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20 Best Vodka Drinks To Order At A Bar For 2024

vodka drinks to order at a bar

Last Updated on April 2, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Vodka is America’s most well-loved spirit — the entire country downed 79.6 million 9-liter cases in 2020 alone.

It’s also one of the best alcohols to mix into cocktails because it’s flavorless and won’t clash with the other mixers in the drink.

So, if you’re ready to say goodbye to shots and say hello to classic vodka cocktails, we asked bartenders what are the best vodka drinks to order at a bar. 

Top 20 Popular Vodka Cocktails To Order At Bars

1. Screwdriver

Screwdriver

The Screwdriver’s simplicity makes it one of the most popular vodka cocktails. It’s made with only two ingredients: orange juice and vodka.

With only two ingredients, their freshness and quality can make or break the entire drink.

“Younger crowd likes a good vodka cocktail as much as we do here.”
-Victorino Matus, Writer

It’s best to use high-quality vodka for this refreshing drink and to avoid using pulpy orange juice, which can result in an unpleasant mouthfeel.

2. Berry Vodka Smash

Berry Vodka Smash

The Berry Vodka Smash is one of the best vodka cocktails you can order at bars.

It features the flavors of mint, berries, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup or sugar alongside the quintessential vodka.

It helps to muddle the fresh mint leaves so their natural juices are extracted and incorporated into your drink.

It’s best to order this during not-so-busy nights at bars so the bartender has time to muddle the mint leaves.

3. Espresso Martini

Espresso Martini cocktail

Combining coffee and martini sounds like a dream come true for people who are fans of both beverages.

Thankfully, that dream comes to fruition with the Espresso Martini. It combines vodka, coffee liqueur, and espresso, garnished with a few coffee beans. It’s served to you in a dainty martini glass.

We love how this elegant cocktail appeals to the late-night crowd looking for an after-dinner dessert drink (us included).

4. Madras

Madras

The Madras is an excellent choice for people looking for something tangy and flavorful.

It mixes vodka, orange and cranberry juice, and club soda, garnished with an orange slice.

The only way to get the best glass of Madras is to use fresh ingredients.

5. Vodka Sour

Vodka Sour

The Vodka Sour combines vodka, lemon juice, sugar, and an egg white inside a cocktail shaker for a deliciously frothy drink.

If the bartender knows what he’s doing, he’ll probably do a dry shake so the frothy egg white sits beautifully on top.

6. Vodka Collins

Vodka Collins

The Vodka Collins is the perfect drink for hot summer nights and whenever you go to the bar.

This cocktail drink is made with vodka, lemon juice, sugar, and club soda and served in a Highball glass with lots of ice cubes.

One of the things we love about this drink is how it’s sweet and tart at the same time.

7. Vodka Gimlet

Vodka Gimlet

The Vodka Gimlet uses simple ingredients you’ll find in your pantry, but it’s still a great idea to see how the local bar serves theirs.

You only need two ingredients to build this delicious vodka cocktail: high-quality vodka and fresh lime juice, garnished with a lime wedge.

8. Cosmopolitan

Cosmopolitan cocktail

The Cosmopolitan is one of the world’s most popular vodka cocktails, largely thanks to Sex and the City.

This feminine and classy drink combines cranberry juice, lime, triple sec, and vodka in a dainty cocktail glass.

This drink is perfect for ordering during Happy Hour when you’ve just finished work with your office girlfriends.

Here are more drinks to order at a bar for women

9. Mudslide

Mudslide

The Mudslide is similar to a White Russian but uses Irish cream liqueur instead of heavy cream.

This creamy cocktail drink can also be served shaken with ice or blended like a smoothie.

The Irish cream adds a light, floral touch to this cocktail drink, courtesy of Irish whiskey

10. Moscow Mule

Moscow Mule

Contrary to the name, the Moscow Mule didn’t originate from Moscow, Russia, but in Los Angeles in the 1940s.

The name Moscow Mule originated from Americans associating vodka with Russia and is made by mixing vodka, ginger beer, and lime. [1

This classic vodka cocktail is traditionally served inside a copper mug, which helps keep the ginger beer fizzy for longer. Use fresh lime wedge as a garnish to this sweet-and-sour vodka cocktail.

11. Sea Breeze

Sea Breeze

As the name suggests, the Sea Breeze is best sipped when enjoying the breeze by the sea (pun intended).

It is one of the best vodka cocktails to order at a bar because it is excellent and refreshing. This cocktail drink contains grapefruit juice, vodka, and cranberry juice, served in a rocks glass with lots of ice.

Some people consider this cocktail closely related to Cape Coddler (made with vodka and cranberry) or Bay Breeze (made with vodka, pineapple, and cranberry).

12. Vodka Sidecar

Vodka Sidecar on desk

If the cocktail drink has the word “sidecar” in it, you can expect it to have orange flavors in the mix. It is one of the popular vodka cocktails that bartenders always recommend if you don’t want something complicated.

Likewise, the Vodka Sidecar uses simple ingredients like vodka, orange liqueur, and lime juice, garnished with an orange slice.

