Vanilla vodka, a sweet yet earthy spirit, has strong enough flavors that the vodka can be enjoyed on its own, either as a chilled shot or on the rocks -- though the idea of drinking vanilla vodka by itself might seem a little too, well, vanilla. Pairing it with a chaser, a simple alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage consumed after drinking the liquor, can help bring out the vodka's more subtle flavors and sometimes cleanse the palette.
Juice It Up
Many vanilla vodka cocktails call for juice as an ingredient -- these same mixers work just as well as chasers. Citrus juices like orange and pink grapefruit juices complement the vodka's sweet aftertaste while adding more body to the drink combination. Pineapple juice's sweetness will overpower the vodka's sugar, though the juice will accent the liquor's more muted flavors. The vodka's aftertaste will also soften the flavors of juices with a bite, like cranberry and pomegranate juice.
Carbonated soda chasers will both accent the vanilla vodka's flavor and add a lively effervescence. Common carbonated sodas like colas, root beers, ginger ales and cream sodas blend with the vodka's flavors to create vanilla-tinged versions of the bubbly drinks. Fruit-flavored sodas like lemon-lime, orange, grape, key lime and strawberry sodas will also mix the vanilla flavor, adding a dash more sugar without sacrificing the fruitiness. Club soda, though seemingly bland, also picks up on the vodka's sweetness as the soda's carbonation cleanses the palette.
Many caffeinated beverages, both hot and cold, make suitable vanilla vodka chasers. Fruit-flavored energy drinks with caffeine and other stimulating ingredients completely subdue the vodka's flavors while giving you a boost. Teas, both iced and hot, will absorb the vanilla flavor. The best iced tea chasers are fruity or sugary, like peach-flavored, sweet tea or iced green tea with honey. Hot teas like jasmine green or chai spice are more subtle chasers that you should sip slowly so as not to burn your mouth.
Many alcoholic chasers not only mix well with vanilla vodka but will also give you a bit more bang. Just as lighter beers like pilsners and pale ales are good chasers for whiskey shots, stout and fruit-infused beers follow vanilla vodka shots well -- try sweeter stouts like chocolate stouts and berry-infused beers like raspberry beer. A few types of wine will also work well as chasers: Moscatos, which are sugary sparkling dessert wines; ports, which are fortified red wines; and even some dry sparkling wines. Alcoholic ciders like apple and pear are also successful vanilla vodka chasers.
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