A Splash Of This, A Dash Of That
Creating a list of the best mixers for vodka and justifying why can be a daunting task since the spirit itself is defined by its versatility. It’s the little black dress of the cocktail world: it goes with everything. But still, being as committed as we are to the spirit here at the Mule, we thought we’d give it out best shot. So take a look.
Soda Water: We’re not talking your triple-bubbled kiwi-lime sparkling stuff here. We’re talking a straight-up, quality soda water or seltzer. Both will help to cut the ‘burn’ of vodkas alcohol while lending a carbonated mouthfeel that’s very pleasing. A good cube of clear ice, maybe a twist of lemon, and this is about as clean and simple as a drink can get. Oh, and as a bonus, since you’re literally consuming pure water with every sip, it’s low calorie and low hangover.
Cranberry Juice: this one is just a classic. The bright tartness of a cranberry juice pairs perfectly with any vodka – from the finest to the cheapest – and doesn’t require a perfect ration to taste delicious. It’s pretty much a mix that you can’t mess up.
Tonic Water: Most people confuse the taste of this water with a gin and tonic, but what they’re actually tasting is the primary agent in the tonic, known as quinine. It was popularized by British soldiers in the East Indies, where they were required to consume it medicinally to help fight off malaria. So not only does this make for a great mixer with your vodka, but it gives you a jeopardy-level story to tell at your next soiree as you prepare this simple combination.
Ginger Beer: This one, of course goes without saying. Since ginger beer has it’s heritage as an alcoholic drink, it’s no surprise that it beautifully blends with vodka. A natural sweetness cloaks the so-called ‘burn’ of the spirit, while still maintaining a refreshing ginger spiciness or ‘kick’.
Orange Juice: This is the makings of a classic ‘screwdriver’ and it’s a favorite for a reason. The acidity of the OJ cuts down on the alcoholic edge of the vodka. It’s also chock-full of vitamin C, which makes it a good deal healthier than combining it with any old 7/11 soda you might some across.
Club Soda: The beauty of this mixer is that not only does it bring a cocktail-level of mouth feel and sensation to vodka, but it’s basically just bubbly water, so it has the benefit of hydrating you drink, after drink, after drink. You don’t need to get fancy here with imported waters, in fact, one of the top-rated sodas on the market thanks to it’s biting bubbles is good ol’ Canada Dry.
Pineapple Juice: A lot like OJ, the acidity of pineapple helps to conceal the burn of even the cheapest vodka, instead lending it a fruity and tropical tang. But mixer beware, pineapple juice can have a cloying mouthfeel, so it might take some practice to find that perfect balance between the two elements.
Red Bull: Okay, this one might not seem like it should be on the list, but it is. Vodka just tastes good with Red Bull. Period. They literally spent millions of dollars creating a flavor that would work well when combined with something like vodka. I mean, we’re not saying you need to get a case and head to the club this saturday, but every now and then pour a little vodka over ice and top with some Red Bull. You might be pleasantly surprised.