With a 1990s drinks revival in full swing and a wealth of new bottles capturing the spirit’s nuances on the market, vodka cocktails are finally getting their due. The Dukes’ Martini is having a moment stateside, the equally adored and reviled Espresso Martini continues its reign and bartenders are putting sophisticated spins on everything from infamous “one and ones” to chaotic college cocktails.
To fully take part in the vodka renaissance, here are the vodka classics to know, from boozy, stirred drinks to fruit-forward throwbacks.
Murderously dry and cold and cherished by some as the definitive expression of the Martini.
A grapefruit-flavored vodka makes the base of this bright cocktail.
Patrick Smith’s Espresso Martini
Vanilla liqueur adds a fulsome, candied quality to this version.
The British-born modern classic.
A vodka-based buck made with ginger beer.
A variation that calls for both new and old-school coffee liqueurs and amaretto-spiked whipped cream.
Sarah Morrissey’s Cosmopolitan
A textbook example of the citrusy classic.
State Street Bloody Mary
A Sriracha-tinged take from the author of a book on the Bloody Mary.
The French Martini combines vodka, Chambord raspberry liqueur and pineapple juice.
Jelani Johnson’s Vesper
A vodka-forward rendition of James Bond's Martini of choice.
Long Island Iced Tea
A modern update from Columbia Room's Paul Taylor.
William Elliott’s Cape Codder
This riff on the vodka-cranberry gets added depth from a dash of Angostura and a soda water topper.
A pioneer of fruit-forward 'tinis.
Dale DeGroff’s Alabama Slammer
Dale DeGroff's take on this '70s and '80s Roll Tide! rallying cry of a drink.