It might only be a simple mixed drink, combining a spirit, a mixer, some ice and a garnish, but technically that’s enough to constitute a cocktail and, like it’s gin based brother, the Vodka Tonic is such perfected simplicity that it stands firmly amongst the cocktail canon.
Vodka, Tonic Water, Garnish – High-Ball*
*premium glassware pictured, event glassware may differ.
The Vodka Tonic might only be a simple mixed drink but its such an old and elegant high-ball that it is often included in cocktail books and bar manuals as one of the archetypal tall drinks.
Along with its slightly more popular sibling, the Gin & Tonic, the Vodka Tonic is a resounding favourite—combining dry, subtle vodka with bittersweet tonic and a fresh, fruity garnish to create a drink that’s beautifully balanced in its basicness. This refreshing high-ball is a great choice all year round and a fantastic addition to a vodka-based menu.
Thanks to its clean, subtle flavour profile, vodka is one of the most versatile spirits for mixology, if you’re planning on serving a vodka-based selection, there are a ton of great drinks you could serve alongside the Vodka Tonic, to offer a wide and diverse menu. Some of our favourite vodka cocktails include the Caprioska; a deliciously zingy twist on the Caipirinha, featuring vodka in place of cachaca, mixed with lime, sugar and crushed ice, the Moscow Mule; another simple high-ball, consisting of vodka, lime and ginger ale, or even the classic Cosmopolitan; a tangy, dry, daisy-style mixture of vodka, lime and cranberry juice.
If you’re featuring a Vodka Tonic as a refreshing choice on a summer-time menu, an obvious counterpart would be the Gin and Tonic, just these two drinks alone may be enough to satisfy the tastes of most guests, but there are plenty of ways to diversify a menu of long, low ABV drinks. Some other great tall, simple cocktails include the Dark and Stormy; a spicy mixture of rum, lime and ginger beer, and the Paloma; a dry citrusy high-ball of tequila, grapefruit and soda.
If you’re planning on serving a Vodka Tonic as part of your cocktail menu and want to know more about what drinks might be good to serve with it, be sure to speak to your event organiser about your options, or check out some other vodka-based, high-ball and classic cocktails from our list.
The Vodka Tonic is a classic high-ball and such a seemingly natural pairing that it has probably existed as long as these two ingredients have occupied the shelves of bars together. Vodka became a universally popular spirit in the 1950’s, with its low calorie count and neutral flavour profile it quickly took off and found its way into various cocktail recipes and mixed drinks. With the already widespread popularity of the Gin and Tonic it was only natural that one of the first uses of this new spirit was as an alternative to the notable high-ball.
Myths & Legends
Interestingly and despite what its marketing may suggest, Smirnoff vodka, perhaps the most famous vodka brand, is produced all over the world though not in Russia, the company was forced out of Russia after the revolution in 1917 and relocate operations a number of times before eventually selling to an Russian businessman living in America called Rudolph Kunnett who began producing the spirit in Bethel, North Carolina in 1933. Unfortunately for Kunnett, vodka failed to take off with the US market and he was forced to sell to Heublein, a company that specialised in the import and export of liquors and foreign foods.
It wasn’t until the early 1950’s, during the brief period of good relations with Russia following WW2, that vodka became a hugely popular spirit in the US. This was due in part to an ingenious marketing campaign by Heublein, who introduced American drinkers to their newly created ‘Moscow Mule’ cocktail which quickly gained popularity.
A full article on the intriguing history of Smirnoff vodka can be found on drinks website moscowmule.com.
Ingredients & Equipment
As the beauty of this drink lies in its simplicity, it’s worth using the best you can get your hands on of each of its few ingredients. A drink like the Vodka Tonic is where it’s worth using a top shelf vodka, we love Chase, this family owned, single-estate distillery is based in Herefordshire and produce a range of delicious English potato-vodkas.
As it makes up over half the volume of this cocktail it’s worth using a high quality tonic too. There’s no point putting a nice, top shelf vodka with a splash of warm, flat supermarket own-brand tonic. One of our favourite tonic brands is The London Essence Company, their tonics are distilled from natural essences and come in a range of delicious and surprising flavours as well as classic London-style tonic.
- 50ml Vodka
- Tonic Water
- Lime Wedge for Garnish (or alternative)
- High-Ball Glass
- Cubed Ice
- Take your high-ball glass
- Using your jigger to measure, add the vodka to the glass
- Fill the glass with cubed ice
- Fill to the top with tonic water of your choosing
- Garnish with a lime wedge or garnish of your choice
- Serve and enjoy!
For larger groups of six or more students, we offer the option to take things private. Our classes are fully portable, and we are able to set ourselves up efficiently and professionally in a wide variety of locations and settings across the capital, the UK, and beyond. You name the location, and we’ll endeavour to make it happen.
Give one of our dedicated event organisers a call on 020 8003 7982. They’ll happily talk you through your options, and answer any questions you may have about both our mobile and in-house cocktail making classes.