We’ve all been there. “I’m going to get something different this time,” you say to yourself, as you walk through the aisles of the liquor store. Plot twist: no you won’t. Instead, you’ll grab a bottle of alcohol and soda, and call it a cocktail. I know this far far far too well. Any time there was a party or an event that called for a pre-game, I always told myself that I’d try something new. Unfortunately, I never got around to it.
This past week, a friend of my partner and I – Jeremy – kindly gave us a housewarming gift: a 4-set of Grey Goose’s top vodkas. Free alcohol! Woo! The gift got my creative juices flowing, so I decided to recreate four classic and popular cocktails to broaden my drinking horizon. Disclaimer: this post is not sponsored by Grey Goose.
Personally, I’m quite tired of the same old drink. I’m tired of looking at drinking as a “means to get tipsy… then drunk”. I’d rather develop a few cocktail recipes that are easy and crowd-pleasing – and only require a few ingredients to make!
ALSO. All the mixer-ingredients only cost $16 in total. So in addition to being 4 tasty cocktails, they’re also inexpensive. Woo!
Kids – start your shakers, and may the best mixer… win! (just kidding, we’re drinking… everyone’s a winner!).
DRINK #1: Classic Vodka Soda, with a Blueberry Twist
Vodka Flavour: Regular
Vodka sodas are my classic bar order! They’re simple, low in calories, and reasonably inexpensive. The great thing about making vodka sodas at home is that you can personalize them. When I have the time, I like to pop a handful of frozen blueberries into mine. It keeps the drink ice cold, gives it a beautiful purple tint, and adds just enough berry flavour! Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1.5 oz. vodka
- 3.5 oz. club soda
- 1 oz. lemon juice
- Handful of frozen blueberries
- Lemon wedge, for garnish
Add your vodka & lemon juice first. Then pour over the club soda. Then carefully, drop your frozen blueberries into the drink and wait for them to fall to the bottom. Give your drink 10-15 minutes in the fridge to release some blueberry juice. Happy drinking!
How does it taste? Honestly, it tastes like a vodka soda with a slight blueberry flavour – no surprise there! However, the colour of this drink is superb. If you need a simple & no-fuss drink to serve to your friends, this one is hard to beat!
DRINK #2: Pineapple & Orange Vodka Soda
Vodka Flavour: Orange
Now that we’ve mastered the classic vodka soda, let’s move onto a slightly sweeter version! This drink is a total crowd pleaser, as the sweet citrus flavours cut the sharp taste of the vodka. Even the biggest vodka-hater will love this drink! Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1.5 oz. orange vodka
- 2 oz. pineapple juice
- 1 oz. club soda
- 0.5 oz. lime juice
- Orange wedge, for garnish
Same deal as the first vodka soda: add your vodka and pineapple juice first, then club soda, then lime juice. You want the most integrated ingredients to be added first, such as the vodka or pineapple juice. Make sure to add the lime juice last so you have a tart lime flavour swirling around the drink!
How does it taste? The citrus flavours from the pineapple juice, as well as the orange vodka, truly compliment each other. While you still get a classic vodka aftertaste, it’s not overpowering! It’s a bit sweet, so one of these will be enough for me, but definitely worth a try to mix things up.
DRINK #3: Classic Cherry Cosmo
Vodka Flavour: Black Cherry
While I might not be the biggest cosmopolitan fan, I am a fan of simple drinks. With only 3 ingredients, this drink is an easy pick for a gays-night-in. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1.5 oz. black cherry vodka
- 1.5 oz. cranberry juice
- 0.5 oz. lemon juice
For this recipe, it’s best to have a shaker handy. Pour all your ingredients into an ice-filled shaker, and shake-shake-shake! The final result is a chilly, tart, and satisfyingly cherry cosmopolitan.
How does it taste? I regretted not having a classic cosmo ingredient – triple sec – for this recipe. However, the cherry vodka is truly the star of this drink. The black cherry flavour comes through so smoothly, and compliments the tart flavour of the cranberry juice. With only 3 ingredients, you’ll even have time to cook up an appetizer 😉
DRINK #4: My Booze-y Rosemary Lemonade
Vodka Flavour: Lemon
This past summer, I was at a bar in West Hollywood where they were serving a lemon-based vodka drink with a rosemary garnish. Since then, I’ve been dying to recreate it. While this is more of a spring / summer drink, I couldn’t resist giving it a try! Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1.5 oz. lemon vodka
- 1/2 cup of cold water
- 2.5 oz. lemon juice
- 2 – 3 tbsp of honey
- Fresh rosemary
Add your lemon vodka, juice, and water to a mason jar. Next, stir in 2 – 3 tbsp of honey (this might take a minute to fully integrate). Pop-in your rosemary and a straw… voila! Serve this drink while dreaming of warmer weather and cute boys… 🙂
How does it taste? Even though I call this a lemonade, it’s by no means sweet. The lemon vodka & juice are quite tart, which is why I add a few tbsp of honey to balance the flavours. While the rosemary is placed into the drink, the flavour doesn’t really integrate; instead, the fragrance of the herb amplifies the sweet & tart notes.
There you have it! Four classic and popular cocktails, Mike Rizzi style. If you’re like me, and you still have mix-matching glasses in your cupboard, feel free to mix & match to fit each drink. While the cosmo sort of demands a cocktail glass, your vodka sodas can be poured into anything, and the booze-y lemonade looks so stinkin’ cute in a mason jar.
If you make any of these cocktails, make sure to share it on Instagram or Twitter & tag @MikeRizzi. Can’t wait to see how your’s turns out! Happy (legal) drinking!