Two vodka martinis with lemon garnishes


Vodka is great for cocktails because it has virtually no flavor with a smooth finish. "When it comes to mixed drinks, there's no end to what you can do with vodka," says John Clement, a bartender at Clementine in Manhattan. "I have the recipes for about 1,000 vodka drinks in my head." Save your higher quality vodka for drinks where the spirit dominates, such as martinis, gimlets, and vodka sodas. Mid-level brands work fine in cocktail recipes that have other flavorings, such as white Russians, Bloody Marys, Cosmos, and Screwdrivers. If you want to start experimenting with vodka on your own, use Food & Wine's guide to find the best vodka brands and vodka cocktail recipes.