The Mixology Talk Podcast

Episode One: All About Vodka

This episode starts our series on the Base Spirits.  These are the common types of liquors that you’ll most often in cocktail recipes and behind bars.  We’re starting it off with the “blank canvas” of spirits, Vodka!

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In today’s Episode we’re talking all about Vodka.

Vodka is made with These basic steps:

  • If you begin with starch (typically grain or potato), the starch is cooked and made into a tea-like liquid, converting the starch into sugar. If you begin with a naturally sweet substance, you can skip this step.
  • The liquid is fermented. (Think: Potato Wine)
  • The fermented liquid is then distilled to extract the alcohol.  It might be distilled more than once to achieve higher alcohol concentration.
  • The final spirit may be sold as-is (like Everclear) or watered down to a more common bottling strength of around 40% alcohol (80 proof).

We’re Drinking a Watermelon Vodka Mojito:


  • 1.5 oz Vodka
  • Juice of one lime (approx. 1 oz)
  • a ~1.5″ cube of fresh Watermelon
  • 0.5 oz Simple Syrup
  • 0.5 oz St. Germain
  • Soda water


Muddle the simple syrup and watermelon together in a shaking tin.  Add all other ingredients except Soda water.  Shake to chill and fine-strain into a Collins glass that has been chilled with ice.  Top with Soda water and garnish with another piece of watermelon, if desired.

Shopping for Vodka

  • Generally stay away from plastic bottles
  • The rumor (which we personally believe) is that most celebrity name and novelty Vodkas are simply bulk-purchased spirit that’s watered down and re-bottled.  We don’t know for sure, but if this is true, it’s not really worth spending more for a celebrity endorsement.
  • You should spend about $20 for a very decent 750ml of vodka.

Cocktails with Vodka:

Vodka really is the “white canvas” of spirits.  This can be a good thing for cocktails (because it gives a lot of flexibility), or it can be a bad thing – because the spirit doesn’t bring any of its own flavor or character.

Here are some well known cocktails that use Vodka:

  • Lemon Drop
  • Gimlet
  • Vodka Martini

Thanks for Listening!

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I hope you found this episode helpful! If you have questions about using vodka or other spirits in cocktails, ask a question using the buttons below, or just leave a comment!

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