By Alison Bailin Batz
Vodka has been widely popular as a drink since the 1860s, roughly when Moscow introduced Smirnoff Vodka to the market. It made its move to the U.S. not long after and has since been the top-selling spirit in the country – outselling other spirits by 50 million cases each year. Though often deemed as one of the more typical spirits, it is anything but. Here are some interesting ways to taste the versatility of vodka.
Blue Clover Distillery
The Scottsdale Sunset is a light and fizzy cocktail, containing just a few ingredients. The flavors of the grapefruit-infused vodka distilled in-house are complemented by lemon juice, grapefruit lavender bitters and Aperol, all topped off with Prosecco. Served up in a cold coupe glass, a slice of blood orange is the striking garnish. $9. www.bluecloverdistillery.com.
ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho
You’ve heard the term “being extra,” right? Well, this drink is the embodiment of the phrase. It is made with SanTan Kaffir Lime Vodka, which is combined with Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, limeade and a housemade, barrel-aged limoncello. Then comes the topping: cherry Dippin’ Dots ice cream and Pop Rocks. $14. www.hotelvalleyho.com.
Grapefruit & Basil Martini
Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill
Ice-cold Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka, St. Germain and Fee Brothers Grapefruit Bitters reinforce the flavors of the fresh grapefruit and basil in this cockail, while the addition of lime and simple syrup add a sweet and sour balance. $10. www.thirstyliongastropub.com.
Key Lime Martini
Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar
For those who prefer to drink their dessert, Tommy Bahama’s Key Lime Martini hits the spot. The libation features Van Gogh Blue Vodka, Licor 43, and Keke Beach Liqueur. It’s even finished with a graham cracker-crusted rim. $13. www.tommybahama.com.
twenty6 Lounge at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge
This uniquely Asian-inspired cocktail features lychee, a creamy tropical fruit with a lush, floral perfume that pops with flavor. Here, it is mixed with a trio of Ketel One Vodka, sparkling rosé and sake, which provides bubbles and lots of “spirit.” $14. www.jwdesertridge.com.
Mbar at Prado
Take a trip to the beaches of Spain with every sip of the Pineapple Saffron. Ketel One Vodka serves as the backdrop for the tropical flavors of pineapple and notes of saffron syrup, with a hint of lemon to bring out both flavors. The drink is topped with additional “red gold,” the legendary saffron spice. $15. www.montelucia.com.
Gold Jacket-Green Jacket
For this drink, guests start by choosing between yellow or green Chartreuse. While green Chartreuse is bold and herbal, yellow has a touch of sweetness and a delicate aroma. From there, the guest’s selection is combined with Wheatly Vodka, muddled citrus, and basil and rosemary simple syrup before being topped with an edible flower. $10. www.pitchpizzeria.com.
Vodka is so versatile that it fits into heavier, rich cocktails just as easily as refreshing, fruity and herbal options. Take this espresso martini with Tito’s Vodka, which is combined with Baileys Irish Cream and Kahlua before getting a kick of caffeine with housemade espresso. $14. www.sophiasaz.com.