I mentioned on Monday that vodka is one of the most versatile — if not the most versatile — spirits. There are tons of vodka-based cocktail recipes out there. A Google search should confirm that.
In bartending school, we had to learn the most-ordered recipes for our big test, especially because a lot of the drinks are very similar. If you work in a bar and you substitute one ingredient, chances are good you made another drink entirely. And your customer — who knows what they like enough to call it by name — might not be happy. Go people-watch at Starbucks for a few hours and you’ll know what I mean.
One of the sets I always get confused is in the vodka family. It all starts with the Cape Codder, which is made with vodka and cranberry juice. A classic with a thousand (or so it seems) spin-offs. It’s like the CSI of cocktails.
There’s the Sea Breeze, which is vodka, cranberry juice and grapefruit juice.
There’s the Bay Breeze, which is vodka, cranberry juice and pineapple juice.
There’s the Madras, which is vodka, cranberry juice and orange juice.
It gets even crazier:
There’s the Rose Kennedy cocktail which is a Cape Codder with club soda.
There’s the Cosmopolitan, which is vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice and triple sec.
And there’s the Sex on the Beach, which is vodka, cranberry juice, orange juice and schnapps.
Surely you can see why all of that is confusing, right? I forgive you if you get them wrong too.
The Cape Codder is such a classic, (Come on, who hasn’t ordered a vodka-cranberry before?) so I thought I’d focus on one of those spin-offs instead of the classic today. The Madras cocktail is like the CSI: Miami of the group — AKA the best of them all. I love the citrus kick amid the tart cranberry, but I still find it sweet and refreshing. I encourage you to try its sisters and decide which one you like best for yourself. // susannah
Click below for the Madras recipe!
A summery vodka classic
- 1 1/2 ounces vodka
- 3 ounces cranberry juice
- 1 ounce orange juice
- orange slice
- Fill a rocks glass with ice. Add vodka and cranberry juice. Stir. Top with orange juice. Garnish with an orange slice.