Make at-home happy hour more fun with Sandra Lee's easy cocktails

Turn two shots of vodka into a wide variety of easy drinks.
/ Source: TODAY

It's officially cocktail time!

Two shots of vodka equals two cocktails ... unless you’re talking about a martini! Understanding the classic recipes one can make with vodka and a wide variety of juices is a great trick for any home bartender to master. I call this handy guide for easy drinks my "vodka tree" because one base recipe branches out into so many wonderfully different combinations.

I like to use vodka because it has a clean, crisp flavor. My favorite vodka drink (aside from a nice, Aunt Sandy-sized pitcher of cosmos, of course) is a greyhound, which is just vodka and grapefruit juice.

Start each cocktail with a shot of vodka (that's 1.5 ounces).TODAY

All you need to get started is your favorite vodka and a mixture of juices: orange juice, cranberry juice, grapefruit juice and pineapple juice. I love pineapple juice because it is the juice that fixes all errors in life. Truly, it can fix any drink by diluting the alcohol and adding a little tropical flavor.

Start by filling your glasses with ice, add a shot of vodka (which is 1.5 ounces) and start mixing and matching with your favorite juices. Cape Cods, screwdrivers and greyhounds are simple: They're just vodka mixed with one type of juice. By adding a splash of cranberry to each original libation, you can craft a sea breeze, a madras or a bay breeze. To turn a greyhound into a salty dog, just rim the glass with salt.

That's it. Seven cocktails in just minutes! Have fun with garnishes like lime wedges and citrus wheels.

If you'd like to add some fizziness, or just make a drink less sweet, swap half the juice with half a cup of tonic water or club soda. To make mocktails, simply swap out the liquor for tonic or club soda.

Aunt Sandy's Vodka Cocktail Tree

Orange juice, grapefruit juice and cranberry juice can create a wide array of delicious cocktails with vodka.TODAY

What you'll need

  • Vodka
  • Cranberry juice
  • Orange juice
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Pineapple juice
  • Salt, for rimming glasses
  • Citrus fruit wheels or lime wedges, for garnish

Instructions

Start by layering ice into a rocks or highball glass. Then pour in the liquor and juice in the following amounts. To turn any of these drinks into a mocktail, mix equal parts juice with sparkling water, club soda or tonic water. Each of these recipes makes one cocktail.

  • 1 shot vodka + 1 cup cranberry juice = Cape Cod
  • 1 shot vodka + 1 cup orange juice = Screwdriver
  • 1 shot vodka + 1 cup grapefruit juice = Greyhound
  • 1 shot vodka + 1 cup grapefruit juice (served in a glass rimmed with salt) = Salty Dog
  • 1 shot vodka + 1 cup grapefruit juice + a splash of cranberry juice = Seabreeze
  • 1 shot vodka + 1 cup orange juice + a splash of cranberry = Madras
  • 1 shot vodka + 1 cup pineapple juice + a splash of cranberry = Bay Breeze