Making drinks at home doesn’t have to be difficult. You don’t need to recreate that seven-step cocktail from your favorite bar, source esoteric bitters or labor over homemade infusions. Because while complicated cocktails have their time and place, nothing satisfies your thirst like a simple drink that’s quick and effective. That’s where two-ingredient classics like the Vodka Tonic come into play.
Similar to the Gin & Tonic and Vodka Soda, the Vodka Tonic is consumed all over the world, at bars and inside homes. It’s refreshing, reliable and easy—the ingredients are even spelled out for you in the name.
With more vodkas on the market than you can count, and increasingly more well-made tonics, crafting the perfect Vodka Tonic is a personal exercise. Vodka is known as a neutral spirit, but bottles vary by raw ingredient, geography and distillation method, so choose one you enjoy drinking neat. Then apply the same care to the tonic. The carbonated mixer gets its bitter taste from quinine, a substance that was originally used to treat malaria. Combine with some sugar, and you get the delicious beverage we know today.
Some tonics are dry and straightforward, and others lean more citrusy or sweet. Browse the shelves, and you’ll see some that are infused with aromatic herbs and spices. You’ve got options, so decide whether you want the tonic to play a subtle role in support of the vodka or to stand on its own.
You can further customize the Vodka Tonic by experimenting with your ratios and garnishes. More vodka produces a stronger tasting drink, while extra tonic yields a more quaffable drink loaded with effervescence. An optional squeeze of lemon or lime brings a zesty note of citrus to each sip.
2 ounces vodka
Tonic water, chilled, to top
1 squeeze lemon (optional)
Garnish: lemon peel
Add the vodka to a Collins glass.
Fill the glass with ice, then top with the tonic water and add an optional squeeze of lemon.
Garnish with a lemon peel.