Six Fun and Flavorful Two-Ingredient Vodka Drinks

Updated by Taylor Tobin

Vodka is a hugely popular spirit among cocktail fans due in large part to the fact that this liquor’s light body and neutral flavor make it a perfect match for any number of mixers , from juices to sodas to syrups. Vodka’s versatility allows you to dress it up in cocktails as elaborately as you’d like, but it also provides the opportunity to strip down the drink-making process by mixing flavorful (and potent!) libations with only a couple of elements. These six easy vodka drinks deliver big flavor and festive vibes with just two ingredients (yes, including the vodka).


Vodka and Cranberry Juice

We’ll start with a mixed-drink classic beloved for generations: the good ol’ vodka-cran. Rachael Robbins of Chickologist tells us that cranberry juice has a great balance of what you need in every cocktail: sugar and acid. “Cranberry juice is bold enough to mask vodka’s strong alcohol taste. It also pairs well with most flavored vodkas, and using a flavored vodka gives the illusion of a more complex cocktail!”

Make an excellent vodka-cranberry by mixing one-part vodka with three-parts cranberry juice, keeping in mind that a lower amount of cranberry juice will result in a stronger-tasting drink. Robbins suggests adding a wedge of lime for an extra citrus spritz and issues a reminder for this goes-down-easy favorite: “You can never have too much ice!”

Vodka and Grapefruit Juice (Greyhound)

Another member of the juice-and-vodka family, vodka mixed with grapefruit juice is known in cocktail circles as a greyhound. According to Paul Kushner of , a greyhound is a classic highball made with only grapefruit juice and vodka, so because of the greyhound’s simplicity, the quality of the grapefruit juice is crucial. “[The drink] can taste like battery acid if you don't have fresh-squeezed juice. Grapefruits have pretty high juice yield, so pick up two large, soft grapefruits and juice them yourself,” Kushner recommends.

Kushner also points out that a greyhound is meant to be ultra-refreshing. “The key to a great greyhound is temperature. You want it icy-cold! Shake it with ice and serve over a giant ice cube in a highball glass or over crushed ice in a Collins glass.” As for garnishing, Kushner recommends adding a sprig of mint.


Vodka and Flavored Seltzer

Bubbly, low-sugar, and astonishingly easy, vodka with soda water is a natural choice for drinkers who want a light and crisp cocktail without the sweetness of fruit juice or sugary soda. While mixing vodka with “plain” soda water can feel a bit uninspired, Courtney Smith of Chesapeake Bartenders reminds us that sugar-free soda water now comes in a plethora of intriguing flavors like blackberry, raspberry, cherry, lemon, and lime.

Pick your favorite flavored seltzer, pair it with plain vodka—or, if you’re feeling fancy, some fruit-flavored vodka—and garnish with a piece of the fruit used to flavor the seltzer: a cherry for cherry seltzer, a raspberry for raspberry seltzer, etc.

Vodka and Ginger Beer

Moscow mules—made with vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice—are technically a three-ingredient drink, but if you want to further simplify this cocktail-world staple, then consider the pared-down combination of vodka and spicy ginger beer, which makes for an engaging libation in and of itself.

“Because vodka is very neutral in flavor, it needs to be mixed with something that isn't too sweet or too spicy, since the mixer will be the primary flavor. Ginger beer strikes the perfect balance between sweetness and spice while also packing a flavor punch that won't tire out your palate,” says Allie Albanese of Parched Around the World . Vodka, ginger beer, a hearty scoop of crushed ice, and a lime wedge garnish make for a festive holiday party drink.

Vodka and Kombucha

Naama Tamir, owner of Lighthouse BK , describes kombucha—her favorite mixer for vodka—as “fermented, sometimes slightly savory, refreshing, bubbly and versatile.” Kombucha is a drink made with sweetened black tea that undergoes fermentation, a process that gives it a complex and multilayered flavor profile. According to Tamir, kombucha brings “refreshing, spicy, funky, gingery, citrusy” notes to any mixed drink, and those flavors really have the opportunity to sing when combined with vodka.

Tamir makes her vodka-kombucha cocktail by pouring one-and-a-half or two ounces of vodka into a Collins or old-fashioned glass, adding ice, then topping it with kombucha and garnishing with a sprig of shiso, basil, mint, or cilantro.


Vodka and Clamato

Calling all Caesar fans ! There’s a two-ingredient vodka cocktail that replicates many of the flavor dynamics of this much-loved Canadian brunch classic but with far fewer ingredients: the vodka-Clamato.

“Clamato is a seasoned tomato juice with clam broth, which sounds terrible, but is incredibly savory and delicious without being fishy,” explains Kushner, who recommends this easy libation particularly if you have access to Canadian Clamato. Add a celery stick or pickle spear as a garnish and you have a speedy and savory holiday-brunch treat.

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