In the United States, vodka is outselling gin, tequila, and rum – combined.

In the United States, vodka is outselling gin, tequila, and rum – combined.

Ask any bartender: What’s the most versatile spirit on your shelf?

You’re likely to get one answer over and over:

Vodka.

It’s often said that the ideal vodka is odorless, flavorless, and colorless, making it a seemingly odd answer for imbibers who actually enjoy the complexities of liquor. Nevertheless, in the United States, vodka is outselling gin, tequila, and rum – combined.

Maraschino Cherry Syrup

Maraschino Cherry Syrup

But vodka wasn’t always popular in America. We’d wager a guess that unless you’re of Eastern European or Russian descent, then chances are that your great grandparents had never even heard of vodka. Vodka wasn’t introduced to the United States until after Prohibition in the 1930s. Smirnoff was the first to sell vodka in the U.S. – targeted at Eastern European immigrants. Early vodkas sold in the U.S. were aged spirits. “Gold” vodka was aged for 10 years in oak casks and bore little resemblance to the clear vodkas of today.

Vodka didn’t really become popular, however, until the 1940s/1950s, when Smirnoff and other vodka companies realized they could capitalize on the flavorless, odorless, colorless features of the spirit. Vodka slowly became popular as a beverage ingredient for mixed drinks.

It wasn’t until the early 1960s, though, that vodka really hit its stride. Smirnoff realized that in order for vodka to really take off, some paid promotions might be in order. The company paid to have James Bond drink vodka martinis – and only vodka martinis – in the first Bond film, Dr. No.

Our Favorite Vodka Cocktail Recipes

Of course, we have a few of our own favorite vodka cocktail recipes. You’ll find that these drink recipes use a wide array of beverage ingredients and run the gamut from sweet to sour and everywhere in between. If you’re ready to prove the versatility of vodka in your own home bar, then this shortlist can help you get started:

If you really love vodka, go ahead and check out our seven favorite vodka cocktail recipes from 2013. Which ones on this list are your favorites? Let us know on the official Amoretti Facebook page!

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