Vodka is one of the most popular distilled spirits in America. It can be a great ingredient to prepare various cocktails such as Bloody Mary or Harvey Wallbanger.
Vodka is also colorless, has no taste, or odor which makes it popular to be used in recipes such as pie crust or pasta. It adds a boozy kick to most recipes.
But not everyone likes the taste of vodka and that calls for a vodka replacement. Fortunately, there are many handy substitutes for vodka that can help you create your favorite cocktail or recipe without it.
In this article, I’ve shared a total of 11 alcoholic and non-alcoholic vodka substitutes that you can try!
The list includes alcoholic drinks such as Gin, Tequila, White Rum, Whiskey, Sake, Schnapps, Mezcal, and Brandy. Along with non-alcoholic options like Tonic Water, Orange Juice, and Apple Juice.
Keep on reading to understand how and where you can substitute these drinks in place of vodka.
- 11 Best Vodka Substitutes for Cocktails and Cooking
- What Does Vodka Taste Like for the First Time?
- Is There a Non-Alcoholic Vodka?
- What Tastes Like Vodka but Is Alcohol-Free?
- What to Mix With Vodka to Make It Taste Good?
- Can I Use Gin in Place of Vodka?
11 Best Vodka Substitutes for Cocktails and Cooking
Let’s kick off the list with some alcoholic alternatives.
Gin is one of the best vodka substitutes and it offers lemon, juniper, and vanilla flavor. Similar to vodka, gin is clear, colorless, and has minimal difference in the flavor profile.
Gin is most suitable to make a great vodka cocktail but you can also substitute gin to add its bold taste to your recipes.
Since the alcohol level is comparable, you can use the same amount of gin as you use vodka to prepare a cocktail.
In the case of recipes, take a look at the ingredient list and replace one cup of regular vodka with one cup of gin.
Tequila, just like gin and vodka, is a clear spirit and can be used in vodka cocktail recipes.
It has a light flavor because it is made from the blue agave plant or cactus which makes tequila sweet and unique compared to other spirits.
Like any other liquor, there are different types of tequilas that vary by taste but most people agree that Blanco de la Casa is one of the best tequila brands for its white agave flavor.
You can use a shot or two of tequila when making a Bloody Mary instead of using vodka.
You can also add Blanco de la Casa sipping tequila with lime juice on your tacos or chips for an extra kick!
3. White Rum
White rum is another substitute for vodka that works well in cocktails and food recipes.
Rum has a complex flavor due to its fermentation process. It offers fruity, spicy, and even vanilla notes depending on the type of rum.
You can use white or silver rum instead of vodka when preparing your favorite cocktail such as White Russian.
However, rums usually maintain a strong smell so it is better to mix them with other ingredients compared to using only liquors.
In a nutshell, you should replace one cup of regular drinking vodka with one cup of light rum to create an equivalent volume in the preparation of drinks or recipes.
If you are looking for something stronger than vodka then whiskey would be a perfect choice! Just like gin, whiskey is made from fermented grain such as malted barley.
Scotch is a type of whiskey that has a strong but sweet flavor. You can try either Scotch or Bourbon depending on your taste.
Whiskey is best used in shots and mixed drinks but you can also substitute it with vodka to make some recipes like baked beans or chicken.
Sake is another type of rice wine from Japan that comes in various grades and flavors just like tequila.
Just like vodka, sake offers a complex flavor profile with fruity notes such as plum or pear.
It also offers spicy and even honey-like flavors when you compare it to other types of alcohol. Sake becomes more delicate and sweeter in taste when exposed to oxygen.
Sake is best served cold without mixing with other ingredients so it may not be a good vodka substitute depending on your recipe.
Schnapps is another one of the lesser-known vodka substitutes that come from Germany and Austria.
This licorice-flavored alcohol offers anise and fruit flavors such as black cherry which can add a unique personality to your drinks and recipes.
