Vodka was until recently, by legal definition, a flavorless, odorless spirit (the TTB officially changed this last year). Of course, fans of this clear spirit would disagree, arguing that each brand has different flavors depending on the grains used in the mash bill, how many times it’s been distilled, and what country it comes from. And vodka enthusiasts also know how well it works in a variety of cocktails, from the Moscow Mule to a Screwdriver to the humble Vodka & Tonic.
There are many different vodka mixers to choose from, ranging from simple flavored seltzer to a one-step Cosmopolitan combination of cranberry and lime juice. We spoke to some bar industry experts and gathered our own picks of the best vodka mixers that you can buy now.
Best Overall: Spindrift Cucumber Flavored Water
You can mix almost anything with vodka, as this spirit is often a blank canvas that will take on the characteristics of its companions in a cocktail. The best overall option to try is Spindrift’s cucumber-flavored seltzer. It’s made using real cucumbers and provides a bright but subtle mix of fresh flavors without the cloying sweetness of othered flavored seltzers.
Spindrift is widely available and inexpensive, so there’s no reason not to keep a six-pack at home to whip up a round of drinks at a moment's notice.
Best for Dirty Martini: Dirty Sue Premium Olive Juice
“While The Chart Room isn’t what you’d typically consider a ‘Martini bar,’ the regulars who come in know exactly what they want and expect the best version of whatever their drink of choice is,” says Lisa Zumpe of New Orleans' The Chart Room.
“I can think of one guy who comes in every Wednesday at 8 p.m.—you can set your watch by it—drinks exactly two dirty Martinis, and goes home. I wouldn’t even think of sticking my fingers in the garnish tray to add juice to his drink or pouring brine out of a jar of olives. He’d never speak to me again! Dirty Sue makes my customers happy, so it makes me happy.”
Best for Vodka & Tonic: Boylan Tonic Water
Sure, the Gin & Tonic gets all the hype, but a Vodka Tonic can be just as tasty. Obviously, the tonic water you choose is going to have a big effect on your drink, so it’s important to pick a good one.
Boylan Bottling uses a blend of citrus to balance the bitterness from the quinine, bringing a crisp hint of sour to the mixer and making this tonic water stand out from the rest.
Related: The Best Tonic Waters
Best Cosmo: Stirrings Simple Cosmopolitan
In case you haven’t heard, the Cosmopolitan is coming back into fashion after a long hiatus. But the key to making this blend of vodka, cranberry, lime, and triple sec is using high-quality ingredients. If you don’t have everything on hand, this mixer from Stirrings is your best bet to craft a satisfying drink. The ingredients include cane sugar, cranberry juice, and key lime juice, resulting in a well-balanced blend of sweet and sour. This is a great mixer to keep stocked in your home bar.
Best for a Bloody Mary: Filthy Food Bloody Mary Mix
“For Bloody Marys, I think Filthy is making a great mix,” says lead bartender, Jose Gill, of American Social in Miami.
It comes in convenient pouches which you can take on the go with you and packs a bit of a spicy punch with the addition of horseradish and cayenne pepper in the recipe. No preservatives or artificial ingredients are included, making this a great option for your next batch of Bloody Marys.
Related: The Best Gifts for Vodka Lovers
Best Club Soda: Fever Tree Club Soda
“This one was a difficult one for me, but if I had to choose I would go with Fever-Tree,” says Gill. “They have so many great options for mixers that have great flavors, from different types of tonics to club sodas. Can’t go wrong with them.”
The club soda is simple and refreshing, made using spring water and bicarbonate of soda that yields a satisfyingly bubbly experience. Add some vodka to this and a slice of lime for a simple, refreshing drink.
Best Syrup: W&P Craft Moscow Mule Syrup
The Moscow Mule is a classic cocktail made with vodka, ginger beer, and lime. W&P makes this already simple drink even easier with this cocktail syrup, and the fact that it’s a concentrated syrup means you get more bang for your buck.
Made using fresh ginger, lime juice, and cane sugar, only a half-ounce is needed per drink. An 8-ounce bottle makes 16 drinks. You'll just need some soda to round out this spicy party!
Best Cranberry Juice: Monin
This is actually a cranberry syrup, not a juice, but you are better off using this than mixing some preservative-laden option with your vodka that barely has any real juice in it anyway.
With Monin, you can control the level of cranberry flavor you’d like to achieve, from extra tart to soft and sweet, making this the best option for using in a Cape Cod cocktail or anything else you can think of. This bottle doesn’t need to be kept cold either after opening, leaving more room in your fridge for kitchen essentials.
The best vodka mixer you can find now is Spindrift’s cucumber-flavored seltzer water (view at Amazon). It brings a bright and fresh but not overpowering cucumber flavor to a simple vodka highball. Oftentimes vodka can be overpowered by a mixer, but that’s not the case here. Spindrift is also affordable and can be found at many online retailers.
What makes for a good vodka mixer?
As with any mixer, a good vodka mixer should not be overpoweringly sweet, and made using fresh ingredients. There are plenty of cloying options out there filled with artificial flavor and color, but instead look for brands that focus on just a few fresh ingredients.
What's the most popular vodka mixer?
The most popular vodka mixer is probably seltzer or tonic, as these classic carbonated options are often a favorite order from customers at bars around the country. After that, orange juice or cranberry juice are very popular options, used in the brunch favorite Screwdriver and Cape Cod cocktails respectively.
How long does a mixer last after opened, and does it need to be refrigerated?
Syrups and cans of seltzer or tonic are shelf stable and can be stored in a cool, dry place, while juices should be refrigerated and used within seven to ten days after opening.
Why Trust Liquor.com?
Jonah Flicker is an experienced writer who has been covering spirits and traveling the world visiting distilleries for many years. His work has appeared in many different national outlets covering trends, new releases, and the stories and innovators behind the spirits. His first love remains whiskey, but he is partial to tequila, rum, gin, cognac and all things distilled.
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