Local restaurants and mixologists share details and recipes for their most prized creations.
Ah, vodka. After a long day at work or at a particularly stressful event, there are few things more refreshing than a vodka cocktail. After all, a serving of vodka delivers a nice punch of alcohol to your system, relaxing you and getting the dopamine flowing in your brain. Suddenly you’re less worried than before and enjoying the warmth of the beverage as it spreads through your body. It’s the No. 1 consumed spirit in the world. Vodka is quite a versatile alcoholic beverage, rendering it a good selection for pairing with mixers for a tasty drink that packs a punch. And for the most part, vodka is relatively affordable, with plenty of brands selling bottles that don’t taste all that bad, even without a mixer that masks the alcoholic flavor. Here are some recipes from local restaurants that use vodka as their main cocktail ingredient.
1 ounce Deep Eddy peach vodka
1/2 ounce triple sec
1/2 ounce lime juice
2 ounces cranberry juice
Lime wedge, for garnish
Directions  Mix vodka, triple sec, lime juice and cranberry juice over ice in a shaker; shake and strain into a chilled martini glass.  Garnish with a lime wedge.
“An enticingly delicious taste of Southern peaches and oranges, cranberry juice and fresh lime juice. The ideal cocktail after a sunny day on Hilton Head Island’s beaches and a balmy Lowcountry night. A lasting taste of summer.” — Poseidon
Charlie’s Coastal Cuisine
Charlie’s Chocolate Martini
2 ounces Belgian chocolate sauce (chocolate and heavy cream)
2 ounces Stoli vanilla vodka
1 ounce Baileys Irish Cream
Directions  Add chocolate sauce, vodka and Irish cream to a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds.  Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a strawberry on the rim.
“This martini has been popularized by our amazing bartender Jeff Mix, a Hilton Head legend. Once someone has one, they are inevitably hooked. The high-quality Belgian chocolate is the secret.” — Margaret Pearman, Charlie’s Coastal Cuisine
1 1/2 ounces house vodka
3/4 ounce Cointreau
Dash fresh lime juice
3/4 ounce cranberry juice
Directions  Vigorously shake vodka, Cointreau, lime juice and cranberry juice and strain into a chilled martini glass.
 Garnish with a lemon twist.
“Our Cosmopolitan has been a guest favorite for 40 years. Crisp, clean, delicious and gluten-free.” — Truffles Cafe
Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks
The Rocking Chair
1 1/2 ounces Tito’s vodka
3/4 ounce peach schnapps
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Fresh mint and lemon
Directions  Mix ingredients.  Pour over ice.
“The Rocking Chair has been a staple on our menu for five years.” — Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks
Palmetto Bay Sunrise Cafe
1 1/2 ounces vodka
1 can V8 juice
1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
Juice of 2 lemons
1 ounce Montreal Steak Seasoning, finely ground
Hawaiian pink salt
1 lemon wedge, olive and mild cherry pepper for garnish
Directions  Combine V8 juice, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and steak seasoning and stir well.  Rim a rocks glass with Hawaiian pink salt. Add ice and vodka.  Top with the Bloody Mary mix.  Garnish with a lemon wedge, an olive and a cherry pepper.
“The Bloody Mary is our signature drink because Bloody Marys go perfectly with breakfast and brunch. Martinis? Not so much.” — Leslie Stewart, Palmetto Bay Sunrise Café
Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort
1 ounce watermelon vodka
2 ounces watermelon puree
3 ounces white wine
Directions  Combine ingredients and blend with 6 ounces of ice.  Top with club soda or use rose prosecco for an extra kick.  Garnish with fresh watermelon, a sprig of mint, or blueberries, depending on your taste.
“This cocktail was specifically selected for this event, as the Sip and Stroll was watermelon-themed. We did have an in-house taste test competition, and the marketing department won with this recipe.” — Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort
Black Marlin Bayside Grill & Hurricane Bar
1 1/2 ounces Parrot Bay passionfruit rum
6 1/2 ounces Black Marlin hurricane mix (1 part 151-proof rum, 1 part amaretto, 1 part fresh lime juice, 1 part simple syrup, four parts orange juice, 1 1/2 parts pineapple juice, a splash of grenadine for color)
Directions  Pour rum and hurricane mix in a shaker.  Shake and pour over a hurricane glass filled with ice.  Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice.
