10 Recipes Using Vodka

Straight up, with soda, on the rocks … there are many ways to drink vodka. But where’s your spirit of adventure with this spirit? Cooking with vodka gives depth to recipes without adding the extra flavors that wine or other liquors would. Here are a handful of recipes, both savory and sweet, plus some cocktail ideas and a few vodka-based projects to get your wheels spinning.

1. Angel Hair Pasta with Spicy Vodka Sauce. This sauce is partly inspired by the spicy Roman arrabbiata as well as by the classic tomato-vodka sauce. With a bit of oregano, a pinch of chile, and a few shots of vodka, this simple dish pays off with big taste.

2. Linguine with Clams and Chorizo. If surf ’n’ turf had a baby, this pasta dish would be it. Bits of spicy, browned chorizo deglazed with vodka mingle with briny bites of clam.

3. Seared Scallops with Lemon and Vodka. Seared scallops are great, and they leave delicious browned bits in the pan that this recipe makes the most of. We deglaze the pan and hit it with a touch of cream and a pinch of tarragon for a recipe that can be served as dinner for two or over thin noodles for a weeknight pasta dish.

4. Drunken Shrimp. Shrimp are tenderized and flavored by a combination of vodka, chiles, lemongrass, and garlic, then sautéed. A last touch of vodka helps boost the sauce’s flavors. All that’s left to add is steamed rice.

5. Orange-Vanilla Ricotta Cheesecake. Who doesn’t love a Creamsicle: vanilla ice cream wrapped in orange ice? Now take those flavors, whip them together with ricotta and a bit of vodka, and you’ve got an adult cheesecake that’s elegant yet still strikes a nostalgic chord.

6. Chocolate Ganache Tart. What do we like about Black Forest cake? The fruit and chocolate. What do we hate? The sickening sweetness. But this deep, intense, dark chocolate tart comes with a vodka-cherry sauced loaded with vanilla flavor, for a perfect twist on Black Forest.

7. Hannibal Lecter. Yes, that Hannibal. He loved the French wine–based apéritif Lillet served over ice with a slice of orange. We like to take that combo past happy hour by combining it with vodka and serving it chilled and up.

8. Disco Dancer. Nothing says the 1970s quite like a Harvey Wallbanger. Here’s a version more apropos to modern times.

9. Oat and Honey Vodka. It’s been said a thousand times that the folks over at Blue Hill at Stone Barns are a talented bunch. The simple genius of infusing vodka with oats and honey is what made us jump on the bandwagon.

10. Sunshine Bitters. These bitters made with vodka and spices have a delicate yet pronounced flavor: just the thing for a stiff floral cocktail like the Girasol.

CHOW’s The Ten column appears every Tuesday.

Aida Mollenkamp is a food
editor at CHOW.

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