By Cassie Damewood

The natural taste of coconut is slightly sweet and pairs well with the tastes of other fruits in desserts and beverages. In cocktails, coconut-flavored vodka imparts the tropical essence into the drinks without adding coconut cream or milk and complements the tastes of the other ingredients.

Coconut vodka adds a tropical twist to cocktails.

Refreshing, Simple Combinations

When combined with various fruit juices and poured over ice in a tall glass, coconut vodka makes a cool, bracing cocktail. For a light version of a pina colada, combine a shot or two of the flavored vodka with pineapple juice. Mix it with orange and cranberry juice and add an orange slice for a Calypso Cooler. Substitute pineapple juice for the orange and garnish with a pineapple spear to make a Bay Breeze. If you prefer fizzy cocktails, jazz up lemon-lime soda and lime juice with a shot of coconut vodka and add a handful of crushed ice.

Mock Martinis and Cosmos

Blend coconut vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and ice in a cocktail shaker, strain into a martini glass and perch a lime wheel on the side for a Caribbean Cosmo. Muddle some kaffir lime leaves with sugar in the bottom of a cocktail shaker, add a shot of coconut vodka, lime juice and ice, shake and strain into a sugar-rimmed martini glass for a tart cocktail. An eye-catching azure colored Tahitian martini is a combination of coconut vodka, pineapple juice and blue Curacao.

Sweet Endings

Instead of a conventional dessert to end a meal, try a sweet coconut vodka drink. Chocolate lovers can mix coconut vodka, Irish cream liqueur, white crème de cacao, fresh cream and ice in a shaker and strain into a chilled glass garnished with a chocolate swizzle stick. To recreate a childhood favorite, make a coconut push-up cocktail with coconut vodka, vanilla liqueur and orange juice and sprinkle some toasted coconut on top for extra taste. German chocolate cake fans enjoy the flavors created by combining Irish cream, white crème de cacao and coconut vodka and serving the mixture in a martini glass rimmed with a mixture of sugar, cocoa powder and freshly shaved coconut.

Coconut Vodka Tips

Store coconut vodka in the freezer or refrigerator for maximum flavor. Since it is one of the more delicately tinged varieties of flavored vodkas, choose other ingredients carefully and in limited quantities to avoid overpowering the coconut taste. Using strongly flavored cocktail mixers, like sweetened cream of coconut, will mask the taste of the vodka.