Judging from the ingredients alone, we like its deliciously tart profile, so if that’s up your alley, this is the drink to go for. Here are more simple mixed drinks to order at a bar

13. Vodka Spritzer 

Vodka Spritzer

The Vodka Spritzer is another simple vodka cocktail made by combining sparkling water and high-quality vodka.

Some bars add fruits and herbs, like lemon, mint sprigs, and cherries, to their Vodka Spritzer.

It is one of the best drinks to order at a bar because it’s highly refreshing yet tame at the same time for those just starting to get into vodka cocktails.

14. Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary cocktail

The Bloody Mary is a classic vodka cocktail often paired with brunch, but it is one of the most popular vodka drinks to order at a bar.

It’s a cocktail on the savory side, made with more unconventional mixers like tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and horseradish, and served with celery salt and a celery stick.  

The Bloody Mary is one of those classic vodka cocktails everyone knows and is one of our personal favorites because of the depth and complexity of the tomato juice.

Order one for yourself the next time you’re out so you know what we’re talking about.

15. Black Russian

Black Russian

Black Russian is one of the most popular vodka cocktails; many consider it White Russian’s older brother.

Unlike other classic vodka cocktails, it is made by omitting the cream part from the latter, which leaves you with only vodka and coffee liqueur.

Some bars add a Maraschino cherry as the proverbial cherry on top of the vodka and coffee liqueur. But what vodka is made in Russia?

16. White Russian

White Russian

The White Russian is a sweet and creamy cocktail that could also double as dessert, making it the perfect drink to order after a romantic dinner date.

Some people think it’s a complicated drink, but it’s pretty straightforward: combine vodka, coffee liqueur, and cream [2].

You can use milk as a cheaper alternative, but as observed, White Russian made with milk tends to be a bit thin.

It’s better to ask for high-quality cream or half-and-half for the best vodka cocktails with a rich sweetness.

Read: White Russian & Black Russian Compared

17. Vodka Cranberry

Vodka Cranberry

The Vodka Cranberry is one of the most popular vodka cocktails you will love ordering at bars.

However, some people find cranberry juice too overpowering, and the vodka doesn’t do much to mask its tartness.

The best way to combat this is to use fresh cranberry juice in the vodka cranberry classic cocktail, which is naturally sweeter.

18. Vodka Soda

Vodka Soda

Like the Vodka Tonic, Vodka Soda mixes vodka and soda water.

It’s one of the best vodka cocktails to order at bars, primarily because some establishments are known to make this in batches you can order for yourself and your friends. 

Vodka soda is also easy to make, so you can try it if you want to make one at home.

Read: Top Buzzballs Flavors Ranked

19. Lemon Drop Martini

Lemon Drop Martini

Instead of ordering the classic cocktail Vodka Martini [3], try the Lemon Drop Martini if you want lip-smackingly tart.

This classic vodka cocktail combines vodka, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup and is garnished with a lemon slice and Maraschino cherry.

We find that it’s the perfect balance of sweet and sour from the simple syrup and lemon juice, and you’ll enjoy sipping on it on a night out.

20. Vodka Tonic

Vodka Tonic

Aside from the Vodka Martini, the Vodka Tonic is one of the most basic vodka cocktails to order at a bar.

It’s made by combining one part of vodka with two parts of tonic water, served in a Highball glass with lots of ice.

You can also add fresh lime juice, but it’s not necessary.

“With vodka, every cocktail is a chance to explore a new flavor frontier.”

-Liquor Laboratory

It is a safe and refreshing cocktail to order if you’re unsure which one to go for. It’s also got low calories to boot.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a good vodka drink to order at a bar?

When ordering a vodka drink at a bar, you have plenty of options to choose from. Here are some popular vodka cocktails that are commonly enjoyed:

Vodka Martini: A classic cocktail made with vodka and dry vermouth, garnished with a lemon twist or olive. It can be served shaken or stirred, depending on your preference.

Moscow Mule: A refreshing cocktail made with vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, typically served in a copper mug. The combination of spicy ginger beer and citrusy lime complements the smoothness of vodka.

Cosmopolitan: A stylish cocktail made with vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, and freshly squeezed lime juice. It’s known for its vibrant pink color and tangy-sweet flavor profile.

Bloody Mary: A savory cocktail made with vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and various spices. It’s often garnished with celery, olives, or pickles and enjoyed as a brunch or hangover remedy.

Vodka Soda: A simple and refreshing cocktail made with vodka, soda water, and a splash of lime juice or flavored syrup. It’s a low-calorie option that allows the clean flavor of vodka to shine through.

These are just a few examples of vodka drinks you can order at a bar. Feel free to explore the menu and ask the bartender for recommendations based on your taste preferences.

Which drink is best for vodka?

The “best” drink for vodka largely depends on personal preference and individual taste. Vodka is a versatile spirit that can be enjoyed in a wide variety of cocktails, ranging from classic martinis to fruity and refreshing mixed drinks. Some popular vodka cocktails that highlight the spirit’s smoothness and versatility include:

Vodka Martini: A timeless classic made with vodka and dry vermouth, served with a lemon twist or olive garnish. It’s a sophisticated cocktail that allows the clean flavor of vodka to shine through.

