The 11 New Vodka Cocktails to Drink in Bars Now

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August is Vodkaaaah month. You know you want it.

Step away from the vodka-soda: These vodka-based cocktails served all across the country will make you rethink your vodka drink. Some showcase the spirit’s cool, refreshing nature; others utilize vodka’s relative neutrality as a blank canvas to layer on bolder flavors like rich yerba maté or peppery spice. All are perfect for summertime sipping.

1. Beautiful Sight at Atwood, Chicago

 

A perfectly pink drink made with Belvedere vodka, raspberry-thyme–pink peppercorn syrup, lemon juice and a dose of bubbly Prosecco.

2. Bottled Moscow Mules at Brick and Mortar, Philadelphia

 

Pre-batched, bottled drinks are on-trend for serving thirsty patrons fast. This version, at shiny-new Brick and Mortar, is made with Sobieski Vodka, lime and ginger and was created by Christina Rando, a veteran of the much-celebrated Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.

3. Carlos Gardel at La Pulperia, New York City

 

Named for a famous tango singer, this drink includes a double dose of Argentina’s yerba maté. It’s both brewed as tea and infused into simple syrup, plus there’s, of course, vodka and a mix of citrus juices.

4. Charred Pineapple Express at: Bidwell, Washington, D.C.

 

This bold sipper is made with grilled pineapple-infused vodka, lemon and spicy flourishes of turmeric and crushed red pepper.

5. Hot Asian at The District by Hannah An, Los Angeles

 

Designed to pair with contemporary Vietnamese-influenced cuisine, this refreshingly spicy drink mixes lemongrass-infused Loft and Bear Vodka with lime and organic Vietnamese chile agave.

6. Lovage A Battlefield at Alder, New York City

 

Drink your veggies: For this elixir, bar director Travis Brown shakes up vodka and aquavit with herbal genepy and leafy green lovage.

7. Moto Mule at Bubu Lowry, Denver

 

Attention juicing aficionados: Here’s your cocktail, which blends vodka and sake with ginger, parsley, cucumber and—wait for it—wheatgrass.

8. Oyster Shooter at Robert’s Maine Grill, Kittery, Maine

 

This rosy shot is made with Waldostone Farm Bloody Oyster Mix, chile mignonette, and an unusual vodka choice: blueberry vodka, from Maine producer Cold River. Topping it all off is a fresh Maine oyster—obviously.

9. San at Kuro, Hollywood, Florida

 

The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino brought in mixologist Jared Boller to create drinks that showcase fresh Japanese ingredients. Case in point: This vodka cocktail accented with absinthe, grapefruit and fresh shiso leaves.

10. Shaken Lemonade at M Street Kitchen, Santa Monica, California

 

Straightforward and refreshing, this Mason-jar drink mixes vodka, fresh lemon and rosemary.

11. Wakaba at Neta, New York City

 Photo credit: Michael Tulipan

For a nutty, toasty effect, beverage director Cole Shaffer nods to Neta’s Japanese dishes by infusing robust Woody Creek potato vodka with genmaicha (green tea with toasted rice).

 

Kara Newman is a New York–based spirits and cocktail writer, and author of Cocktails for a Crowd (Chronicle Books).

 

 

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