Beginner’s Guide: How To Drink Vodka
Drinking vodka can be a lot of fun when done in moderation. Traditionally, vodka (and gin) has been considered a neutral spirit, designed to be flavorless, odorless, and colorless.
Neutral spirits can be made from grains, grapes, molasses, potatoes, and other agricultural origins, then infused with herbs and flavors. Vodka is following gin by creating more expressions from grain to glass, utilizing the addition of botanical herbs, and developing terroir (environmental personality).
While it has no nutritional value, vodka is a low-calorie spirit with no carbs, fats, or sugar, making it an ideal alcoholic beverage for those on a diet (hello soda water) or wanting to drink without going overboard on calories and carbohydrates.
A more complicated, informed, and competitive spirits market – just check out the Vodka Belt of Europe, for example – means contemporary vodka now displays more personality, which means more fun for those drinking vodka at home or on a night out.
The following article will describe how to drink vodka by breaking down features, identifying variations to tradition, and listing my favorite vodka cocktail recipes and hangover cure.
Vodka Doesn’t Freeze (Usually)
Vodka has a high ethanol content which contributes to its neutrality in taste and make up. Plain vodka can be stored in the freezer up until approximately -17 degrees Fahrenheit before it starts solidifying.
If you have a cheap plain vodka brand – which often tastes a bit meh and has a noticeable ethanol afterburn – putting it in the freezer for a couple of hours and then drinking it straight up from shot glasses is a fantastic way to get your night started (or ended if you do it foolishly). The colder vodka is, the easier it is to knock down, eliminating the yucky aftertaste.
This is the traditional Russian vodka method. BUT, unless you’re having a bit of fun or drinking the cheapest brands of vodka, I do not recommend freezing it at all.
The increase of flavored vodka, botanical infusions, and different methods of individually personalizing the spirit to make a premium expression – potato vodka, grape vodka, rye vodka, grain to glass – are best explored when the spirit is at room temperature. Even Russian vodka is developing some kick-ass top shelf expressions.
Personality Goes a Long Way
Much like quality Scotch, whiskey, or bourbon; premium vodka has something to offer in and of itself when drinking it straight. You’ve paid more to drink the liquor, so learning about the spirit you’re drinking and figuring out its features and idiosyncrasies is often where the fun is (but that’s partly because I’m old).
Many brands in the Vodka Belt of Europe (Poland and Russia to France and Scandinavia) have taken the same approach as Scotch and American Whiskey, making where and how the spirit is distilled a key feature of it’s worth.
These days, the method and number of distillations, quality of water used in filtration, and terroir (environment characteristics) of the grain, grape, or vegetable are more important than at any time before. Naturally, the personality of your premium vodka will now affect how much it costs, and how you consume the product.
Drinking Flavored Vodka
Leading brands like Absolut Vodka, Skyy, and Cîroc have figured out flavored vodka is where the action is. Some brands now feature up to 10 base flavors, special editions, and collaborations. It’s the easiest way to alleviate the natural neutrality of the spirit but adds an extra layer of versatility and individual taste to drinking vodka.
The most popular ways to indulge in flavored vodka are cocktails, however, simple shots and mixed drink options have developed more personality too. Adding a watermelon or pineapple vodka to fresh ice is tasty and interesting, as is a shot of differently textured potato vodka, or one with a tang of pepper, herbs, and grasses in it.
Even the traditional lime wedge or lemon twist in a club soda or vodka tonic can be improved and made more interesting by a measure of blackcurrant, vanilla, or simple citrus flavor from the vodka you’re using. Your flavored vodka taste might be lost in a classic vodka cranberry juice, vodka soda, and lime, or vodka and orange juice, but in general, there are many more low-calorie options to enjoy that taste more interesting yet remain refreshing.
Vodka Cocktail Recipes
The popularity of vodka cocktails is unassailable; they’re versatile when used with other liquor or great in a standalone alcoholic beverage. These are my favorite classic cocktail recipe ideas with vodka you can create using ingredients from your home bar or refrigerator.
From personal experience, there is no shame in using concentrates or infusions, but for the best result in making a brilliantly kick-ass vodka drink, go for fresh ingredients. Your tastebuds and body will appreciate the difference.
1. Moscow Mule Cocktail
For a sweeter and/or tangier flavor, utilize a grain to glass premium vodka or flavored vodka combined with syrup and bitters and a spicy ginger beer with great carbonation to suit your personal taste.
