When preparing a shopping list of liquors for the home bar, vodka will be at the top of the list. A distilled beverage, vodka is one of the most popular liquors. Its mild flavor makes it a suitable ingredient for countless cocktails. While traditional vodka lacks a strong flavor, flavored vodkas are available for making specialty drinks.

Traditional Martini

Vodka or gin is the primary ingredient for the classic martini. The traditional vodka martini begins by adding a touch of vermouth to the vodka and gently blending the ingredients in a shaker of ice, before serving straight up or on the rocks. Stuffed green olives are the standard garnish for the drink, and when pearl onions garnish the cocktail instead of olives, the martini becomes a Gibson.

Flavored Martini

The standard martini morphed into the flavored martini when creative bartenders began adding flavored liquor or flavored vodka to the cocktail instead of vermouth. Flavored martini recipes include apple martinis, chocolate martinis, watermelon martinis and cherry martinis. Other ingredients added to a flavored martini recipe might include lime juice, Triple Sec or a splash of fruit juice.

Bloody Mary

Queen Mary I, eldest daughter of Henry VIII, earned the nickname “Bloody Mary” for her bloody persecution of religious dissenters during the 1500s. The popular Bloody Mary cocktail derives its name from Mary I’s nickname. The Bloody Mary cocktail is tomato juice, vodka and a blend of seasonings and spices to create a spicy tomato beverage. It is popular as a morning cocktail and some claim it is the cure to a hangover.

Fruit Juice

Add vodka to any fruit juice to make an alcoholic cocktail. For a Screwdriver, mix a shot of vodka with orange juice. A splash of Galliano turns a Screwdriver into a Harvey Wallbanger. Vodka and grapefruit juice become a Greyhound, and for a Cape Cod, add the vodka to cranberry juice. Combine two juices with the vodka to create other cocktails, such as the Bay Breeze, made with vodka, cranberry juice and orange juice.


Pina coladas are a well-known tropical drink made with rum, pineapple and coconut. A similar drink, made with vodka instead of rum, is the Chi Chi. Other tropical vodka cocktails include the Blue Hawaiian, Tropical Itch and Sex on the Beach.

Bar Guns

Commercial bars typically have bar guns, which serve up soda water, tonic water and lemon and lime soda. Each of these can be combined with a shot of vodka to create a cocktail.