You can use schnapps instead of regular brandy liquor or whiskey if you are making cocktail recipes but don’t forget to mix it with another ingredient for sweetness or spice!
Also, schnapps comes in different flavors so it’s better that you experiment and try new things.
Originating in Mexico, Mezcal is another lesser-known vodka substitute that you can add to your cocktail recipes.
This type of tequila offers a smoky flavor and earthy aroma due to its distillation process but it also has a hint of sweetness similar to agave or some other types of liquors.
Mezcal also works best for preparing homemade ice creams that call for vodka. It’ll add a slightly smoky yet delicious taste to your desserts.
Brandy is also known as fruit brandy or eau-de-vie which are distilled spirits with a fruity flavor.
You can use regular brandy-like Cognac, Armagnac, and Calvados when you are making recipes that call for vodka.
Brandy works best when mixed with other ingredients such as lemon juice to make cocktails similar to Cosmopolitan and Sex on the Beach drinks.
9. Tonic Water
A non-alcoholic vodka substitute, tonic water has a sweet flavor due to the quinine extraction process. It also offers a bit of bitter flavor which makes it an excellent choice for recipes and cocktails.
You can use tonic water to replace regular vodka as the sweet taste is comparable to that of white rum and gin. Tonic water comes in handy when you’re preparing a drink for your friend who doesn’t consume alcohol or if you want mojito for instance.
Club soda with lime will also work best if you have no tonic water available in your kitchen.
Let’s now move away from alcoholic options to non-alcoholic ones for those who don’t consume alcohol or just want to avoid it for some reason.
10. Orange Juice
Lastly, you can also use orange juice to replace regular vodka in order to prepare mixed drinks.
Orange juice has a distinct flavor and aroma that adds a unique personality or mood to your dishes.
You can use it for cocktail recipes such as Screwdrivers, Shirley Temple, Swamp Thing, Sea Breeze, and Cosmopolitan that call for the vodka but don’t have any alcohol available.
11. Apple Juice
If you don’t have orange juice at home, you can also use apple juice to replace vodka in drinks and recipes.
Apple juice is another great alternative if you want to prepare non-alcoholic cocktails as the color and flavor are very similar to that of regular vodka.
It adds a delicious fruity taste to your drinks which is appreciated by *almost* everyone.
What Does Vodka Taste Like for the First Time?
Vodka doesn’t have a distinct flavor as such and it may taste like water for the first time. But it adds a little warmth and sensation to your tongue which goes all the way down to your stomach.
Is There a Non-Alcoholic Vodka?
To answer this question, let’s have a look at what constitutes vodka. Vodka can be made from several ingredients such as rye, barley, wheat, or corn which is fermented and then distilled.
It doesn’t contain any additives because of its distillation process and is best served chilled without mixing with other ingredients.
So even if you can find a vodka that doesn’t contain alcohol, you might not like the taste or aroma of it. It all depends on what ingredients were used to make it.
What Tastes Like Vodka but Is Alcohol-Free?
You can find drinks that have a distinct vodka-like taste but are alcohol-free.
Seedlip Cocktail Mix Trio, Ritual Zero Proof Tequila Alternative, and Lyre’s White Cane Non-Alcoholic Spirit are a few examples of drinks that taste like vodka but are alcohol-free.
These nonalcoholic drinks contain the flavors of regular vodka but they also have sweeteners in order to offer an enjoyable experience.
What to Mix With Vodka to Make It Taste Good?
The vodka itself doesn’t have a pleasing taste and if you’re someone who dislikes the taste of vodka, you need to mix something with your drink.
Soda water, tonic water, orange juice, and Half & Half spindrift are four of the best vodka mixers that you can try.
Can I Use Gin in Place of Vodka?
Yes, gin is one of the best vodka substitutes and you can use gin in place of vodka. They both share similar features of being clear and colorless.
So, there you have it! 11 of the best substitutes for vodka that work equally well or even better in cocktails and recipes.
Which is your favorite vodka replacement? Let me know in the comments below!