Vodka, the crystal clear spirit known for being the chameleon of the alcohol aisle. Its ability to blend with almost anything makes it one of the most congenial liquors to have in your collection. Over the years, its reputation has grown from being the Eastern European ethanol marketed to moms in the ’50s to a lifestyle choice for a more sophisticated, smarter cocktail connoisseur who relishes the versatility and health benefits of the smooth sauce.
However, figuring out the right mixer to use to turn this liquor into a libation can be daunting when all you really want is a drink. So to uncomplicate your Aperol hour, here are the best vodka mixers for a classic vodka cocktail. In each of the cases below, we recommend a two- (or three)-to-one ratio of mixer to vodka, but you do you. If you feel like classing your Vodka Club up a little, add a twist of lime or lemon and you’ll be cruising to booze town in no time.
Whether it’s called carbonated water, sparkling water, seltzer, or soda water, the liquid is all the same and it’s a perfect mixer for vodka. The water helps cut the spirit’s strength without diluting flavor while the effervescence adds just a little extra to a cocktail. Grab a flavored seltzer and it kicks things up a notch, all without adding calories. La Croix, anyone? We’ve even found the best sparkling waters for you already.
One of the quintessential mixers, no bar is complete without it. Tonic water can be used with nearly any spirit, but is most notable for its starring roles in drinks like the vodka tonic (and, of course, a gin and tonic. Its bitterness comes from quinine, a medicine-first used to help fend off malaria. The one thing to remember is that tonics can be high in sugar, so make sure to look at the label before you purchase.
In a pinch, cranberry juice and vodka are all that you need for a simple yet effective drink. Depending on the amount, the cranberry can be a light accompaniment or it can completely mask the cheap vodka. Just be aware that college flashbacks are likely to occur.
For a little more sweetness (or for when soda water and lime just won’t cut it), turn to lemon-lime soda. There are hordes of option on the market, all with their own unique tastes, so the flavorful addition can be customized to a drinker’s palate and preference.