Vodka is one of the basic spirits every home bar should have. Even if you're not a fan of straight-up vodka, pick up an inexpensive bottle to make fun, fruity cocktails. Don't spend extra money for top-shelf booze -- when you mix it in a cocktail with strong flavors, you won't be able to discern the subtle differences anyway.
Spike the Fruit Juice
One easy -- and cheap -- way to make a fruity vodka drink is to start with juice. Some classic cocktails are nothing more than vodka, fruit juice and ice:
Don't stop there. Make a sparkling screwdriver by using orange soda in place of orange juice. Mix a shot of vodka into your favorite fruit juice and you've got a cheap cocktail.
Use Flavored Vodka
Whether you make your own or buy off the shelf, fruit-flavored vodkas are practically a cocktail by themselves.
Raspberry Lemonade: Mix 2 ounces of raspberry vodka with 8 to 12 ounces of lemonade and pour over ice.
- Custom Cocktail: Mix any flavor of fruit-infused vodka with simple syrup, seltzer water and a squeeze of lime juice. Adjust the quantities as needed to suit your palate, and the sweetness of the vodka.
Make Adult Smoothies
On a hot summer day, an icy fruit-packed smoothie (with a shot of vodka) is a vacation in a glass. Frozen fruit makes this a quick, easy treat.
Strawberry-Banana Vodka Slushie: Fill a blender carafe 1/3 of the way to the top with ice. Add frozen strawberries, a fresh banana and a shot (or 2!) of strawberry-infused vodka. Process until smooth.
- Tropical Cocktail Smoothie: Combine frozen mango, strawberries and papaya in a blender. Add a fresh banana, a splash of raspberry- or acai-flavored vodka and a scoop of raspberry sherbet. Blend until smooth.