Vodka is a master of disguise. And that's intentional. There are no universal rules to producing vodka, but the final product is supposed to be odorless, colorless and tasteless. Distillers like to leave their mark, though, so they tend to leave in at least some flavor so you know you're drinking their vodka. That might make it a little less interesting to drink straight (though it can certainly still be enjoyed this way), but vodka is perfect for mixing.
Key to vodka's explosion in America was the introduction of flavored vodka. Well, that and an enormous marketing push by Smirnoff in the 50s and 60s. Many vodka brands began adding flavor to the alcohol to make it more appealing, and today you can find almost any infusion you could dream of.
How to Drink It:
Vodka is a blank slate so use your imagination. Screwdrivers, Martinis, the Bloody Mary and Greyhounds are just some of the classic cocktails. Then there's the ubiquitous Vodka & Soda. But if you find yourself in possession of a particularly nice bottle, feel free to drink it neat.