10 Delicious Basic Vodka Cocktails

Do you want to up your vodka game and give yourself something new to taste and experience? Looking for something you can serve at your next party or get-together? Just interested in learning to explore and enjoy vodka a little bit more? Whatever the reason, if you’re looking for vodka cocktail recipes, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll show you some of the best basic vodka cocktails to help you get started learning how to mix, sip, and enjoy this popular staple of the liquor cabinet—whether you have experience with it already or not.


  • ½ oz green apple schnapps

  • 1-1/2 oz classic vodka (or apple flavored)

  • 1 oz apple juice

  • ¼ oz lemon juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1 thin slice of apple

Add schnapps, vodka, apple juice, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker and fill the rest of the way with ice. Shake very well and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with apple slice and serve cold.

Agent Orange

  • ¾ oz Grand Marnier

  • 1-1/2 oz vodka

  • ¼ oz Cointreau

  • ½ oz orange juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1 orange twist

Chill a cocktail glass. Add Grand Marnier, vodka, Cointreau, and orange juice to a cocktail shaker and fill the rest of the way with ice. Shake very well and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Run the orange twist around the rim of the glass and then add the twist to the drink. Serve cold.

Bloody Mary

  • 4oz tomato juice

  • 2oz vodka

  • ½ oz lemon juice, freshly squeezed

  • 3 dashes Tabasco sauce

  • ¼ tsp freshly grated horseradish

  • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 lemon wedge

  • 1 stalk of celery, washed

In a cocktail strainer, combine tomato juice with vodka, lemon juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire, and horseradish. Shake very well. Strain into a highball glass that is filled with ice. Squeeze the lemon over the top of the drink and then drop the lemon into the drink. Garnish with celery and serve immediately.

Classic Cosmopolitan

  • 1-1/2 oz Cointreau

  • 1-1/2 oz citron vodka

  • 2 dashes cranberry juice

  • 1oz lime juice, freshly squeezed

  • Lemon twist

Add Cointreau, vodka, cranberry juice, and lime juice to a cocktail shaker and shake very well. Strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the lemon twist. Serve immediately.

Espresso Martini

  • ½ oz freshly brewed espresso

  • 1-1/2 oz vodka (vanilla flavored is ideal but not required)

  • ½ oz Kahlua

  • ½ oz crème de cacao

  • 3 espresso beans

In a tall mixing glass, add espresso, vodka, Kahlua, and crème de cacao. Stir well but not too fast and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the espresso beans and serve right away. Do not serve over ice. Optionally, you can garnish this drink with turbinado sugar around the rim for a sweeter variation, although this isn’t required.

Harvey Wallbanger

  • 5oz orange juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1-1/2 oz vodka

  • ½ oz Galliano

Fill a highball glass with ice. In a cocktail strainer, combine vodka with orange juice and fill the rest of the way with ice. Shake very well, the strain into the highball glass. Pour Galliano over the top of the other ingredients and serve without further stirring or combining.

Moscow Mule

  • ½ oz lime juice, freshly squeezed

  • 2 oz vodka

  • 4 oz ginger beer

  • 1 lime wedge

Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour the vodka in over the ice first, then add the lime juice. Top with the ginger beer and give everything a couple of quick stirs, taking care not to overdo it. Squeeze the lime over the drink and then drop the lime into the drink before serving immediately. If you cannot find ginger beer, you may substitute ginger ale, but keep in mind this will lower the alcohol content of the drink.


  • 1oz Kahlua

  • 1oz vodka

  • 1oz Bailey’s Irish Cream

  • 1oz heavy whipping cream

  • Cocoa powder

Chill a cocktail glass ahead of time. In a cocktail shaker, combine Kahlua, vodka, Irish Cream, and whipping cream. Shake very well to combine everything. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass and serve topped with the cocoa powder. Optionally, you can blend all of the ingredients on high in a blender with ½ cup of ice for a frozen mudslide, and top it with the cocoa powder as well.

Sex on the Beach

  • 1oz peach schnapps

  • 1oz vodka

  • 3oz grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed

  • 3oz cranberry juice

  • Maraschino cherry

Fill a highball glass with ice. Add in schnapps, vodka, grapefruit juice, and cranberry juice. Stir well, but don’t overdo it. Garnish with the Maraschino cherry and serve immediately.

Traditional Vodka Martini

  • 2oz vodka

  • ½ oz dry vermouth

  • Olive

In a tall glass meant for mixing, combine vodka and vermouth, stirring with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass that has already been chilled ahead of time. Garnish with an olive and serve immediately. If you prefer, you can also add a little bit of the juice from the jar of olives to create a Dirty Martini.

There are many variations on martinis you may choose from as well, so don’t be afraid to get creative with garnishes and add-ins. Martinis are a great basis to help you get started learning how to create and alter alcoholic cocktail recipes, so take your time and look into the different options you have when trying to find the right martini option for your next party or gathering.

Now that you’ve had a chance to explore a little bit of the world of vodka cocktails, it’s time to give some of your favorites a try. Don’t worry if you don’t get them right the first time; be patient and be sure to practice ahead of time, especially if you’re going to be serving these drinks to guests. And most importantly, remember to have fun with the experience! Vodka is a light, accessible base for cocktails that has been around for a long time. Although there are always new and exciting ways to drink it, you can’t go wrong with some of the classics from our list above.

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