The Vodka Soda takes a lot of flak for being a non-cocktail and has developed a reputation as a diet drink that’s unworthy of attention or praise. While there are undoubtedly many more flavorful concoctions out there, the Vodka Soda is a reputable drink, built on the same trustworthy proportions as any standard Highball—and worthy of the same respect.
Even cleaner and more straightforward than a Vodka Tonic, the Vodka Soda is the most direct booze delivery mechanism beyond a straight shot. It lives up to its reputation as the quintessential low calorie drink, clocking in at around 130, so it’s perfect for drinkers watching their intake of syrupy sweet mixers or avoiding the dry vermouth in a Martini. While there are plenty of ways to jazz up the Highball with flavored vodka or funky garnishes, the original formula remains perfect and unimpeachable. Add a two-ounce shot of vodka to a Highball glass and top with bubbly soda. It doesn’t get much simpler. The soda elongates and mellows the bite of the liquor, but unlike tonic, it doesn’t dampen the spirit’s dry character or distract with its own bittersweet flavors.