Vodka gets a bad rap for being flavorless and boring. But it can be extremely versatile, like in this cocktail, developed by bartender Shaher Misif at San Francisco’s Cantina. This combination of Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, vodka, and a touch of crème de violette is sort of like a mash-up of two classic cocktails, the Aviation and the Last Word, with vodka taking the place of the gin.
What to buy: Maraschino liqueur is a relatively dry liqueur with a subtle bitter-almond flavor; it can be found at any well-stocked liquor store.
Crème de violette is a floral and sweet liqueur flavored with violet flowers. It should be used sparingly in cocktails, as it can easily overwhelm other spirits.