Vodka cocktails were made for summer. They're delightfully refreshing, easy-to-make, and they make great use of seasonal ingredients like strawberries and watermelon. You can even spice things up with a summer-friendly take on the Bloody Mary or Moscow Mule. If you're ready to indulge in the ultimate spirit of summer, consider mixing up one of the vodka cocktails ahead.
Keep scrolling for our picks for the best vodka cocktails to whip up this week.
Vodka Cranberry Cocktail
The Recipe: Vodka Cranberry
The Hero Ingredient: Rather than use a cranberry juice with artificial sweetener this cocktail instead calls for maple syrup or simple syrup as a sweetener. By using maple syrup or simple syrup, there's less sugar and your cocktail will sport a more vibrant color.
Pro Tip: A Couple Cooks provide some quick insight into the use of cranberry juice versus cranberry juice cocktail. "Cranberry juice is unsweetened: it tastes tart and is labeled as '100% juice'. Cranberry juice cocktail is sweetened, often with added sugars or high-fructose corn syrup," the couple reveals.
Why We Love It: The use of maple syrup and fresh lime really elevates the taste of this cocktail staple.
Earl Grey Lemon Vodka John Daly Cocktail
The Recipe: Earl Grey Lemon Vodka John Daly
The Hero Ingredient: There's no such thing as a summer cocktail that's too heavy on the lemon. In addition to lemonade, this cocktail also calls for lemon vodka, so be prepared to pucker up.
Pro Tip: Toni Dash of Boulder Locavore stresses that this sip does not need any added sweetener. "The sweetness of the lemonade provides no extra sweetener is needed," she explains.
Why We Love It: Equal parts lemonade and tea, this cocktail boozily combines two summer favorites.
Rosemary Greyhound Cocktail
The Recipe: Rosemary Greyhound
The Hero Ingredient: The use of rosemary simple syrup adds an herbal sweetness that adds a unique touch to this spin on the classic Greyhound cocktail.
Pro Tip: Elizabeth Lindemann of Bowl Of Delicious offers a great tip on the use of crushed ice in the Rosemary Greyhound. "I recommend serving these rosemary greyhound cocktails over crushed ice," she explains. "Crushed ice is great in cocktails that need to be watered down a bit, since there is more surface area on the ice that melts faster...Because the rosemary and grapefruit flavors in this drink are strong, it’s best watered down a bit."
Why We Love It: The use of crushed ice in the Rosemary Greyhound makes it even more of a refreshing summer sip.
Sweet Tea Vodka Slushies
The Recipe: Sweet Tea Vodka Slushies
The Hero Ingredient: There's a reason why you'll always find a lemon wedge or lemon wheel on the glass of your sweet tea. A squeeze of lemon adds just the right amount of acidity, and you'll find just that in this boozy slushy.
Pro Tip: According to The Charming Detroiter's Sarah DeLeon, the use of lemon also serves another purpose. "The tart lemony-ness in these vodka slushies also helps to cut the sharpness of the vodka," she reveals.
Why We Love It: Boozy slushies are always a great idea. They're super easy to make and are a great way to entertain in the hot, summer sun.
Raspberry Vodka & Champagne Float With Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream
The Recipe: Raspberry Vodka & Champagne Float
The Hero Ingredient: The combination of vodka and ice cream isn't a familiar duo, but the pairing is dreamy in this boozy float, which calls for vanilla bean coconut ice cream.
Pro Tip: Julie and Debbie of Cooks With Cocktails reveal how you can make your own raspberry vodka. "To do this I would add a bag of raspberries, 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 a 750 ml bottle of vodka to a saucepan. Heat it till it boils and all the sugar melts then let it cool slowly and the flavors meld together," the pair explains.
Why We Love It: Not only is this an adults-only float, but adding champagne gives it a touch of elegance.
Apricot Blood Orange Vodka Martini
The Recipe: Apricot Blood Orange Vodka Martini
The Hero Ingredient: Preserves and jam are most certainly an underused ingredient when it comes to cocktails. Thankfully, this martini deliciously calls for apricot jam.
Pro Tip: For a perfectly chilled glass, The Charming Detroiter's Sarah DeLeon provides this tip: "Add ice water to a martini glass to chill while preparing cocktail."
Why We Love It: This cocktail is comprised of so many unique flavors, making it a complex though tasty sip.
Strawberry Champagne Cocktail
The Recipe: Strawberry Champagne Cocktail
The Hero Ingredient: Muddled strawberries add an ample amount of fresh strawberry flavor to this sip.
Pro Tip: Not a fan of strawberries? No worries! Cynthia Ruff of Darling Down South reveals that you can swap out strawberries for other fruits. "This quick cocktail can be interchanged with any fruit- blueberry and peach being the next I’m eyeballing to try as we exit strawberry season," she says.
Why We Love It: The use of Champagne creates a cocktail that's both festive and celebratory, and the bubbles from the Champagne provide a welcome fizz
Minty Moscow Mules
The Recipe: Minty Moscow Mules
The Hero Ingredient: A fresh mint simple syrup gives this take on the Moscow Mule an added kick of minty goodness.
Pro Tip: Feed Me Phoebe's Phoebe Lapine provides instructions on how to make the mint simple syrup used in this cocktail. "Combine the mint, sugar, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute," she explains. "Remove from heat and allow to steep for about an hour. Remove the mint leaves and add the simple syrup to a punch bowl or pitcher."
Why We Love It: As tasty as the Moscow Mule is, throwing a mint syrup into this sip makes its ultra summer-friendly.
Pink Vodka Watermelon Lemonade
The Recipe: Pink Vodka Watermelon Lemonade
The Hero Ingredient: An absolute summer favorite, watermelon is blended and strained to make a watermelon juice for this cocktail.
Pro Tip: Prefer your cocktails with a flavorful rim? Half Baked Harvest's Tieghan Gerard has a tip for you. "If you want to go the extra mile, you could rim your glass with a lemon sugar or flaky salt. I went with salt, but lemon sugar would be so good too," she says.
Why We Love It: From watermelon to lemonade, this cocktail combines several summer favorites.
Jalapeño Bloody Mary
The Recipe: Jalapeño Bloody Mary
The Hero Ingredient: Summer doesn't mean you have to give up on all those savory cocktails. In fact, this take on the Bloody Mary keeps things even hotter with a jalapeño vodka.
Pro Tip: By creating your own jalapeño vodka, you're able to adjust the level of heat. "If you want super intense flavor, the longer the jalapeños sit in the vodka the stronger it’s going to be," Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest reveals.
Why We Love It: Having your own homemade jalapeño vodka is a fun option for those entertaining with Bloody Marys.