Start to Finish: 3 minutes
Servings: 1
Difficulty Level: Beginner

Sipping a cold, fizzy vodka tonic is a surefire way to put you in summertime mindset, even in the dead of winter. Like many classic cocktails, this is simple to make. Use high-quality vodka, regular or diet vodka and fresh citrus to make a drink that tastes clean and tart.


  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 3 ounces tonic water
  • Lime or lemon wedges


Fill a rocks glass halfway with ice.

Pour in the vodka and tonic water. Squeeze the lime or lemon wedge over the glass, then drop the fruit into the drink. Gently stir the drink.

Take a taste and make adjustments as needed. If the drink is too strong, add more tonic or citrus juice; if it’s too bitter, you may have too much tonic, so add a splash more of vodka.

Make individual vodka tonics just as they’re needed. This isn’t a cocktail to mix in large batches. Allowed to sit, the tonic will flatten and the ice will melt, diluting the drink.

Measuring and Ratios

If you don’t own a jigger — a small two-sided cup used to measure liquid ounces — you can measure the vodka and tonic using tablespoons. Use 3 tablespoons of vodka and 6 tablespoons of tonic to make this recipe.

The 1-to-2 ratio of vodka to tonic is commonly used to make this cocktail, but it’s not your only option. After making your first drink, you can play with the proportions until you mix a drink that suits your taste. You may prefer a stronger drink made with equal parts vodka and tonic, or want to use three parts vodka to every five parts of tonic.

Twists on a Classic

Because a vodka tonic is so simple and clean, it’s well suited to experimentation. Add sweetness and additional flavor using fruit and herbs.

  • Substitute lemonade, orange juice, grapefruit juice or lemon-lime soda for half the tonic.
  • Tart cranberry flavor complements the bitter edge of a vodka tonic perfectly. Add a splash of cranberry juice to the finished drink. Alternatively, muddle a few cranberries with a tablespoon of simple syrup — a mixture of equal parts sugar and water — in the bottom of the rocks glass before adding ice and liquid.
  • Mash strawberries or raspberries with a teaspoon of sugar at the bottom of the glass.
  • Stir whole mint or basil leaves into the drink.
  • Experiment with different vodka flavors. Any fruit-flavored variety will work.