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Vodka is the most versatile of all distilled spirits. It exists in practically every entrepreneurial culture around the world because it can be distilled from any fermented starch or grain that is abundant in a locale including barley, wheat or rye, and even potatoes. Since vodka is almost purely alcohol and water, it has little taste or smell, making it an excellent base for every variety of mixed drink. Vodka is available in alcoholic strengths of 35 to 50 percent or 70 to 100 proof. There are two basic varieties of vodka-over-ice drinks: alone with an optional garnish or mixed with some combination of fruit juice.

Fill a short tumbler with ice to the brim.

Pour 2 fingers depth of vodka (2 oz.). Add a touch of chilled water if desired.

Garnish to taste by putting lemon or lime slice over the rim, or stick olives or pearl onions on a toothpick.

Serve with a stirrer, coaster and cocktail napkin.

Fill a tall glass with ice to the brim.

Pour 2 1/2 fingers depth of vodka (2 1/2 oz.), fill to 1/2 inch from brim with your choice of chilled juice, such as cranberry, orange, apple, tomato, or any combination.

Garnish with orange slices for sweet juice drinks.

Serve with a tall stirrer or cocktail straw, coaster and cocktail napkin.


Two fingers depth is a measurement to assure that a woman's drink is less vodka than a man's drink because of her size. Fresh mixers and garnishes are always the preference when making cold drinks. Alcoholic beverages are always best in moderation and shared with good friends.


Never use the same glasses for alcoholic drinks that you use for milk and milk products.

About the Author

Pauline Gill

Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.