In the storied canon of two-ingredient drinks, none has enjoyed the stature of the Vodka Soda. This ubiquitous beverage has been fueling dance parties and quenching thirsts for decades, and it’s easy to see why. The simple combination is light, safe and easy to drink, a perfect choice for anyone who wants a little kick without the added sugar or intense flavors present in many other cocktails.
The Vodka Soda is often ordered by people looking for a healthier option when they drink, and there’s certainly no shame in that. But since vodka has the same amount of calories as any other spirit of the same potency (and water is water), it’s no healthier than a Tequila Soda or a Scotch & Soda. And yet, the Vodka Soda remains one of the most commonly ordered drinks across the country, from dive bars to nightclubs.
When making such a simple drink, there’s nowhere for the ingredients to hide, so it’s important to choose a quality vodka and good water. No, not all vodka tastes the same. Bottles vary by raw ingredient, terroir and distillation methods. So when choosing a bottle, pick one you’d be happy to sip on its own, and unless you’re at the mercy of a bar’s soda gun, apply the same strategy when choosing your water.
Unflavored club soda is the traditional choice in a Vodka Soda, but you can always experiment with different waters. There are so many flavored sparkling waters on the market today, from obvious picks like lemon, lime and grapefruit to more elaborate concoctions featuring every combination of fruit under the sun. Your options are bountiful. And unlike tonic, most are sugar-free. Find one you like, add it to vodka over ice, and enjoy the clean simplicity of this tried-and-true drink.
2 ounces vodka
Club soda, to top
1 squeeze lemon (optional)
Garnish: lemon wedge
Fill a Collins glass with ice, then add the vodka.
Top with the club soda.
Garnish with a lemon wedge, squeezing some juice into your drink if desired.