Vodka is one of the most widely consumed alcoholic beverages worldwide, with fans from all walks of life. This classic clear liquor deserves to be celebrated, and National Vodka Day is the perfect excuse to do it, whether in the form of a cocktail or a shot. For National Vodka Day, try one of the numerous easy cocktails that pair well with vodka, or treat yourself to a premium bottle and sample the finest vodka has to offer.
Background on Vodka
Vodka’s origins can be traced back to the 9th century in Russia and Poland, making it one of the oldest distilled beverages in human history. Unlike today’s multi-distillation process, traditional vodka was only distilled once. It is a type of distilled liquor that can be manufactured from a variety of fermented vegetables. Vodka makers eventually figured out that repeated distillation improved both the spirit’s purity and alcohol content.
For generations, vodka was only made and consumed in Eastern Europe; it wasn’t until after Prohibition ended in the 1920s and 1930s that it became widely consumed in the United States. According to urban legend, many of the best bartenders and industry experts fled the United States during Prohibition, when they were exposed to the rise of several signature vodka-based cocktails.
Many of these famous bartenders and restaurant owners left the United States during Prohibition but returned once it was overturned and immediately began serving vodka-based cocktails and importing vodka through their international networks.
During World War II, the supply chain was severely disrupted, prompting the United States and other Western countries that had developed a taste for the typically Eastern European spirit to begin making Vodka domestically. These days, not just in its original homes of Russia and Poland, but also in countries like France, Sweden, and the United States, vodka is produced commercially.
Vodka is now a common ingredient in a wide variety of American cocktails, from “breakfast drinks” like Bloody Marys to sophisticated evening beverages like martini. It “disappears” in the right cocktail, making it one of the most adaptable spirits available.
It’s Time for Vodka!
Every year on October 4th, Americans celebrate what has been dubbed “National Vodka Day” since 2009. Thousands of individuals participate every year in this holiday created to honor the U.S. fascination with vodka. Between 1975 and 1980, most experts agree that vodka became more popular in the United States than Bourbon Whisky, and today vodka accounts for at least 25% of all spirits sold in the country.
Attending a major party or event devoted to National Vodka Day is one of the greatest ways to commemorate the festival since it captures the social spirit of Vodka. Many pubs, restaurants, and nightclubs throw National Vodka Day events where individuals can toast with friends and meet new people while sipping on a Vodka-based cocktail.
Vodka-based cocktails and shooters are a great way to celebrate National Vodka Day, and many people opt to host themed parties in their honor every year. One of the greatest times to buy premium vodka is on National Vodka Day, since many businesses, both chain and independent, offer huge discounts on the most popular brands in honor of the holiday.
The Top Vodka Cocktails to Celebrate
Bartenders all around the world agree that vodka is the ideal spirit to use when making a cocktail for someone who prefers a subtler alcoholic flavor. It’s great for a wide variety of cocktail recipes:
Recognized as a morning and brunch staple, the Bloody Mary has earned a reputation for potentially alleviating hangover symptoms, owing to the fusion of nutrient-rich tomato juice and the calming properties of vodka. While enjoyed casually, it is often touted as the “ultimate hangover cure.”
Here is how to create this well-balanced cocktail:
- Tomato juice: 4 oz
- Vodka: 2 oz
- Lemon juice: 1/2 oz
- Lime juice: 1/2 oz
- Worcestershire sauce: 2 dashes
- Celery salt: 1 dash
- Pepper: to taste
- Garnish: celery stalk
- Fill a glass with ice.
- Add the vodka followed by the lemon and lime juices.
- Pour in the tomato juice and Worcestershire sauce.
- Stir well, seasoning with celery salt and pepper to your liking.
- Garnish with a celery stalk before serving.
An iconic cocktail gracing high-end bars and restaurants globally, the Martini even has a glass named after it owing to its widespread appeal. The classic Martini stepped into the limelight with a push from the legendary movie character, James Bond, known for preferring his Martinis “shaken, not stirred.”
Here’s how to craft the classic Martini, a la James Bond:
- Vodka: 2 oz
- Dry vermouth: 1/2 oz
- Ice: as needed
- Garnish: lemon twist or olive
- Fill a mixing glass with ice.
- Add the vodka and dry vermouth.
- Shake vigorously until well chilled.
- Strain the mixture into a chilled Martini glass.
- Garnish with a lemon twist or an olive, as per your preference.
Offering a delightful alternative for individuals who find the Martini a bit too “vodka forward,” the Cosmopolitan brings a vibrant yet balanced flavor profile to the table, characterized by its light red to pink hue, which distinctly sets it apart when served in a Martini glass.
- Vodka: 1 1/2 oz
- Cointreau: 1 oz
- Cranberry juice: 1 oz
- Lime juice: 1/2 oz
- Garnish: lime wheel
- In a shaker, combine the vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, and lime juice with ice.
- Shake well until the mixture is thoroughly chilled.
- Strain into a chilled Martini glass.
- Garnish with a lime wheel to enhance its visual appeal and add a zest of lime flavor.
Each recipe is designed to bring out the best attributes of vodka, showcasing its versatility in cocktail creation.
Celebrating Vodka Day with the Finest Spirits
Grey Goose Vodka
- Origin: France
- Price: Approximately $30 per bottle
- Quality: Above-average, presenting good value for its reasonable price point
- Recognition: Enjoying widespread acclaim, it is a go-to choice for many bartenders globally
- Best use: Often the primary choice for crafting a refreshing Vodka Cranberry cocktail
- Profile: It is known for its high quality, which transcends its relatively affordable price, making it a staple in bars and households alike.
- Origin: Poland
- Reputation: Highly regarded among bartenders for its quality and affordability, mirroring the positive reception of Grey Goose in the United States
- Best use: Its clean and crisp taste makes it a favored choice for Martinis, enhancing the cocktail by blending seamlessly with other ingredients
- Profile: Distinct for its clean aftertaste, it is often requested by vodka enthusiasts who appreciate its pure, refreshing profile that augments rather than overwhelms the palate.
- Origin: United States
- Price: Positioned as an affordable option, it appeals to a segment of consumers looking for budget-friendly choices
- Best use: Ideal for concocting sweet and juice-based cocktails, where its characteristics can be best utilized
- Profile: While not as smooth as some high-end counterparts, it finds its niche in mixed cocktails, where it can add the necessary vodka punch without requiring a smooth finish required in “vodka forward” cocktails.
- Note: Given its texture and profile, it is less recommended for cocktails like Martinis, where the vodka’s smoothness is a central element to the drink’s success.
Where to Have a Vodka Party for the Holiday
It’s a good idea to contact your neighborhood bars and nightclubs in the weeks preceding National Vodka Day to find out whether they’ll be hosting any of the numerous large-scale parties and festivities held in honor of National Vodka Day.
For instance, Ed’s Tavern, a sports bar and restaurant in the Sarasota, Florida area, celebrates National Vodka Day annually by introducing a variety of limited-time drink specials and specialty cocktails made with Vodka. Tito’s Tacos, a chain restaurant with roots in Austin, Texas, goes all out for this special occasion. Since National Vodka Day and National Taco Day always share the same day, Tito’s Tacos in Culver City, California, throws a huge party in honor of both annual celebrations.
Given that vodka is one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in the United States, it is only natural that October 4th be designated as National Vodka Day. It’s celebrated everywhere from dorm rooms to country clubs, and it’s the perfect excuse to try a new vodka-based cocktail and show your appreciation for your neighborhood barman.