A Complete Guide To Upgrading Your Vodka Soda

By: Shireen Jamooji

vodka soda guide

A Vodka Soda may seem like one of the most un-cocktail like cocktails around. With just two main elements (vodka and soda, clearly) and perhaps a quick squeeze of lemon or lime, it’s hard to mentally put it alongside the complicated and elaborate creations that are coming out of the mixology world today. But its neutral identity also happens to be its most powerful asset since with very little innate flavour, it serves as a completely blank canvas to create something new. 

Pro Tips To Elevate Your Basic Vodka Soda

The first stage of making your own elevated Vodka Soda, is to get the basics right. 

Chill Your Mixer

The enjoyment of a good vodka soda lies heavily on the temperature. Warm or room-temperature mixers tend to go flat instantly. So whether you’re using tonic or soda, make sure to refrigerate it beforehand. You can also freeze your vodka to make the chill last even longer. 

Ice Matters

On the matter of temperature, make sure to add ice. The common belief is that more ice equals a diluted drink but it actually accelerates the cooling and delivers a colder beverage which in the long run leads to a less diluted drink. So load up on the ice for a more delicious sip.  

Don’t Skip The Citrus

All the additional flavour in a vodka soda comes from the citrus element so be sure to add in a squeeze of lemon, orange or even grapefruit. To add another layer of flavour heat a strip of citrus peel with and open flame for 3-4 seconds to release the natural essential oils and then coat the rim of your glass.  

Use The Very Best

There’s nowhere to hide in a Vodka Soda, so it’s important to use the best quality ingredients from the get-go for a perfect final drink. Opt for a high-end vodka like Ketel One or Ciroc Vodka which are distilled to perfection for a supremely smooth drink without any of the dreaded vodka burn.  

vodka soda

Things To Add To Your Vodka Soda

Once you’ve got the basic Vodka Soda on lock, it’s time to start having fun. Here are some additions you can choose from to take your drink to the next level.

Botanical Infusion

Elevate your vodka soda by infusing it with fresh or dried botanicals. Whether it's hibiscus, strawberry, chamomile, or coconut, the options are diverse. The infusion process varies – fruits and herbs may take hours, while teas like hibiscus require just minutes. Check out the instructions below for a quick Strawberry Hibiscus vodka infusion.

Fresh Fruit or Herb Muddle

If you want to stay in the realm of fresh ingredients, why not opt for fruit or herbs instead? A completely hassle-free route to extra flavour by muddling fresh fruit or herbs into your vodka soda. This method provides a burst of taste without compromising your diet. For a refreshing twist, try muddling cucumber with lime juice and garnishing with fresh mint.

Alcohol Rinse

Rather than adding the flavour to your cocktail, why not try adding it before? In an rinse, a heavily flavoured syrup, liqueur or alcohol is swirled around the glass before pouring in your vodka and soda. Even though it’s a small amount, it can help change the profile of the drink and also provide a base to build more flavour. For example, more spice or herb-forward rinses like absinthe can serve as the base for tropical or fruity additions.  

Garnish In Style

Garnishing is a key part of most cocktails, but it does more than make your drink look pretty. A heavily scented garnish like fresh orange peel or a smoked sprig of rosemary can elevate your drink with aplomb. While not as potent as infusions or muddled ingredients, they offer a subtle aroma and flavour. Berries, mint, or even a sprig of rosemary can turn your drink into a delightful snack.

With these tips in mind, you can change your straight-laced and sedate vodka soda into the life of the party!