… from the California Happy Hour Bar
How you doin’? Vodka is most famously paired with juices like orange or cranberry, but the lesser known combination of vodka with apple juice is also delicious. It's very simple–just two or three ingredients—juice (or mixer) and vodka are all you need to make a great happy hour cocktail.
Which mixers go best with vodka?
Grapefruit Juice—If you’re looking to add a little sweetness to your vodka libation but don’t want a sugar overload, try using freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice. I love a Vodka Greyhound cocktail (originally made with gin). It makes for a punchy cocktail that is as tasty as it is refreshing.
Ginger Beer—There is a reason why the Moscow Mule is one of the most popular drinks in bars today. It is a mix of vodka, lime juice and spicy-sweet ginger beer. Make sure you buy a good quality ginger beer (not ginger ale) to get the most out of your cocktail and ensure it isn’t sickly sweet.
Lemonade—You don’t need to squeeze your lemons. Why waste the time when you could be drinking and not squeezing? Try using Simply Lemonade or the old frozen standby. Experiment a little by making the drink on your own by muddling fruit (like cranberries) or fresh herbs into the drink. Or try the Oaxacan Lemonade, which uses mezcal and cilantro to give the vodka and lemonade mixture smoky, grassy notes.
Cranberry Juice—Everyone knows cranberry juice makes a Cosmopolitan—the perfect mixer for vodka, especially when you use the tart juice. If you don’t have orange liqueur for a classic Cosmo, feel free to use simple syrup to help balance the cranberry juice’s tart notes. You can also mix vodka, cranberry and grapefruit for a fruity, refreshing Sea Breeze.
Pineapple Juice—Take a trip to the islands with a vodka cocktail with a fruity edge. Or mix vodka, pineapple juice and Chambord to create a downright delicious French Martini, or tackle the Tiki Torch with the Chi Chi, a vodka-spiked version of a Piña Colada. Or simply pour your favorite vodka into a glass of pineapple juice. Use the freshest juice possible with no added sugar.
Tonic—Still one of my favorites is the clean taste of a Vodka. Use a good quality vodka and a mild tonic with less intense quinine flavor.
Orange Juice—A Screwdriver was likely one of your very first cocktails that you probably ever tasted. The mix of orange juice and vodka is easy, refreshing and perfectly balanced when made with the freshly squeezed stuff. Add a little Galliano to the mix, and suddenly you have a Harvey Wallbanger, slightly fancy—but just as simple.
ChefSecret: How much juice do I mix with vodka? Pour 1 to 2 fluid ounces of vodka into a highball glass and fill it with ice. Stir in as much juice as you like.
Quip of the Day: “If you can’t think of a word, say “I forgot the English word for it”… that way people will think you’re bilingual instead of an idiot.”
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