a vivid imagination).

Point being: The martini is definitely one of (if not the) most well-known cocktails. It’s simple (vodka or gin, vermouth, and maybe an olive garnish) and is the go-to drink for iconic secret agents (James Bond), world leaders (Winston Churchill), and actors (Humphrey Bogart). Obviously, gin is the more well-known martini ingredient. But, in the summer, gin gets enough press. It’s vodka’s time to shine.

The martini is a drink so good it deserves its own day (today!). But, after you’ve had your fill of the drink “shaken, not stirred” you’re probably going to want to drink something else. Why not stay on brand and shake up another classic, vodka-based cocktail? You don’t even have to go skimming through cocktail books to find one. Just try one of our favorites listed below.

Bloody Mary

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The king (or, more likely, queen) of the breakfast cocktails, the Bloody Mary gets its base from vodka. Usually made in a highball glass, the drink also contains tomato juice, lemon juice, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, horseradish, and any number of ridiculous toppings from bacon to whole cheeseburgers.

White Russian

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Jeffrey Lebowski’s favorite cocktail is not one that you’ll enjoy if you’re lactose-intolerant. That’s because this vodka-based drinks also contains coffee liqueur and heavy cream. It’s like a delicious, vodka-fueled milkshake.


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The screwdriver is one of the best two-ingredient cocktails ever conceived. That’s because it’s made up of only vodka and orange juice. Honestly, there’s nothing else in this drink. But, be weary of this sweet cocktail because the alcohol content will sneak up on you and end your night early if you’re not careful.

Vodka Tom Collins

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The Tom Collins is a classy drink that is perfectly suited for a day at the beach, yachting, or ajust as an accompaniment to listening to yacht rock like Hall & Oats. Originating in the late 1800s, this cocktail is made up of vodka (or gin), lemon juice, simple syrup, and carbonated water.

Moscow Mule

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This classic cocktail has seen a resurgence in recent years and a variation can be found on pretty much every cocktail menu in America. It’s simple and spicy, getting its flavors from vodka, ginger beer, and lime. It’s usually served in a copper mug just to give the whole process a little more pomp and circumstance.

Harvey Wallbanger

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There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the invention of this drink. For years people believed that a LA-based bartender named this mixture of vodka, orange juice, and Galliano after surfer who would frequent his bar. But, according to bartending historians, that story is a complete fabrication made up in order to sell Galliano. Whether made up or not, the story did its job and now the world gets to enjoy this delicious, summer drink.

Salty Dog

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This drink is like the paloma for people who don’t like tequila. It’s pretty much the same recipe (vodka and grapefruit juice) with vodka added instead of tequila. It even has a salted rim to complete the mimicking.


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According to cocktail historian David Wondrich, the Kamikaze (which was created in the late 70s) is the first recorded shooter in history. But, it’s much better in cocktail from –with vodka, triple sec, and lime juice.

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