How to make vodka and soda like a pro

Don Lee, cocktail educator and expert bartender, worked with a collective of experts to evolve the spirit at the heart of the perfect vodka and soda

12 October 2021 - 11:00 By Lindsay Smyth
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Skyy wanted to appeal to a new generation of vodka drinkers who gravitate towards lighter, more refreshing drinks, such as the classic vodka and soda.
Skyy wanted to appeal to a new generation of vodka drinkers who gravitate towards lighter, more refreshing drinks, such as the classic vodka and soda.
Image: Supplied/Skyy Vodka

There was a time when the humble vodka and soda might have been seen as a rather boring, unrefined drink. A poor cousin to the shaken-not-stirred vodka martini and a shamed auntie to the classy cosmopolitan. Well, stand back 007 fans — one of the world’s oldest cocktails has just been reinvented and the key to this new and elevated tipple is in the ingredients.

“There’s no place to hide with a vodka soda,” says Don Lee, cocktail educator and expert bartender. “It’s the cocktail that’s going to show every flaw, but also has the opportunity to show everything that is beautiful about a spirit.” Lee has been a vital part of the team of experts brought together by Skyy Vodka to craft a refreshed version of its iconic liquid, aimed at elevating the vodka and soda combination. 

Skyy wanted to appeal particularly to a new generation of vodka drinkers who gravitate towards lighter, more refreshing drinks, such as the classic vodka and soda, and developed its rebooted spirit with this in mind. It also wanted to capitalise on the emergence of soda water as the top choice in mixers (2019 IWSR Hard Seltzer report) — seeing this as an opportunity to transform the vodka category to respond to these new tastes. 

Devoted to perfecting the art of the cocktail, Lee worked alongside a collective of experts, including a water sommelier and a chemist, to evolve the spirit at the heart of the perfect vodka and soda. Together, they discovered the special twist minerals could bring to vodka and how the soda water, in turn, would bring out the minerality of the vodka. With this in mind, Skyy made its rebooted vodka with water enhanced by Pacific minerals sourced from the San Francisco Bay Area and then filtered through California limestone. 

Watch the video below:

Apart from being completely authentic to the iconic brand, the Pacific minerals add character to the cocktail experience, creating not just a fresher-tasting vodka and soda but a base spirit that is clean on the nose and smooth on the palate. There’s a hint of fruit and toasted grain in the vodka which pairs perfectly with soda water and a grapefruit twist. Yes, grapefruit.

Time for your everyday lime to make way for something a bit more exotic ... This is Skyy’s signature pour and Lee says adding grapefruit is a great way to elevate your vodka and soda like a pro, to the next level. “When you add that grapefruit twist on top, you get this citrus aroma. Drop that twist inside and the minerals combine with the grapefruit to bring out flavours you wouldn’t normally experience in your average vodka soda.” 

Far from the quick quaff to get your evening off to a good start, the perfect vodka and soda is a drink to be savoured, a unique sensory cocktail experience that exudes sophistication. At its base, a spirit designed specifically to be paired with soda and containing that magical ingredient, minerals. Pour over ice in a highball (tall) glass to keep your soda bubbles fizzing. Its point of difference: a twist of grapefruit, sculpted to add art to your glass and a professional kick to this cocktail reinvented. 

With the right ingredients, even the simplest drink can be a showstopper ... and make you look like a pro too. 

You’ll find the refreshed Skyy Vodka in its new modern packaging, also inspired by San Francisco, but with the iconic blue bottle lightened to a more natural tone and featuring ridges and ripples to evoke the Pacific Ocean. 

For more details visit www.skyyvodka.com.

This article was paid for by Skyy Vodka.

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