“Pour me something tall and strong; make it a Hurricane. A cocktail famous for being strong but tasty. Start your vacation or just a relaxing island afternoon with a Black Marlin Hurricane.” — Black Marlin Bayside Grill & Hurricane Bar
Skull Creek Dockside
Burnt Church Cooler
1 1/2 ounces Burnt Church Distillery pear vodka
Splash raspberry purée
3 ounces sour mix
Lime wedge, for garnish
Directions  Add vodka and purée to a 12-ounce cup. Fill with sour mix.  Turn (pour from one cup to another) and top with sprite.  Garnish with a lime wedge.
“The Burnt Church Cooler is the perfect drink to sip on while relaxing and enjoying the views of Skull Creek. This well-balanced cocktail features a locally distilled pear vodka, a splash of raspberry and a little bit of sour mix, making it a tastefully refreshing cocktail. A Dockside must-have. CHEERS!” — Skull Creek Dockside
2 ounces Grey Goose Le Citron vodka
1 ounce Meyer lemon juice
1 ounce strawberry-blueberry simple syrup
Splash Ruffino prosecco
Fresh halved strawberry
Directions  Add vodka, lemon juice, syrup and ice to a shaker and shake until cold.  Strain into a coupe glass.  Float prosecco.  Garnish with strawberry and lemon wheel.
“The Lowcountry Love has been a staple cocktail at the Quarterdeck since our opening in April 2022. It’s made with fresh muddled South Carolina strawberries, Georgia blueberries, fresh Meyer lemon juice, Smirnoff Citrus and finished with a prosecco float. The versatility of this cocktail allows it to match a Sunday brunch with friends or an elegant night out.” — Quarterdeck
Sea Pines Country Club
Kenrick’s Ginger Citrus Martini
2 ounces Absolut Citron
1 ounce Domain Canton
French Ginger liqueur
1 ounce peach schnapps
1 ounce fresh lime juice
Directions  Shake with ice and serve in a martini glass.  Garnish with a sugared lime slice.
It’s Too Bloody Hot
1 ounce Ketel One (or another fine vodka)
1/2 ounce St. Germain elderberry liqueur
A squeeze of 1/2 lime
A squeeze of 1/2 blood orange
Splash ginger ale
Blood orange slice and lime slice for garnish
Directions  Fill a shaker with ice. Add vodka, liqueur, lime juice and blood orange juice.  Shake and pour over ice in a rocks or collins glass.  Top with a splash of ginger ale and garnish with a slice each of blood orange and lime.
“For each season of the year, the Spring Island service staff plays with ingredients at the bar and concocts inspired recipes to enter into a contest, inviting members to sip and vote on their favorites. The 2022 Summer Sips winner, ‘It’s Too Bloody Hot,’ is inspired by the blood orange, with hues that remind us of dramatic summer sunsets over the creeks surrounding the island.” — Spring Island
Carolina Crab Company
1 ounce CRAB Coastal vodka
1 ounce orange juice
1 ounce cranberry juice
1/2 ounce watermelon liqueur
Directions  Stir ingredients and pour over ice.  Garnish with an orange slice.
“The most well-known pink drink is the Sea Breeze, popular since the ‘60s and ‘70s when Palmetto Bay — the Island’s first marina — was built and developed. But Carolina Crab Company decided to jazz things up at the ‘Bay’ with its C3 Breeze. It features a tasty combo of orange and cranberry juice plus watermelon liqueur with CRAB group’s Coastal Lowcountry Local Vodka distilled by Hilton Head Distillery.” — Carolina Crab Company
Local Pie Bluffton
Old Town Lemonade
1 1/2 ounces Deep Eddy lemon vodka
3 ounces of lemonade
Splash of Sprite
2 tablespoons of fresh strawberries
Directions  Muddle the strawberries.  Add the vodka, lemonade and a splash of sprite.
“Have you really been to the Promenade in Bluffton if you haven’t enjoyed the Old Town Lemonade? This cocktail is perfect for any occasion and tastes just as good as it looks. Made with fresh muddled strawberries, Deep Eddy lemon vodka, house-made sour mix and a splash of Sprite, you can’t go wrong with this one.” — Jena Scheuer, Local Pie Bluffton
Spiked Oreo Milkshake
1 1/2 ounces vanilla vodka
6 ounces vanilla ice cream
2 ounces whole milk
Directions  Blend ingredients with a couple of Oreos.  Rim an old-fashioned glass with white chocolate and crumbled oreo cookies.  Pour the spiked milkshake into the glass and top with whipped cream and more crumbled oreo cookies.
“Take your milkshake game to the next level with one of Charbar’s Spiked Milkshakes. Our milkshake menu has several classic flavors with your choice of spirit to elevate your beverage. You don’t have to (and can’t) be a kid to enjoy this new take on a nostalgic American drink.” — Charbar Co.