I have too much vodka!
June 1, 2017 10:18 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to throw a vodka-focused cocktail party. What are some good, interesting drinks that I can make? I'm hoping to go beyond the standard vodka tonic, martini, and screwdriver.

I throw occasional cocktail parties, and my very generous friends will often show up with a bottle of liquor for my bar. Whiskey, gin, and tequila bottles disappear quickly, but I'm not a big vodka fan, and I don't know a lot of good drinks to make with it, so those bottles have started to stack up.

I now have 5 bottles of regular vodka, and one each of pineapple, coffee, and vanilla-flavored vodkas. What are some interesting, tasty drinks I can make with them?

I'll note that I am already familiar with the Moscow Mule, the White Russian, and the Cosmopolitan.

(extra credit: I also have two bottles of moonshine going to waste on my backbar)
posted by Bill_Roundy to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
You could make one of those regular vodkas into something else.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:32 PM on June 1, 2017

Hmmm...how about a Greyhound? Vodka + Grapefruit Juice.
posted by fyrebelley at 10:39 PM on June 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

In college I used to mix vodka with peppermint schnapps and Fruit Punch Gatorade. It was a delicious red drink with a kick.
posted by bendy at 11:03 PM on June 1, 2017

My go to drink when the options aren't promising is vodka and soda water with muddled lemon and sugar. But in slightly nicer places I ask for different fruits and herbs muddled in there. This could extend really easily to a make your own vodka cocktail bar with a bunch of fruits and herbs, a couple mixers, and maybe even some flavored salts and sugars to put on the rim of a glass.

I have had and enjoyed in various combinations with vodka: pineapple, maraschino cherries, all manner of citrus, mango, starfruit, guava (my favorite!), blueberries, peaches, honeydew; mint, basil, cilantro, rosemary, candied rose petals and violets, celery leaves, fried sage; coconut water, tomato juice, many different fruit juices, espresso, cucumber water, ginger beer, and once a very memorable vodka cream soda thing with toasted marshmallows on the side.

For carbs, what about baked penne in creamy tomato vodka sauce? A big batch can use up half a bottle of vodka but not much alcohol remains. Makes a big difference in flavor though, some cool chemistry thing happens with the tomatoes and heat and alcohol. You can prep the dish the day before like a lasagna and pop in the oven to bake and get all crispy before guests arrive.
posted by Mizu at 11:13 PM on June 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Vodka can be a good way to experiment with cocktails using kinds of juice you wouldn't normally get, like the more expensive ones in the glass bottles. (Tart cherry juice and soda's now something I just drink virgin on a regular basis.) You can also infuse stuff like mint and basil in simple syrup and those become things you can mix with vodka and lemon/lime and soda in about a million ways. So kind of to add those to what Mizu was saying--if you just put out vodka, mixers, a bunch of kinds of juice, a bunch of kinds of fruit, and a few kinds of infused syrups, suddenly you're offering not "here's a drink you can have" but "here's an experience you can have".

And then once you have done this once, you may find you have much less trouble using up vodka in future.
posted by Sequence at 11:38 PM on June 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Vodka and Ginger Ale with a splash of Rose's Lime or just squeezed lime IS DELICIOUS.

That said...

If you have any Potato Vodka, for some weird reason, this is the best vodka for Saketini's - a Martini made with Sake.

I'm sure my local Trader Joe's thinks I am an alkie because I buy so much Vodka, truth is I mix it in spray bottles with a few drops of different essential oils to make room freshner, fabric freshner, and a POWERFUL deordorizer/antibacterial/pest repellent by mixing it with Tea Tree Oil. For rooms, I use Lemon or Orange or Frankincense. For clothing I use Lemon. Lavender is hard to use because it is often not pure essential oil but synthetic, even when the label says pure lavender :((

Vodka is super useful. And then it's great in Vodka Gingers! Win-win!!
posted by jbenben at 11:47 PM on June 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

I know you know about the Moscow Mule, but a mule made with your own awesome homemade easy (if you have a blender) spicy peppercorn ginger syrup is a whole 'nother level of amazing.
posted by charmedimsure at 12:42 AM on June 2, 2017 [3 favorites]

In my experience, the only thing that moonshine will mix with pleasantly is Coco Loco, to make what I call the Tennessee Colada. Beware.
posted by yclipse at 4:11 AM on June 2, 2017

I often serve coupe colonel at parties-- not a cocktail, but easy and always a hit. No need to do it fancy-- a generous splash of vodka over lemon sorbet and fresh mint will do just fine.
posted by frumiousb at 4:22 AM on June 2, 2017

I would chop up mint and stick a few black tea bags in at least one of those bottles and throw it in the fridge right quick. During the party, strain over ice and add a splash of lemonade or lemon juice.

