Last Updated on October 26, 2023 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
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
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
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).
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
Contrary to the name, the Moscow Mule didn’t originate from Moscow, Russia, but in Los Angeles in the 1940s.
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
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
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
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
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 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
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 .
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.
17. 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
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.
19. Lemon Drop Martini
Instead of ordering the classic cocktail Vodka Martini , 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
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.”
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.
Is there a low-calorie vodka drink to order at a bar?
Yes, plenty of low-calorie vodka drinks are available at a bar. Gin and Tonic, Vodka Soda, and Vodka Spritzer are popular vodka cocktails with very few calories for people watching their weight.
On the other hand, vodka cocktail recipes that use lemon juice, soda, grapefruit juice, other fruit juices, and cream mixers pack on the calories, so watch out for those.
How much does a vodka drink usually cost at a bar?
On average, popular vodka cocktails range from $5 to $15 at a bar. That can be expensive, especially if you’re familiar with making vodka cocktails from scratch.
But hey, if you’re having fun with friends at a bar, that is a priceless experience.
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 , 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.