Nicole’s Summer Cocktail Series: Refreshing Vodka Drinks


Summer hasn’t even officially kicked off yet, and I am over here like, “Bring on the cocktails P-L-E-A-S-E!”

In this episode of my Summer Cocktail Series: Refreshing Vodka Drinks,  I will be showcasing five cocktails made with vodka.

When I think of summer, the word fresh comes to mind. In these cocktails, you can find local and seasonal fruits and herbs which makes them extra special. So sit back, relax, and cheers to summer!

vodka cranberry cocktail
Refreshing Vodka Drinks are Delightful

According to the website,, vodka can be traced back as early as the 9th century. Originally used as medicine and as an ingredient in gunpowder, it wasn’t until the mid-1500s, that vodka began to be mass-produced and distributed. Similar to gin, vodka is being produced in Vermont by many small producers who are focused on delivering delicious and unique local spirits. Check out a local retailer to see what Vermont vodkas you can find.

Vodka Tonic:

Fill a pint size mason jar with ice, then add:

2 oz. Vodka

Fill with Tonic

Squeeze of lemon or lime

This thirst-quenching cocktail pairs nicely with grilled fish and vegetable kabobs or a shrimp ceviche.


Vodka Lemonade (or Vodka Strawberry Lemonade):

Fill a pint size mason jar with ice, then add:

2 oz. Vodka

Fill with Lemonade

Add a tablespoon of homemade strawberry simple syrup (if you have it!)

Garnish with a lemon slice

This pairs nicely with barbecued chicken and grilled corn.


Basil-Blueberry Gimlet

Fill a shaker with ice and add:

2 oz. Vodka

1 oz. Blueberry Simple Syrup

2 T. finely chopped basil leaves and the juice of half a lime muddled together

Shake and strain into a glass

Garnish with frozen blueberries and a lime wedge

This cocktail goes well with a cheese board and salty nuts.


Rhubarb Collins

Fill a pint size mason jar with ice, then add:

2 oz. Vodka

1 oz. Rhubarb Simple Syrup

½ oz. Fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Fill with soda water

Garnish with a lemon wedge

This cocktail pairs nicely with shrimp and orzo salad.


Fourth of July Cocktail

Fill a pint size mason jar with ice and frozen blueberries,  then add:

2 oz. Vodka

2 oz. Pineapple Juice

2 oz. Fruit punch

Fill with ginger ale, or lemon-lime soda

Garnish with a pineapple wedge

This cocktail pairs nicely with grilled steak and potatoes.


I love having a jar of simple syrup in the refrigerator to add sweetness to an afternoon iced coffee, and delicious flavor to sun tea, seltzer, or one of these cocktails. Adding in fresh fruits or herbs kicks the syrup up a notch.

raspberries, fruits, blueberries, drinks
Summer Fruits and Herbs make Delicious Cocktails

Basic Simple Syrup:

Bring 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar to a slow boil. Stirring frequently, allow the sugar to melt. Slowly simmer for 5 minutes, remove from heat and let cool. Pour into a jar and refrigerate.

To make flavored simple syrup, add approximately ½ a cup of chopped fruit such as: strawberries, rhubarb, raspberries, blueberries or plums to the water and sugar mixture. Allow sugar to melt and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Strain into a jar. Cool and refrigerate.

You can also try making these cocktails alcohol-free. They are delicious with or without the vodka, and make a wonderful drink for friends or the kids!

Have you tried a local vodka that you love? I’d love to know your recommendations… What summer cocktail is your favorite?



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