- 1 ounce vodka
- 2/3 ounce fresh lime juice
- Dash of bitters
- Ginger beer
- Crushed Ice
Optional: Simple syrup, ginger syrup
Garnish: Lime wedge, fresh mint
Add fresh lime juice, bitters, simple syrup/ginger syrup (if needed), and vodka to a classical cocktail shaker or mixing glass and stir thoroughly.
Strain mix into a copper mug or highball glass filled with crushed ice. Top with ginger beer, add mint, and stir. Garnish with lime wedge and serve straight away.
2. The Classic Vodka Martini
There is more than one interpretation of this classic cocktail, but it’s best to start with the simple version unless you’re a huge fan of olive brine; then you can get dirty.
- 1 ounce vodka
- 1/3 ounce vermouth
Garnish: Lemon peel, olives
Optional: Dill pickle
Add vodka, vermouth, and ice to a tall mixing glass or cocktail shaker and stir or shake thoroughly. I’m not interested in the continuing arguments between the value of using a martini shaker or stirring alcohol only cocktails (it seems to get punchy), I’m happy to drink them either way.
Strain drink into a chilled martini glass. Zest with lemon peel and garnish with a lemon twist or olive before serving. Many people do not like olives, so the optional dill pickle works a treat because it’s all about the salt!
3. The Premium Cosmopolitan
Resuscitated by Sex in the City, the Cosmo is an elegant, top quality cocktail experience.
- 2 Ounces vodka (I recommend a top shelf vodka)
- 1 Ounce Cointreau
- 1 squeeze fresh lime juice
- 4 ounces cranberry juice
- Crushed Ice
Garnish: Lime wedge
Add vodka, Cointreau, lime, and cranberry juice to a cocktail shaker and mix thoroughly. Strain into a chilled Martini glass with crushed ice, then serve immediately.
4. Classic Bloody Mary
The classic Bloody Mary has been putting people right for over a century. It is a go to for anyone needing some hair of the dog after a big night out. These days, people can put a full meal garnish with the drink, but I prefer to keep things simple.
- 1 1/2 ounces vodka (Cheap vodka is okay for this)
- 1/2 cup tomato juice
- 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice
- 1-3 dashes Tabasco sauce (more for spicier taste)
- 4-6 dashes Worcestershire sauce (more for savory taste)
- Salt and pepper pinch
- 1 tsp celery salt
Garnish: Celery stick, lemon slice
Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and mix thoroughly with some ice. Strain the mixture into a highball glass. Garnish with a celery stick and lemon slice and add a crack salt and pepper to taste.
Traditionally, vodka has been considered a neutral spirit as it’s designed to be flavorless, odorless, and colorless. Neutral spirits can be made from grains, grapes, molasses, potatoes, and other agricultural origins, then infused with herbs and flavors.
Plain vodka can be stored in the freezer up until approximately -17 degrees Fahrenheit before it starts solidifying. If you have a cheap plain vodka brand – which often tastes a bit meh and has a noticeable ethanol afterburn – putting it in the freezer for a couple of hours and then drinking it straight. Freezing top quality or flavored vodka is not recommended as it affects the taste too much.
Vodka has no nutritional value; however, vodka is a low-calorie spirit with no carbs, fats, or sugar. This makes vodka an ideal alcoholic beverage for those on a diet or wanting to drink without going overboard on calories and carbohydrates.
The Best 14 Leather Jackets for Men in 2021
With the winter months (hopefully) dwindling down, it’s time to start planning ahead to a time where we can wear thinner jackets and fewer layers. While it may be tempting to quickly shed your parka and grab for whatever piece of outerwear is nearby, don’t reach for last year’s wardrobe item just yet. Isn’t it time you try something new, like, say, a leather jacket?
Though it may seem all leather jackets are similar, there are actually many different designs and styles that work for different body types and tastes. In this article, we will take a look at the hottest leather jacket trends that have hit the market this season.
1. Aaron Brown Leather Bomber
The Aaron Brown Leather Jacket from The Jacket Maker is an excellent choice for any guy looking for that traditional bomber look. This awesome jacket features a slim cut and ribbed cuffs and waist. It’s made with incredibly tough, yet soft, goatskin leather, making it a great choice for guys that aren’t used to wearing leather jackets.
One of the best things about the Aaron is that it shirks the classic pouch pockets on the lower half of the jacket, opting for two buttoned patch pockets on the chest instead. This design gives it a more streamlined look than most bombers, without taking away from any of the authenticity.
