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Flatiron Martini at Suffolk Arms
Photograph: Liz Clayman

The best new vodka cocktails in NYC

See how top New York City bartenders are shaking and stirring new life into the once-maligned clear spirit

By Dan Q Dao

In the early years of New York's cocktail revolution, bar pioneers shunned vodka in favor of whiskey and gin, adhering strictly to the ethos of pre-Prohibition boozing. Now, a new crop of drink shakers at bars in NYC are giving spirited proof to vodka's bona fides with creative ingredients and newfangled presentations, dispelling the much-perpetuated myth that the clear spirit is flavorless and dull. From an Asian punch sipper to a Chemex-dripped Bloody Mary, these are the best cocktails with vodka in New York.

RECOMMENDED: See more cocktails in NYC

Best new vodka cocktails in New York

The Northside at Belle Shoals

Bars Cocktail bars Williamsburg

At this Southern-twanged juke joint, head bartender Jimmy "Jimbo" Palumbo taps into the clear spirit’s ability to spotlight other subtle flavors. Iceland’s Reyka vodka and caraway-shot Brennivín aquavit are neatly soothed by splashes of cucumber and lime. $12

Star Anise at Mace

Bars Lounges East Village

Bar veteran Nico de Soto flexes his knack for spice-forward elixirs in this sophisticated tipple offsetting heady star-anise–infused Reyka vodka with bright rose-and-pomegranate shrub, sour verjus and bubbly champagne. $16

Kobrick Coffee Co.
Photograph: Courtesy Kobrick Coffee Co.

Chemex Bloody Mary at Kobrick Coffee Co.

Bars Cocktail bars Meatpacking District

True to the shtick of this café-cocktail bar mash-up, barman Tobin Ludwig slings a version of the vodka-tomato brunch classic made using a Chemex coffee dripper. The booze is infused with fresh horseradish, habanero, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce in the filter, while lemon and organic tomato juice are poured in à la minute. $16

Flatiron Martini at Suffolk Arms
Photograph: Liz Clayman

Flatiron Martini at Suffolk Arms

Bars Cocktail bars Lower East Side

At his recently-opened solo project, Giuseppe González celebrates a long history of vodka innovation with an entire page of the spirit's greatest hits. This iconic stir, first created by the bartender's erstwhile mentor Julie Reiner in 2003, triples up on citrus with a bitter-tart mix of Grey Goose L'Orange, Lillet, Cointreau and orange bitters. $13


Village Bicycle from Slowly Shirley

Bars Cocktail bars West Village

Offered with either Dorothy Parker gin or Aylesbury Duck vodka, this aperitif from Jim Kearns zeroes in on traditional Eastern flavors with a blend of muddled kaffir lime, ginger and floral Giffard lychee liqueur rounded out by Dolin blanc vermouth. $16

Isla de Sol at the Bennett

Bars Cocktail bars Tribeca

True to it's name (it translates to "island of the sun" in Spanish), Meaghan Dorman's shaken cocktail evokes a sunny escape with chilled hibiscus tea and bright Wolffer Estate verjus offsetting Hangar One vodka and a splash of Giffard Creme de Peche in a Collins glass. $15

Honey Bee My Baby at Lucky Bee
Photograph: Courtesy Lucky Bee/Filip Wolak

Honey Bee My Baby at the Lucky Bee

Restaurants Pan-Asian Lower East Side

At this neon-lit Southeast Asian newcomer, bar man Andrew Borgia offers an emerald-hued refresher that tames Tito's vodka with fresh green melon and lime juices and matcha-infused honey over crushed ice. A dusting of bee pollen sourced from local keeper Andrew's Honey crowns the top, and a dollar of each drink goes towards the New York Beekeepers' Association. $15

Mother of Pearl
Photograph: Courtesy Jane Danger

Back to Basics at Mother of Pearl

Bars Cocktail bars East Village

In this bright, dual-colored pour, drinks maven Jane Danger spikes a tropical mix of kiwi, pineapple and lemon juices with Tito's vodka, Luxardo Maraschino (cherry liqueur) and a ruby-red float of Aperol and Peychaud's Bitters. $15


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