If you don't have a day or two to let it infuse in the fridge, you can do the same thing but put it in the dishwasher.
posted by floweredfish at 5:10 AM on June 2, 2017 [3 favorites]

For your vanilla vodka, my boyfriend is a fan of the pineapple upside down cake martini.
posted by the primroses were over at 5:38 AM on June 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

One of the nicest drinks I've had was an Apple Sours + Sprite + Vanilla vodka served on ice.
posted by kariebookish at 5:41 AM on June 2, 2017

Lemon Drops
Coffee Martini
or just drink it straight with Zakuski - russian style. I especially recommend w/ pickles.
posted by pyro979 at 5:50 AM on June 2, 2017

I have no idea why this drink is called a mojito, but it's delicious and uses vodka (it calls for cranberry vodka, but I'm sure plain is fine). Along similar lines, you could make Caipiroskas.

I'll second greyhounds (and seifu, which is just a greyhound with seltzer added) and coupe colonel as good ideas.
posted by snaw at 6:23 AM on June 2, 2017

One part vodka with two parts grapefruit juice and a splash of Grenadine is delicious. I believe some call it a "Firefly."
posted by 256 at 6:54 AM on June 2, 2017

I have a similar thing going on, in that the vodka is the slowest-moving of my bar; fortunately my friends have figured this out and started bringing gin. Of course the reason behind this phenomenon is that my friends and I really like the depth of flavor that come with non-vodka mixed drinks. What I mostly use vodka for is for things that are 1 part gin, 1 part vodka, and assorted other things. eg this Elderflower Martini

If you're hoping to do a vodka-focused thing but still have a few interesting ingredients, see also Great Gatsby (with Lillet), Harvey Wallbanger (with Galliano), or classics like the Cape Codder. Or do a brunch party and serve Screwdriver, Fuzzy Navel, and Bloody Mary.

More generally, part of my beef with vodka cocktails is that they're so straightforward. If you have a selection of bitters, that can be remedied. For example, I would normally prefer a gin&cranberry to a classic vodka Cape Codder, because why use vodka when you can use gin? But grapefruit bitters work wonders, and arguably the vodka version is a cleaner slate to start with if you're going to be focused on bitters.
posted by aimedwander at 7:34 AM on June 2, 2017

Vanilla vodka + orange juice = dreamsicle. I might have had one last night.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:44 AM on June 2, 2017

Oh, for your extra-credit: moonshine (assuming some kind of fruit flavor) --> sangria or other large punchbowl or pitcher at summer outdoor party. Your best bet is to set up a premix recipe that uses the thing you want to use up, and then either remove your guests from the vicinity of your regular liquor cabinet or remove the favorites from the cabinet, such that the punchbowl is the most exciting thing in view. And you can get away with a lot in a bbq-type setting.

For the pineapple vodka, similar thing, except you're looking for tropical or tiki type punch recipes. Feel free to substitute wildly, anything that calls for both vodka and pineapple juice can be pineapple vodka. example, example. Substitute wildly, for example, sangria that calls for 2c pineapple juice and 1/2 c rum could easily be calling for pineapple juice and pineapple vodka.

Coffee and vanilla flavored vodkas, look up "espresso martini" - ingredients range from plain vodka plus espresso (and cream, kahlua, stuff) to vanilla vodka plus kahlua. So basically, pour vanilla and coffee vodkas in a glass, and add cream/milk, black coffee/espresso/powder, and possible chocolate or coffee bitters until palatable, then tell your friends it's delicious and pass them around gleefully.
posted by aimedwander at 7:48 AM on June 2, 2017

What to do with too much vodka (or moonshine): Make limoncello. (Or kumquat-cello or blood orange-cello... My key-lime-cello attempt was not very impressive, but the kumquat was excellent. Instead of putting just the peels in the alcohol in the fridge, I stuck the whole sliced fruit in. For months.)
posted by maryr at 8:02 AM on June 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

I would do an agua fresca party and/or a watermelon punch. You can also infuse vodka with whatever, but one of my suggestions was going to be coffee and you've already got that covered. Maybe jalapeƱo?

Also, Jello/jelly shots. And use the vanilla vodka in desserts, maybe tiramisu or crepes? (For that matter, you could use the coffee vodka the same way).

You run the risk of having people bring more vodka to your burn-off-the-vodka party, so word your invitation carefully.
posted by fedward at 9:36 AM on June 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ooooh, seconding the limoncello. I tried it with other fruits and they ranged from "eh" (pineapple. Too much water, I think) to amazing (blackberry).

My favorite mixed drink is a Manhattan. You can make a White Manhattan (there are a few variations), which is essentially a vodka martini made with sweet vermouth and a few drops of bitters. Sounds yummy to me.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 9:50 AM on June 2, 2017

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