2. Saint Laurent Leather Biker Jacket
There is a reason why leather jackets and bikers are usually associated with one another. Historically, many motorcycle riders have seen a leather jacket as a stylish way to protect themselves, not only from the elements but also from the possibility of a crash. While this may seem hard to believe – it’s not like leather comes with a large amount of padding, after all – leather has actually been shown to offer more protection than your average vinyl jacket or equivalent.
Maybe you’re not hopping on a motorcycle anytime soon, but you can still treat yourself to this biker-inspired Saint Laurent leather jacket. With a price tag surpassing $5,000, it’s certainly our premium pick on this list, but if you’re looking for the leather jacket of a lifetime, you have it right here. This pick is sure to come with the “for life” quality Saint Laurent is particularly known for.
3. Reiss Keith Leather Cafe Racer Jacket
Reiss is a British fashion retailer that’s been around since the 1970s. For the first 30 years of its brand history, it focused solely on men’s fashion before eventually expanding to carry items for women as well. However, the fact high-quality items for men are at the heart of this brand is very apparent through their simple wardrobe staples such as the Keith leather cafe racer jacket.
This Reiss jacket comes at a considerably lower price point than its counterparts, which makes it a pick that packs a lot of value. It’s made from super-soft leather and features a full lining. It’s the perfect choice for anybody who prefers a slim-fit jacket.
4. Lavendard Brown Leather Bike Jacket
The Jacket Maker has something for everyone, including guys that are a bit intimidated by purchasing their first leather jacket. Not only is the Lavendard incredibly affordable, but it also has a really approachable look despite its biker moniker. With open hem cuffs and a tailored fit, it looks great with badass-inspired outfits as well as everyday wear.
The Lavendard is made of real cowhide, which means it will take on a great patina over time. But it might be a bit stiff when you first get it. The more you wear it, the faster it’ll form to your body, break-in, and soften up. The fact that it goes with so many outfits will help speed up that process.
5. Ksubi Capital Leather Jacket
The Capital Leather Jacket from Ksubi comes in 100% authentic leather and is designed to have a biker fit. It’s heavy-duty with a protective interior quilted lining. It also features retro details such as antique zippers.
Kusbi is an Australian fashion label that’s existed since the 1990s. While the brand was originally focused on high-end denim, they’ve expanded their offerings over time to include other textiles such as leather. Items from Ksubi’s collections have been shown at such high-profile events as New York Fashion Week and London Fashion Week, and the company operates a flagship store in New York’s SOHO neighborhood.
6. Acne Studios Off-Centred Zipper Biker Jacket
Swedish fashion powerhouse Acne Studios is well-known for their basic wardrobe pieces, so it makes sense that they would have the classic leather jacket look on lock. We love the way this off-centered jacket packs a punch of personality with its multiple buckles and zippers, but we love even more the way that it does not compromise softness or comfort at the expense of appearance.
This jacket comes with a high-end price tag, but it has the high-end materials to match. It is made of 100% genuine lambskin and comes with an interior lining of 100% viscose. Its unique off-center zip takes its inspiration from street style.
7. Airin G-1 Black and White Leather Jacket
There’s only one way to improve upon a traditional bomber: Add shearling fabric. The Jacket Maker’s Airin G-1 Bomber will have ready to strap into the cockpit, ready to fly over Europe on a midnight air-raid. It has a thick polyester-lined collar as well as ribbed cuffs and waist for a nice, snug fit that keeps the wind at bay.
The Airin is made with real sheepskin, so it’s soft but super durable, making it a great choice for almost any type of casual wear. The dual front pouch pockets are great for a phone and a pair of gloves, so if you’re wearing it on a motorcycle, you’ll have the storage you need.
8. Saturdays NYC Leather Harrington Jacket
If you’re unfamiliar with the brand Saturdays NYC, prepare to fall in love. As a laidback lifestyle brand, Saturdays NYC infuses its love for all things surfer culture in all of its fashion offerings. While primarily known for their loungewear, such as sweats and pullover sweaters, they also happen to make one of the best leather jackets on the market right now.
The leather Harrington jacket features a smooth design and has deep pockets for your convenience. It is made of 100% lambskin leather and features a lining made of polyester. Staying true to its brand’s carefree nature, this jacket features a more relaxed fit than many classic leather jackets.
9. Berluti Piped Venezia Leather Jacket
Unlike the other options we’ve included so far, Berluti is known less for being a fashion brand and more for being a leather maker. Since its inception in the late 19th century, the Paris-based manufacturer has been producing fine leather clothing items and accessories, from belts to bags to jackets.
