By Christina Uticone

Vodka is often referred to as a "neutral spirit". It's mild taste and aroma makes it easy to mix with other ingredients to make cocktails. Pineapple juice has a strong, distinctive flavor and is a popular cocktail mixer. The two ingredients can be combined to form a variety of cocktails.

Using pineapple juice in your cocktails adds flavor and Vitamin C.

Basic Pineapple and Vodka

The simplest cocktail combination of these two ingredients is a vodka and pineapple juice. To mix a pineapple and vodka, fill a rocks glass with ice and add 1 1/2 to 2 oz. vodka. Top the vodka with 6 to 8 oz. of pineapple juice and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Pineapple Cosmopolitan

A cosmopolitan-or "Cosmo"-is a sweet drink, usually made with vodka and served in a martini glass. By using pineapple juice in a cosmopolitan recipe you can add a bit of island flair to a typically "upscale" style of drink. To make a Pineapple Cosmo fill a Boston shaker with ice and add 2 1/2 to 3 oz. of vodka, 1/2 oz. pineapple juice, 1/2 oz. Cointreau, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice; cover and shake vigorously, straining the mixture into a chilled martini glass and garnish with fresh pineapple or a maraschino cherry.

Bay Breeze

A Bay Breeze is a refreshing alternative to the Sea Breeze, which traditionally combines vodka with cranberry and grapefruit juices. Grapefruit is slightly bitter while cranberry is somewhat dry, so replacing the grapefruit juice with pineapple juice sweetens things up for drinkers with a sweet tooth. To make a Bay Breeze, fill a rocks glass with ice and add 2 to 3 oz. vodka; add equal parts pineapple juice and cranberry and serve.

Pineapple Upside-down Cake

All it takes to make this delicious shooter is a Boston shaker, vanilla flavored vodka, pineapple juice and some grenadine. In the shaker add 1 oz. vanilla vodka, 1 oz. pineapple juice and a dash of grenadine over ice; shake, and strain into two shot glasses. Hint: if you don't have grenadine, a drop of maraschino cherry juice is an acceptable replacement.