Hatorade: Vodka Club or Vodka Soda

I’ll state it outright: I have instant disdain, deservedly or not, for Vodka Soda drinkers. They’re the scourge of bars everywhere – a festering scab that refuses to heal. They represent to me the epitome of mainstream. They’re Camry drivers and undergrads destined for cubicle life and 2.5 kids. They’ll eventually own a Chocolate Lab, and a vinyl-clad, attached, townhouse in Nyack. Heaven help them – please. Barf me out. No concoction at a bar screams boring, self-righteous, terrified to try something different, and “I’ve got an Eating Disorder,” louder than ye Olde Vodka-Club. Now that I’ve fully gotten my hate on properly, let’s look at some of the “facts” behind the cocktail equivalent of Rice Cakes.

First and foremost, most bar customers I’ve come across over the years are thoroughly uneducated and have pre-conceived (often downright wrong) notions about many things, including various carbonated waters. So, let’s set the record straight once and for all.

Bridge-and-Tunnel bros that wander into my bars, inexplicably tend to order by the way of “Vodka Club.” You’d be hard-pressed not to notice the twisted facial expression and apprehension when I present the highball (with whichever Call Vodka they may have noted) and say something like “Here ya go sir. One Vodka Soda.” Occasionally, I’m confronted with a reply like “No man! I wanted Vodka and Club [soda] not Vodka Soda.”

So what’s the deal? The “problem” again is that most of the drinking public is ignorant. Probably 97% of bars/restaurants/clubs/lounges utilize a commercial WunderBar soda gun system or a Soda Dispensing Machine. An handful of small, boutique or upstart (mostly) restaurant bars, rely on cute little 8oz soda nips, usually in glass bottles. The issue is that what comes out of those soda guns is simply Carbonated Water (aka, Seltzer), not San Pelligrino or even Schweppes Club Soda.

There are three types of Carbonated Water. Though all are technically “carbonated water,” there are distinct differences:

  1. Seltzer: Water with man-made carbonation. In bars, this equates to tap water, carbonated via large CO2 tanks, and piped through WunderBar guns.
  2. Mineral Water: Bottled at the source – usually a natural Earthy spring. Sometimes filtered, other times – not. Contains usually consistent level of various minerals including salts.
  3. Club Soda: Seltzer infused with man-made minerals – usually, some sort of salt like Sodium Bicarbonate.

So why would a guest get so upset when ordering a Vodka Soda and getting one or the other? I can’t really explain it. My guess is that they mistakenly, and stupidly believe that “Soda” and “Club” are as different as Pizza and Salad. Who really knows?

I sometimes think that strict Vodka Soda drinkers suspect that one or the other (or more “flavorful” cocktails) may have an additional, unwanted caloric impact or may perhaps contain trace contaminants, which may or may not contribute to booze hangovers.

It is true that Vodka tends to be lower in calories than many other spirits, beers, and wines. Combine it with calorie-free Club Soda, and you can indeed minimize the translation to your jelly roll and posterior over time – sure. But at what price? Unless you’re binge drinking most days for months on end (or opting for something like alcoholic milkshakes), the potential negative weight effects of opting for some other tasty beverage, are likely minimal.

It’s also true that fewer ingested contaminants, can reduce that sick feeling the next morning. But, that’s only one factor when it comes to hangovers. There’s a great article on the topic here. Chugging a dozen Vodka Sodas during your all night quest to land some Strange, will likely not prevent you from feeling like death the next day. It’s a myth. The main reason you feel ill after a bender is because alcohol is a diuretic. Eat something substantial, slow your drinking down, and drink plenty of water between cocktails (regardless of what they are) and you’re far more likely to survive that nuclear holocaust of a migraine the next morning.

That said, like the car you drive, the shoes you wear, your facial expression, the state of your fingernails, and toxicity of your “odiferousness;” your choice of cocktail speaks volumes about who you are, right or wrong. Though your choice of imbibing may not say much to the bros next to you, to the initiated (the bartender, your potential paramour, the educated drinker) it communicates tons.

Personally, I steer well away from chicks that order mostly, or exclusively, Vodka Sodas. Combined with some of the other factors mentioned above, It tells me you’re somewhat obsessive, potentially boring, fearing experimentation, a dead fish in bed, terrified of even one additional ounce on your already puny frame, and are undoubtedly mainstream. For God’s sake – even a Skinny Bitch Margarita, or Gin/Vodka Press displays more character.

No thanks Vodka Soda chick. Hot or not, you’ve instantly turned me off. I’m far more mesmerized by the random Whiskey Chick.

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59 thoughts on “Hatorade: Vodka Club or Vodka Soda

  1. Sugar definately adds to a multi level hangover and that is why I drink vodka/whiskey sodas with a lime and I am a gumba. If not with soda then on the rocks or a martini. I think you are completely living in your own self centered world if you believe otherwise. I would say a coors light drinker is the most generic of them all, followed by a captain and coke.

  2. ur a freaking bartender. Please make my drink and step aside. You sound like one of those punks that would spit in or spike someone’s drink. Aholes like u make me distrust bartenders.

  3. I think generally the fear is not that you used another type of bubbly water, but that you took “vodka soda” to mean vodka + soda, as in a sugary and bubbly thing like Sprite.

    And to your point, many people order lower calorie drinks because an extra 200-300 calories from a fancier, tastier cocktail, even once a week, really DOES add up and make a difference to the body.

