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Entertaining
3 Vodka Cocktails for People Who Don't Like Vodka

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Vodka has its fair share of detractors. Though it’s touted as being odorless and flavorless, the spirit isn’t as innocent and mild as you might think. Cheaper bottles can have a harsh aftertaste, and even artisanal vodkas come with a hint of flavor that some just can’t stomach. But even if you claim not to like the “neutral” liquor, you shouldn’t judge all cocktails made with it.
 
Some drinks can woo even vodka’s harshest critics, giving them a new appreciation for how it can bolster other ingredients. Here, three cocktails that will convince vodka haters to give the spirit a chance.

Matthew Kelly/Supercall
One of the biggest misconceptions about vodka cocktails is that they are all super fruity and sweet. That’s just not the case—especially when you’re working with a quality spirit—and this pared down, three-ingredient take on the classic Espresso Martini proves it. “Fresh espresso, a touch of sugar and the clean, crisp notes of wheat and barley from the Reyka vodka, shaken to be as cold as the glaciers of its birth—the simplicity of this cocktail is what makes it good,” says Dev Johnson of Employees Only in NYC. The resulting drink is sweet, bitter and bitingly crisp, with a creamy texture that makes it almost too easy to gulp down. Enjoy this tipple early in the evening (or late at night when you need that second wind) to get the most out of its caffeinated punch.

The Essentials

Vodka
Espresso
Simple Syrup
Matthew Kelly/Supercall
Sometimes a Moscow Mule is just too “meh” to sway a non-vodka-drinker into giving the neutral spirit a chance. But this twist on the classic from Sushi Seki in NYC takes the spritzy cocktail to the next level by infusing it with two exotic ingredients: myoga (aka Japanese ginger) and sudachi, a sour Japanese citrus that can be used in place of lemons and limes. The two bright and vibrant flavors add just enough intrigue to entice those opposed to vodka. Plus, it’s incredibly food-friendly (especially if that food is sushi), so you can slip one of these to your vodka-hating friend at dinner without them even pausing to question it. “I think it’s the perfect drink for the summer,” says Rick Zouad, beverage and service director at Sushi Seki. “It’s very refreshing and it will cut through the pieces [of sushi] you’re eating.” Who can argue with a sushi spread and cocktails?

The Essentials

vodka
Sudachi juice
Ginger Beer
Matthew Kelly/Supercall
Sometimes flavored vodka is exactly what a cocktail needs—especially if you’re using one flavored with natural ingredients, like the Square One Organic Basil Vodka found in this twist on spiked lemonade. The spirit’s herbal flavor is delicious alongside earthy mezcal, fresh lemon juice, agave nectar and cilantro. It’s a great introduction (or re-introduction) to vodka cocktails, thanks to its approachable tartness (think Margaritas and Gimlets) and the addition of a second spirit (so you can rest easy in the knowledge that you’re not really drinking a vodka-only cocktail).
 
"People often think they don’t like vodka cocktails or might not like mezcal’s smokiness, but this combination brings out the best in both spirits," says Allison Evanow, founder and CEO of Square One. The brand created the cocktail as a way of introducing balanced and flavorful vodka cocktails to bars. Whether you’re drawn to the vodka’s fresh herbaceousness or mezcal’s seductive smokiness, this cocktail is a year-round refresher.

The Essentials

Vodka
Mezcal
Lemon Juice

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