On National Vodka Day (Friday, October 4) let’s raise a glass to the spirit that’s often considered “basic” but doesn’t have to be! With so many varieties of vodka – flavored and unflavored – and its versatility in cocktails.

A Dozen Roses ~ Center Hub at Trade Food Hall, Irvine, California

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(Cocktail Credit: Jaime Benson) ~ Center Hub’s Valentine’s Day inspired drink, A Dozen Roses ($12) sweet and floral smell will whisk you away into the springtime. The drink is shaken with Hanger 1 Rose Vodka, a splash of Lillet Blanc, fresh muddled raspberries, simple syrup, and a squeeze of lemon juice.

  • 1.5 oz Hanger 1 Rose Vodka
  • .5 oz Lillet Blanc
  • .75 oz Lemon Juice
  • .5 oz Simple Syrup
  • 3 raspberries muddled

Rim small coupe with rose petal sugar, shake & double strain, then garnish with dried rose, floated.

Land of Milk & Honey ~ Mortar & Pestle, San Jose & San Marcos, Calif.

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The Land of Milk and Honey ($14) combines ginger tea-infused vodka, orange liqueur, lemon, honey, and Bittercube Bolivar bitters with greek yogurt for a creamy, tangy finish. The use of yogurt provides a rich and silky mouthfeel without being weighed down by the heaviness of cream, while also providing good-for-your-gut probiotics and live cultures.

  • 2 bar spoons Greek Yogurt
  • 1 ½ oz Ginger Tea Infused Modest Vodka
  • ½ oz Mandarine Napoleon Orange Liqueur
  • ½ oz Lemon
  • ¾ oz Honey Syrup
  • 1 Dash Bittercube Bolivar Bitters

Instructions: Spoon in yogurt, add ice, build, short shake, strain, then mime shake. Garnish with star anise whole pod.

Skinny Colada ~ Fly N’ Fish Oyster Bar & Grill, Newport Beach, CA

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(Cocktail Credit: Julio Hawkins) The Skinny Colada ($12) is one of Fly N’ Fish’s most popular tropical libations and is a double threat with coconut vodka and a dark rum float. The inspiration for the drink is the restaurant’s proximity to the beach and patrons often seeking a refreshing cocktail to cool down but that’s also guilt-free.

  • 1 oz. Cîroc Coconut Vodka
  • 3 oz. Coconut Water
  • Splash of Pineapple Juice
  • ½ oz. Float of Diamond Head Dark Rum

Instructions: Shake vodka, coconut water, and pineapple juice with ice. Pour into a glass, add the rum float, and garnish with a pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry.

Hickory-Smoked Bacon Bloody Mary ~ Slater’s 50/50, 10 locations across CA, NV, and TX

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Slater’s 50/50 is known for its unique spins on familiar dishes, and this bacon-infused take on the brunch time favorite is no exception. House-made bacon vodka is mixed with bloody mary mix, and finished with a strip of bacon, garnish of olives, lemon, and lime, and a tajin-rimmed glass!

  • 2 oz House Bacon Washed Vodka
  • 7 oz Spicy Bloody Mary mix
  • 4 dashes Tapatio

Garnishes:

  • 1 Bacon slice
  • 2 olives
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 1 Lemon Wedge

Instructions: Rim pint glass with tajin and filling ingredients. Add ice and garnish.

Clyde ~ Ways & Means Oyster House, Huntington Beach, CA

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Be the Bonnie to this Clyde when sipping on this refreshing and sweet rendition of a Moscow mule. The Clyde provides a slightly tropical flair to the well-loved original cocktail!

  • 1 1/2 fl oz Hangar One Vodka
  • 0 1/2 fl oz Lime Juice
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • 3 wedges of pineapple
  • 3 fl oz Ginger Beer

Instructions: Muddle 3 pineapple wedges with vodka and lime juice, then shake and strain into a Mule mug. Top with ice and ginger beer, and garnish with a dash of bitters and pineapple skin on a skewer.

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