The Good Life

End-of-Summer Mixing With Vodka

By Jack Bettridge | From Kurt Russell, July/August 2019 | Printed as "Summer Mixing With Vodka"
End-of-Summer Mixing With Vodka
Photo/Shannon Sturgis

Vodka might not be the current darling of the cocktail set, but don’t feel sorry for the clear spirit with the Russian name (for little water). It remains the world’s No. 1-selling liquor. Chalk that up to amiability. It swims well with every manner of mixer, aperitif or liqueur—even other spirits (e.g., the Vesper). While most sensible cocktails made with other spirits limit themselves to one other modifier and perhaps bitters, easy-going vodka can welcome more. It’s the laid-back liquor that The Dude abided in The Big Lebowski’s White Russians and perfect for these summer fresheners.

Harvey Wallbanger

A name is a two-edged sword. When it was invented, it evoked a kooky surfer image. But In today’s sophisticated cocktail atmosphere, its silliness undercuts its charms. Essentially a Screwdriver—orange juice and vodka—it becomes more grownup with the addition of Galliano, an Italian liqueur that the drink was invented to market. The otherwise reedy Screwdriver fills out with anise, mint, cinnamon and vanilla notes. Remember to stay off your surfboard.

1 1/2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Galliano L’Autentico
5-6 oz. Fresh-squeezed orange juice
Orange slice for garnish

Pour vodka, Galliano and juice over ice in a highball glass. Stir and garnish. Alternately, float the Galliano on the other ingredients.

Sea Breeze

The Sea Breeze is all about refreshment. Which is why, after crashing through a plate-glass window and being riddled with bullets by a bar full of gangsters, Deadpool, the wisecracking movie superhero with accelerated healing abilities, immediately called for one by its ingredients: cranberry, grapefruit juice and vodka. What began as a Prohibition-era gin drink works much better in its current vodka incarnation, especially if you use fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice.

1 1/2 oz. Vodka
4 oz. Cranberry juice
2 oz. Fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
Lime slice for garnish

Pour vodka, cranberry juice and grapefruit juice over ice in a highball glass. Stir and garnish.

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