“There are only two absolutes in life: friends and vodka. And the best times usually involve both.” – Russian Proverb

Those Russians sure are wise. And in honor of National Vodka Day, October 4th, (yes, we know, it’s like Christmas and your birthday had a boozy holiday baby!) we’re taking a few minutes to day dream about this delightfully clear and delicious liquid that acts as the base for so many of our favorite drinks and memories.

Lest you think all vodkas are created equal, think again. At one point or another, most college students have tragically tried “vodka.” The bottles they buy are generally large and plastic, and come in flavors like Candy Cane or Blueberry Tart, and they almost always cost less than a car wash.

Yes, these liquors technically pass as vodka. Yes, we’ve tried them and they can be
delicious. And yes, many happy memories are undoubtedly made sharing the resulting cocktails. But real, honest, good, worth-your-time vodka bares almost no resemblance to these junior family members.

Vodka can be made from virtually any plant that is heavy in starch or sugars. However, most vodka today is produced with corn (Tito’s, UV), rye (Stoli, Belvedere), wheat (Grey Goose, Kettle One, Vox) or potatoes (Chopin). While vodka has a very neutral flavor and is virtually odorless, the difference in the ingredients used has a dynamic affect on the flavor of the end product.

One of the things we love best about vodka is that it is both a star performer (a diva, if you  will) and a team player. You can enjoy a beverage comprised of vodka alone (hello, martinis) or you can mix it with a slew of other tasty ingredients (lemonade, ice tea, cranberry juice) for a totally different drink experience.

We’re sure our incredibly amazing and intelligent readers will have no problem coming up with combinations and drinks for today’s celebration (::cough cough:: chocolate martini ::cough::). But in case you need some inspiration for today or down the road, allow us to share some whistle-whetting suggestions you’re sure to love.

Classic Martini
1 oz Dry Vermouth (optional)
2 oz Vodka of your choice (or 3 oz if you’re not using Vermouth)

Shake or stir over ice to chill. Strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with lemon or lime twist, olives or capers.

Dirty Martini
1 oz Dry Vermouth (optional)
2 oz Vodka of your choice
½ oz Olive Juice

Shake or stir over ice to chill. Strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with lemon or lime twist, olives or capers.


Lemon Drop
1 1/2 ounces vodka (use a good-quality vodka)
1/2 ounce orange liqueur (Triple Sec, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, etc.)
1 tsp simple syrup
3/4 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Ice cubes

Mix liquors and shake over ice. Rim a martini glass with sugar and strain the beverage into the glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Gimlet
Originally made with Gin, the vodka gimlet is a fan favorite for those who enjoy a tart, lime flavor.

2 oz vodka
1 oz Rose’s Lime Juice

Shake or stir over ice to chill. Strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with a lime.*Those looking for a less sweetened version can use fresh lime juice, but the flavors will be dynamically different.

Mixed Favorites
If you’re looking to dive in to the vodka pool but are a little intimidated by a martini (don’t worry, we’ve been there too) try giving a Bloody Mary (tomato juice, pepper, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice) or a White Russian (vodka, Kahlua and cream – shout out to the Big Lebowski!)

You can also try these flavored versions, which can add an additional splash of flavor to your cocktails:

Smoked Salmon http://www.alaskadistillery.com/

Bacon Vodka http://bakonvodka.com/

Rose Vodka http://www.sputnikvodka.com/index.php

Chili Pepper http://www.absolut.com/us

Frosting Vodka http://www.cupcakevodka.com/

Scorpion Vodka http://www.skorppio-vodka.com/

Cookie Dough http://www.pinnaclevodka.com/

Peanut Butter & Jelly http://vangoghvodka.com/

Do you have a favorite vodka drink? Share the wealth and share it below! Happy celebrating, everyone!