This Vodka Strawberry Cocktail is like sipping summer in a glass! Fresh, juicy strawberries and fragrant basil leaves add major flavor while a splash of sparkling wine keeps every sip light and refreshing. Not too sweet, not too strong and oh-so-pretty, it's the perfect drink for hot summer days!
Warm weather calls for refreshing happy hour cocktails, and this Vodka Strawberry Cocktail beats the summer heat every time. A little bit fruity, a little bit bubbly and a whole lot flavorful, you'll be sipping these all season long.
Why This Recipe Works
- Unlike rum and gin, quality vodka has a subtle flavor that doesn't usually conflict with the other ingredients. This allows the fresh strawberry and basil flavors to really shine.
- Both strawberries and basil are at their peak in summer which means the star ingredients in this seasonal cocktail are easy to find.
- This drink is extra refreshing thanks to a splash of sparkling wine or Prosecco. No wine? No problem! Swap in club soda instead.
Check out the ingredients in this tasty strawberry vodka drink:
A few ingredient notes:
- Use the ripest berries you can find as they are easier to muddle than less ripe berries but you can also use frozen strawberries in a pinch. Just lightly defrost them before muddling.
- Not familiar with Elderflower liqueur? We have a handy guide to bring you up to speed including additional drink recipes that use elderflower liqueur. It's a staple in our liquor cabinets. Our favorite brands are Drillaud and St. Germain.
- You can use any sparkling wine in this recipe, including Prosecco or Cava. Don't have any bubbly wine on hand? Feel free to swap in club soda instead.
This is a pretty straightforward drink to make: muddle, measure, shake and pour.
Muddle strawberries and basil in a large mason jar. Add ice and vodka.
Pour in elderflower liqueur, lemon juice and simple syrup.
Shake for at least 30 seconds before straining into glass and topping with Prosecco.
How to muddle fresh fruit and herbs for cocktails
Muddling is more than just pulverizing fruit or herbs into mush. There is actually a science to muddling that is critical to the taste of your cocktail. But don't worry; it's far less complicated than it sounds.
The first thing to know is there are two different muddlers for fresh fruit and herbs: a toothed muddler for fruits and a blunt muddler for herbs. A quality muddler will have a toothed end and a blunt end, eliminating the need for two separate muddlers (this muddler is our favorite).
Fruits can stand up to more pressure than delicate herbs so use the toothed end in a pressing and twisting motion to release a fruit's juices and any essential oils from a fruit with a peel (such as a lime or lemon wedge).
Herbs require a lighter touch. Use the blunt end of the muddler to gently press and bruise fresh herbs to release their oils and flavors. The key is to use a gentle touch. If you use too much pressure, you will crush and tear the leaves and they will become bitter in the drink.
For the best results, use strawberries in season. They will be extra plump
and juicy and muddle easily. But in a pinch, you can lightly defrost a few frozen strawberries for a similar result.
Any sparkling wine will work in this recipe. If you don't have wine on hand, you can substitute club soda or sparkling water.
I've never tried a different herb because I love the strawberry basil combo so much, but I think mint would also work very well with the fresh berries.
Expert tips for making Vodka Strawberry Cocktails
- No muddler? No problem! Use the end of a wooden spoon to muddle the berries and basil instead.
- Acid is a must in most cocktail recipes to keep the flavor balanced. In this drink, you definitely want to use freshly squeezed lemon juice. The bottled stuff contains additives that alter the taste of the juice in order to give it more shelf life. I like to freeze fresh juices in ice cube trays and then pull out cubes when I need them.
- Prefer a super smooth cocktail? Strain the strawberry mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to eliminate extra pulp from muddling.
- I buy the small, individual bottles of Prosecco and keep them on hand for cocktails that call for a bit of sparkling wine like this one. No more worries about wasting a whole bottle if you don't finish it before it goes flat!
More Vodka Cocktails
We have even more vodka drinks in our archives!
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Vodka Strawberry Cocktails
- 4 strawberries, greens removed
- 6 basil leaves
- 2 ounces vodka
- ½ ounce elderflower liqueur
- ¾ ounce simple syrup
- ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 ½ ounces Prosecco (or other sparkling wine)
- Place strawberries in a cocktail shaker and muddle. Add basil and gently muddle again. Add vodka, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup and ice to shaker. Cover and shake for at least 30 seconds.
- Strain cocktail into an ice-filled low ball glass and top with Prosecco. Gently stir to combine and garnish with a fresh strawberry and/or basil leaves, if desired.
- Use the toothed end of a muddler to muddle the strawberries. Use the rounded end of the muddler to muddle the basil. Fruits can take more aggressive muddling while herbs need a lighter touch. Too much pressure causes the leaves to tear and and the flavor to become bitter. If you don't own a muddler, use the end of a wooden spoon instead.
- Strain the strawberry mixture through a fine mesh sieve and into your cocktail glass if you prefer a smooth cocktail without any pulpy bits.
- Use freshly squeezed lemon juice in this drink rather than a store-bought bottle. They usually contain additives to preserve their shelf life and this negatively impacts the taste of the juice. If you have leftover fresh juice, freeze it in ice cube trays to have on hand for your next cocktail.
- The small, individual bottles of Prosecco or sparkling wine are perfect for the minor amounts used in cocktails (instead of buying a big bottle you may not finish before it goes flat).
- If you don't have sparkling wine on hand, feel free to swap in sparkling water or club soda.
Nutrition info not guaranteed to be accurate.