Vodka Tonic

Vodka tonic recipe

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
981 Calories
0g Fat
222g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 981
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 295mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 222g 81%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 0g
Calcium 47mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The vodka tonic is an easy-to-make, refreshing mixed drink that is an enjoyable way to unwind at the end of the day. Whereas a gin and tonic relies on the flavor of gin's botanicals, this vodka cocktail is very clean, which allows the taste of the tonic water to really shine against the tart snap of lime.

Other than choosing quality ingredients, there are no big secrets to making a great vodka tonic. The drink is built in a tall, ice-filled glass with a shot of vodka and a hint of lime juice, then topped with tonic water. Its transparent taste is a fantastic way to feature your favorite vodka and explore various tonic waters.

Compared to other soda cocktails, the lack of sweetness is one of the most appealing aspects of this drink. While most tonics contain some sort of sweetener, it's typically much less than ginger ale and other flavored sodas. Instead, tonic's quinine dominates the carbonated beverage's taste, giving it a dry, semi-bitter profile that's surprisingly refreshing. This makes the vodka tonic a perfect accompaniment to meals. You can taste the food without interference or distraction from the alcohol, and it doubles as a palate cleanser.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for vodka tonic
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. In a highball glass filled with ice, pour the vodka and lime juice.

    Vodka and lime juice
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Fill with tonic and stir.

    Glass filled with tonic and spoon
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Garnish with a lime wedge.

    Vodka tonic garnished with lime wedge
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Serve and enjoy!

    Vodka tonic served with lime
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  • Pour a good vodka that you wouldn't mind drinking straight. With just three ingredients, there's nothing in this cocktail that can mask a vodka's impurities.
  • The same attention to quality should be applied to the tonic water; many available tonics are as well-crafted as any liquor. Explore brands such as Q Drinks and Fentimans, and try out the different formulas available. For instance, Fever-Tree offers more than five tonics and each will give the drink a unique undertone.
  • Add as little or as much lime juice as you like. Some drinkers prefer just a squeeze of a lime wedge while others enjoy 1/4 ounce of juice or more. You can even wipe the glass rim with the garnish. In any case, fresh-squeezed juice will produce a cleaner taste than bottled lime juice.

Recipe Variations

  • Give the drink a little extra dimension by pouring your favorite flavored vodka. Citrus vodkas are a natural choice, though berries are an excellent option as well.
  • Switch the citrus juice and garnish to either lemon or orange, or double up and use a combination of two citrus fruits.
  • Add half a shot of a fruit liqueur. Mango liqueurs give the drink a tropical touch and the fruit pairs nicely with tonic.
  • Muddle fruit in the glass before mixing the drink. Strawberry tonics are delightful, though nearly any fruit is a good choice.

How Strong Is the Vodka Tonic?

Like any tall drink, you can make the vodka tonic as strong as you like by pouring more or less tonic. When made with 5 ounces of tonic, the drink weighs in at a relatively mild 10 percent ABV (20 proof). That's about the same as the average glass of wine.