Berluti’s piped Venezia leather jacket is the apex of luxury leather fashion. Made from a distinctive brown shade, this jacket line has been around since the 1980s – and it’s a style that certainly stands the test of time.
This jacket is made from 100% authentic patinated calfskin leather and features shoulder patches and a buttoned collar. For optimal breathability, the jacket even features ventilation eyelets.
10. Dean Black Leather Biker Jacket
Let’s be honest.. A traditional racing-style biker jacket is about as cool as it gets. With the high band-style collar and heavy-duty zippers on the front of The Jacket Maker’s Dean Leather Biker Jacket, you’re sure to get that badass look.
The Dean is made with 100% real cowhide leather, so it might be a little stiff at first, but it will break in and patina like none other. The Dean features three zippered pockets on the front as well as zippered cuffs, providing that authentic racing jacket-look without killing your bank account.
11. Kingsman Burnished Leather Jacket
Kingsman is a line of high-quality clothing pieces that exists as a collaboration between Mr. Matthew Vaughn, director of the film The King’s Man, and international online fashion retailer MR PORTER. The line features items that are inspired by classic military style and timeless sensibilities.
The burnished leather jacket from the Kingsman line is unique for its length as well as its appearance. It draws direct inspiration from an aviator jacket worn on-screen in The King’s Man, a period piece that takes place in the 1940s. The jacket is made out of sturdy cow leather and buttons made of buffalo horns. It also features two linings – one made of cotton, and one made of viscose.
12. AllSaints Milo Leather Biker Jacket
AllSaints is a British fashion brand from the United Kingdom. Since its founding in the 1990s, it has grown to an international presence that consists of more than 200 retail stores across Europe, North America, and Asia. The brand is mostly focused on fashion for women and men, though it also sells footwear and other accessories. It has primarily seen its popularity grow thanks to its popularity among a celebrity clientele.
AllSaints makes a number of leather jackets, but the Milo biker jacket is definitely one to write home about. This is a jacket that brings out the very best of two very different worlds – including a soft composition and sharp edges – since it is made of tender lamb leather and decorated to the nines with perfectly-placed zippers and buckles. It also has a distinctive slim fit.
13. Golden Bear Sherpa Jacket
San Francisco brand Golden Bear may have its roots in ship workers in the San Francisco Bay since the 1920s, but it’s evolved today to combine both utilitarianism and high-end style. Although not as recognized outside of its native northern California, to know the stylish jackets of Golden Bear is to love them.
The sherpa jacket, in particular, is exquisite. Like any Golden Bear clothing piece, it’s designed to be worn for life, and fortunately, it comes with a style that will be sure to stay in fashion for decades to come, with brown distressed leather and a notable shearling collar that can be detached.
14. Tom Ford Zip-up Leather Jacket
Tom Ford is well-known for their high-end scents and formal clothing, but they have a strong foot in the casual jacket sphere as well. Not that this zip-up leather jacket is something you would wear to a casual house party. Its sleek edges and formal design make it more than suitable for a fancy professional event or night out on the town.
True to its brand’s roots, no attention to detail was spared in the creation of this particular wardrobe piece. Its straightforward design features 100% authentic leather and a cotton and polyamide lining. It is truly meant to last for life. Made in Italy, this jacket has shallow pockets in the front and a zipper down the center.
Leather Jacket FAQs
While there are many different unique leather jacket configurations out there, there are four classic syles you should be most aware of. In no particular order, they are the leather bomber jacket (also called aviator jacket), the leather racer jacket (sometimes called moto), the trenchcoat, and the fencer. While bomber jackets and racer jackets tend to be more relaxed, the trenchcoat and the fencer are more dramatic.
If you care for your leather jacket correctly you should have a wardrobe piece that’ll last you a lifetime. Most leather jackets cannot be washed at home and must only be handled professionally. The first step to taking proper care of your jacket is to adhere to this rule.
You should also keep your leather jacket dry as often as possible and keep it away from extreme heat or cold air. If you are not going to be wearing your leather jacket for a period of time, such as during a warm season, then you’ll want to be sure that you are hanging it up correctly – this means out of direct sunlight and in a properly-ventilated area.
Determining how much to pay for a leather jacket is a very personal matter. For an authentic leather jacket, you will probably be paying, at a baseline, $500. However, this price can easily skyrocket from here, depending on the jacket’s materials and manufacturing process.
Some leather jackets can cost as much as $10,000! There is no right or wrong number – it’s instead about the brands you like and the style that you envision for yourself.