Display of vodka

Display of vodka
M K Stone

Vodka. Lots of talk about it these days. The US has a National Vodka Day on October 4th. Waitrose is revving up a marketing campaign as I write. For other places, it’s just business as стандарт (standard).

A few ways of drinking vodka

Some say that it has no taste. I think that probably depends on (a) your palate and (b) the quality of the spirit you’re tasting.

  1. There’s put it in the freezer/pull it out/drink vodka.
  2. There’s the same but flavoured with herbs or spices or fruit: bison grass, pepper, orange, grapefruit, lemon. Perhaps on the rocks.
  3. And there are cocktails and their air of sophistication. That’s what we’ll be focusing on here: sophistication and three classic vodka cocktails. Anyone can pull the basic ingredients out of a carrier bag and into a glass. That’s not a good look …

Shall we move forward? Absolutely.

Attention to detail and careful preparation

Sophistication requires attention to detail. Your guests are arriving and are settling on your new furniture. Careful preparation of what you need will make all the difference:

  • the right ingredients, cleaned and prepared
  • the right glasses - tall, short, martini - all clean and shiny

Cocktail glasses. Vodka

  • a shaker or a stirring glass
  • a mixer
  • ice cubes

Do I shake or stir? And why?

When you shake your cocktail’s ingredients with ice they chill, become slightly diluted and mix together well.

You can stir but you’ll have to be thorough. In the vodka martini video below, the mixologist says to stir about 50 times.

So be careful what you use. A teaspoon isn’t going to do your fine glasses any good. Use a stirring glass and a mixer which will aerate the cocktail a little.

Vodka martini

This is one of the best known vodka cocktails. Have it with a twist (lemon twisted to extract the zest) or an olive.

Watch a professional putting one together so smoothly.

Bloody Mary

This is another very well known vodka cocktail. The basic ingredients are:

  • 2 parts vodka
  • 4 parts tomato juice
  • 1/2 part lemon juice

Then it’s up to you. You can add:

  • 4 dashes of Worcester sauce
  • 4 dashes of a hot pepper sauce like Tabasco
  • pinch of sea salt (or fleur de sel)
  • pinch of black pepper
  • some ice cubes

Stir vigorously in your stirring glass or tilt the shaker back and forward a few times just to mix.

Add garnishes of choice (and this is where some people swear that a Bloody Mary provides you with your five a day):

  • celery
  • fresh herbs
  • ground black pepper
  • bacon is not unknown.
Bloody Mary in Chicago. Vodka

Bloody Mary in Chicago
© William Clifford (williac) and licensed under CC BY 2.0

Le Fizz

This is a fresh and herbal cocktail from Grey Goose. A good apéritif.

  • 35 ml vodka
  • 25ml elderflower liqueur
  • 20ml freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 70ml soda water

Squeeze the lime into a large wine glass and mix gently with the other ingredients and ice cubes.

Enjoy responsibly!