Vodka is back and it’s not leaving any time soon. We gave it a rough go at first, but now the industry is coming back at full swing.
So just why didn’t we like vodka at first? Because it’s not craft enough? Maybe because it’s flavorless? Or maybe it’s because it’s a reminder of sticking our heads in a toilet Freshman year of college after a rough night out. But just like high waisted pants and cheetah print, vodka is coming at us with some straight facts.
Vodka is a neutral spirit. Unless it’s flavored, it just tastes like alcohol. Vodka is just a product of yeast and starch with water. That’s pretty much it. Which means vodka is only around 90 calories per standard drink. This is much lower than most alcohol. A glass of red wine is 120 calories per glass, a standard beer is upwards of 150 and whiskey is 116.
But since it’s neutral and lower in calorie, there are a lot of different flavors and textures that can be used with vodka. Vodka’s versatility makes it the best spirit for both sweet and fruit forward drinks, such as a Moscow Mule, to a Green juice, to the spike in your Sprite or being an addition to a full bodied cocktail like an espresso martini.
Vodka is also generally inexpensive to produce. Vodka is not aged in oak barrels or made with hard-to-find botanicals. It can be, but for the most part, it can be mass produced for a low cost. This means that when vodka hits the shelves, it does not have to be $100. You can find vodkas for that price, but you can also find vodkas for $10 that have great structure.
Vodka is also thought to be the spirit that provides the least amount of hangovers. It is true that vodka generally has the least amount of ingredients. It’s essentially ethanol and water. Therefore, having the least amount of potentially inhibiting ingredients, vodka’s residual is less abrasive than darker liquors. But this is helpful if you’re taking shots and not adding anything to your drink. Things like sugar and artificial sweeteners can worsen a hangover.
So what are some vodka drinks that are low-calorie and don’t contain too much sugar? Great question:
- Vodka Martini- a vodka martini generally is served no longer with dry vermouth making it purely vodka and water. Add olives, which are generally very salty, to help increase sodium levels in your body that, in turn, help fight hangovers.
- Vodka Soda and citrus. Soda water has no calories or additives, it generally has quite a bit of sodium and the citrus has vitamin C, which is also a great electrolyte and can help eradicate a hangover as quickly as it comes. Vodka tonic is just like this as well since it has quinine, a Vitamin C power house!
- Bloody Mary- The all-time favorite hangover drink is a great drink to have the night before as well. Bloody Marys are packed with great vitamins from tomato juice, sodium to help fend off a hangover, and are packed with other nutrients.
- Vodka Negroni- Though normally with gin, you can make a Negroni with vodka! The Amaro known as Campari is a popular bitter orange liqueur from Italy that make up ⅓ of the negroni. Bitters tend to be helpful in easing your stomach. Add some orange zest as well to pack in the Vitamin C.
- Skinny Cosmopolitan- Cosmos are made of vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice and Triple Sec. But the Skinny version removes the Triple Sec. Triple Sec is a sugar filled orange flavored liqueur. It’s absolutely delicious, but it can help promote your hangover. Vodka with lime juice and a splash of cranberry can be very delicious and packed with antioxidants and electrolytes if it’s true cranberry juice and not cranberry juice cocktail.