Moscow Mule: A refreshing and zesty cocktail made with vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, typically served in a copper mug. The combination of spicy ginger beer and citrusy lime complements the smoothness of vodka.

Cosmopolitan: A stylish and vibrant cocktail made with vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, and freshly squeezed lime juice. It’s known for its pink hue and tangy-sweet flavor profile.

Bloody Mary: A savory and spicy cocktail made with vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and various spices. It’s often garnished with celery, olives, or pickles and enjoyed as a brunch or hangover cure.

Vodka Soda: A simple and refreshing highball cocktail made with vodka, soda water, and a splash of lime juice or flavored syrup. It’s a low-calorie option that highlights the clean and crisp taste of vodka.

Ultimately, the “best” vodka drink is subjective and varies depending on individual preferences. Whether you prefer classic cocktails, fruity concoctions, or simple highballs, there’s a vodka drink out there to suit every taste.

What’s good to mix with vodka?

Vodka is a versatile spirit that pairs well with a wide range of mixers, allowing you to create endless variations of cocktails. Some popular mixers that complement the clean and neutral flavor of vodka include:

Juices: Freshly squeezed fruit juices such as orange, cranberry, pineapple, and grapefruit can add sweetness and acidity to vodka cocktails, creating refreshing and flavorful drinks.

Sodas: Clear sodas such as soda water, tonic water, and lemon-lime soda are popular mixers for vodka, adding effervescence and a crisp finish to cocktails.

Flavored Syrups: Sweetened flavored syrups such as simple syrup, grenadine, and raspberry syrup can add depth and complexity to vodka cocktails, enhancing their flavor profile.

Citrus: Fresh citrus fruits such as lemon, lime, and orange can be used as garnishes or muddled into cocktails to add brightness and acidity to vodka drinks.

Herbs and Spices: Fresh herbs such as mint, basil, and rosemary, as well as spices like ginger and cinnamon, can be used to infuse vodka cocktails with aromatic and savory flavors.

Ultimately, the best mixer for vodka depends on personal preference and the desired flavor profile of the cocktail. Experimenting with different mixers and flavor combinations can help you discover new and exciting vodka cocktails to enjoy.

How do you ask for vodka at a bar?

Asking for vodka at a bar is a common occurrence, and it’s essential to do so with clarity and politeness. Here’s a guide on how to effectively request vodka at a bar:

Be Polite and Clear: Approach the bartender with a friendly demeanor and make eye contact to signal that you’re ready to place your order. Use polite language and speak clearly to ensure your request is understood.

Specify Your Preference: Vodka can be enjoyed in various ways, so it’s helpful to specify how you’d like yours served. Whether you prefer it neat, on the rocks, or mixed into a cocktail, be clear about your preference to ensure you receive the drink you desire.

Choose Your Mixer or Cocktail: If you’re ordering vodka as part of a cocktail or mixed drink, specify the mixer or cocktail you’d like. For example, if you’re in the mood for a vodka soda, vodka cranberry, or vodka martini, let the bartender know your choice.

Provide Additional Instructions: If you have specific preferences or dietary restrictions, such as requesting a gluten-free vodka or asking for a particular brand, feel free to communicate these to the bartender. They’ll do their best to accommodate your needs and preferences.

Ask Questions if Unsure: If you’re unfamiliar with the bar’s drink menu or unsure about the options available, don’t hesitate to ask the bartender for recommendations or clarification. They’re there to assist you and can provide guidance based on your taste preferences.
Sample Phrases for Ordering Vodka:

“Excuse me, could I please have a vodka soda with a splash of lime?”
“I’d like to order a vodka martini, shaken, not stirred, please.”
“May I have a glass of vodka on the rocks, please?”
“Could you make me a Moscow Mule with vodka, ginger beer, and lime, please?”
“I’ll have a vodka cranberry, please, with a twist of lime if possible.”

Remember to thank the bartender after placing your order, and be patient while they prepare your drink. By following these tips and communicating clearly, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience when ordering vodka at a bar.

Final Verdict: Vodka Drinks To Order At A Bar

Our favorite vodka drink to order at a bar is the Screwdriver, made by mixing two very common ingredients: vodka and orange juice. The simplicity of this fruity drink makes it fantastic and perfect for you and your friends as you dance the night away. 

Other fantastic vodka mixed drinks include the Espresso Martini [4], Bloody Mary, and Cosmopolitan, all with varying creamy, savory, and tangy flavors. 

You’ll notice that establishments carry plenty of vodka mixed drinks because this spirit has a subtle and versatile flavor that will complement many different mixers.

Unlike more flavorful spirits like whiskey or gin, vodkas are made for cocktail building. 

References: 

  1. ‘The Great’ on Hulu: How Was the Moscow Mule Really Invented?
  2. White Russian
  3. Vodka Martini
  4. Espresso Martini

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