The relative purity and smoothness of vodka make it perfect for the infusion of other flavors. The craze began long before commercial sales of the stuff, with amateur bartenders and vodka lovers crafting their own flavors at home using mint leaves, berries, citrus and other basics.
In 1986, the commercial vodka market got wind of this newfangled trend and Absolut Peppar hit the shelves. Mainly designed for the creation of spicier Bloody Marys, Peppar was an instant success. The blood hit the proverbial water, sparking a feeding frenzy of flavored vodka releases. There are now hundreds of varieties of flavored vodka on the market, not a few of them bordering on the ridiculous.
Whether you're sipping it on the rocks or mixing up drinks such as a Dreamsicle, an Orange Bliss or a Sunsplash, orange-flavored vodkas can't be beat. Some of our favorites include Absolut Mandarin, Smirnoff Orange, New Amsterdam Citron and Grey Goose L'Orange. SKYY and Ketel One make a mean orange vodka as well. You can also opt for lime, lemon or grapefruit flavors when mixing that perfect Greyhound or Salty Dog.
If it grows on a bush or a bramble, especially one of those thorny ones that like to eat shirt sleeves, you can probably find it in a vodka. Why stop at basics like strawberry, raspberry and blueberry? Up your game with more obscure offerings such as marionberry, huckleberry, grape (are grapes considered berries?) or cranberry. Once you tire of strawberry vodka, level up and play with strawberry basil vodka instead. Infinite opportunities for creativity — or disaster — abound! Strawberry basil mudslide, anyone?
For a deeper and more complex flavor, try vodka infused with essences such as sweet tea, caramel, chocolate or coffee. If you're "fortunate" enough to find it, grab some buttered popcorn-flavored vodka (though what you'd mix with it is beyond us). For an even fierier Bloody Mary than Peppar can produce, mix in some Sriracha-flavored vodka instead.
If you're watching your waistline, sip some flavored vodka in lieu of dessert. How about a shot of birthday-cake-flavored vodka? Depending on which drink you're mixing, any number of recipes can be enhanced by such inspirations as cookie dough, pumpkin pie or marshmallow vodka. Smirnoff even has a cinnamon churro-flavored vodka among their dozens of flavored offerings. No matter what your palate, there's a flavored vodka for you.