By Carl Hanson

Vodka is a wallflower, with a kick. It's the actor who never steals the spotlight but always makes other performers shine. Clear and odorless as bottled water, vodka has little distinctive flavor of its own. But mixed into cocktails, it works magic, elevating the flavors of other ingredients.

A Few of Our Favorite Vodka Martinis

With the exception of the more classic-minded Dirty Martini, these recipes dare to be different. They toss dry vermouth overboard, and add a splash of the unexpected.

Watermelon Martini | Photo by Dianne

Our Favorite Vodka Cocktails

These cocktails range from the classic (Bloody Mary, anyone?) to the slightly subversive (Champagne and pickled ginger!).

Bloody Mary | Photo by Meredith

Dessert Martinis

Care to drink your dessert? Try these sinfully sweet vodka martinis.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Martini | Photo by Diz

Flavored Vodka Cocktails

Vodka also comes infused with all manner of tasty essences, from berries and citrus to spices and chocolate. These are a few of our favorites.

Electric Lemonade | Photo by Allrecipes

Don't Forget the Ice! It's often overlooked. But the best tasting cocktails use fresh ice made from pure, filtered water. "Fresh" means the cubes haven't been sitting around for weeks in the freezer soaking up the stale, flavor essences of long-lingering foods. Bring the water to a quick boil for best results. Make it the morning of the day you plan to mix your cocktails, and you'll enjoy the freshest, most delicious cocktails.

D.I.Y. Vodka Infusions

Tom Petty said it: "The waiting is the hardest part." True, these recipes take some time. But if you're enthused about infused vodkas, making your own liqueurs is a fun and flavorful way to go. Try 'em--you won't be sorry.

Red Hot Liqueur | Photo by Chef John

Party Shots! Juiced on Jell-O®

For those of us who like our booze but are trying to cut back on liquids, there will always be Jell-O® shots! But be careful! These pack a wiggly, jiggly little wallop.

Lava Lamps | Photo by Allrecipes

Booze Foods

In lieu of caviar from the Caspian, try these top-rated recipes with your vodka cocktails.

Pepper Vodka Tomatoes | Photo by lutzflcat

Check out our collection of Vodka Cocktail Recipes.