  4. i drink vodka soda sometimes because i actually enjoy it. As a bartender myself i really don’t know where you get the idea that we all judge people on the basis of their drinks, maybe you need to start working in a busier venue with less time on your hands

  5. I do vanilla vodka + soda because I don’t know drinks, don’t go out often enough to learn drinks, didn’t get drunk in college, etc. I either spend too long with the cocktail menu, annoy everyone by asking the bartender for help, or default to vanilla vodka and soda which I at least know I will enjoy.

  6. Sanctimonious bartender rant. Get or real job, or else shut up, pour my drink, and collect your tips. If I want a cherry coke/red wine/vodka bomb on the rocks with a twist of lime, then mix it, serve it, and keep your opinions to yourself. You still get paid even if you think your customers are drinking chilled barf. The funny thing about taste and preference is that it’s no one’s business except the drinker’s, and your whiny rants aren’t going to convert anyone to adopt your personal tastes.

  7. Give me a break. You make it seem like anyone cares what the bartender thinks. This “chick” wouldn’t go near a pretentious, assuming, sexist asshole like you with a ten ft pole anyway.

  8. I agree with everything you said and it is terrifyingly accurate, people get offended by the truth because they think they are unique fucking snowflakes and lie to themselves, but guess what, it is a joke how easy to read people are that sit at my bar, and that is the most accurate description of 99% of vodka soda drinkers, grey goose is one of the worst vodkas on the market by quality it has nothing to do with taste, the French make it and refuse to drink it what does that tell you? But it’s top shelf and has a price inflated purely on marketing that targets the worker bees that want to look like queen bees. Vodka soda isn’t a cocktail it’s a dunce cap and just as ridiculous as the multisylabic extra chilled extra dry grey goose martini up, just say vodka up and we are the pretentious ones, ha the absurdity

  9. That eating disorder comment is just some straight up ignorant shit. The hell you getting on? I don’t have an eating disorder, but I do have a food allergy. I drink vodka because I can get vodka derived from potato or corn because I’m allergic to alcohol that comes from wheat. That simple. It’s a safe thing for me to go to without me having a severe allergic reaction. But whatever. I can see how you feel being a lowly ass servant pouring drinks. Have fun with the rest of your life. if you ever gave me shit about my drink in my face, that glass is going in your face.

    • This is easily the the most melodramatic response to a blog post I’ve ever seen. Is there an award for this kind of misplaced animosity? I like how you became a “lowly ass servant” for criticizing a drink, and a lame drink at that.

  10. IMO, berating someone for their choices is worse than conforming. In the end, you’re not the one drinking that vodka soda, so why are you so mad?

    For example, I could talk about how you dress like complete shit, but what would it accomplish? And why should I care? It’s none of my business.

  11. I’m genuinely curious. I’ve fallen prey to this in bars which aren’t places of masterful mixing. I’m out with friends in some restaurant or casino that has a basic bar, in which I suspect that bottle of Campari never gets touched and the vermouth is sour by three years ago. True, I’m into inventive cocktails and classy mixes, I’m a bit of a cocktail nerd, but I really don’t want to come across as pretentious. I don’t like shots of anything. I’m also not a fan of whiskey- or gin-forward drinks, I don’t do Manhattans or Old Fashioneds, or Gin Martinis either; I like drinks that don’t say “LIQUOR!!!” on the first sip, but I also don’t do Long Islands or killer drinks. My preferred basic mix is something like a Negroni. But even in a basic bar that has the ingredients for a Negroni, if I ask the tender to make me this thing, I feel like they’re thinking, “You’re just ordering this crap and telling me how to make it because you want to look smarter than you are.” But I order a vodka soda and I’m sure many are thinking, “Wow, your taste in drinks sucks.” I have a sneaking suspicion that when I order a White Russian, at least some are thinking, “That went out with fern bars. Just get a darned shot of Jack or Jager already.”

    So, I’m in a bar with a basic selection. They’re used to serving Cognac in a snifter to the money guys, straight Jack to the average guys, a Pina Colada to the girls, and shots or a Long Island to the partiers. What ARE some basic but relatively nice drinks I can order without looking like I’m pretentious and I suck, or like I’m boring and I suck? How’s the best way to walk that fine line?

      • I do wish the blog owner would toss me a response. I’d appreciate it. I genuinely want to know what drink I – who likes fancy drinks not because they’re fancy, but because they’re to my taste – should order in a fast, basic bar that doesn’t make tenders go, “This guy is a douchebag!”

        I don’t like whiskey straight. I don’t do shots. I despise Grey Goose. I’m not a fan of most beer. I order vodka soda because it’s easy and fast to make, and in a “fast bar” speed and simplicity are paramount. If I don’t like Jack or Jim or shots of Patron and I don’t want a Bud Light, what can most bars make – quickly enough to not hold up the line – that doesn’t make the bartender think, “What an ass!”? Thing is, a huge number of bar patrons don’t order good drinks; they order what their friends order, what they think makes them look like a high-roller, or what gets them wasted quickly. I order what tastes good to me. I’ve even heard tenders say, “If you’re a guy and you order a mai tai, turn in your manliness card immediately!” What gives? Order what you enjoy.

        Or am I to assume that, almost no matter what I order, I’ll be jotted down as either a boring stick-in-the-mud, a pretentious jerkwad, a hipster, or some other negative type, by a tender who’s used to assuming 90% of his customers probably suck because, in practice, it turns out a majority of them DO suck? Tenders get to deal with way too many jerks, and I’d rather know exactly how NOT to be another one.

        • Dude (I presume)… you (and a handful of folks who lack the ability to detect sarcasm), should simply drink whatever the hell you want with complete disregard for what I or any one else thinks.

          Who gives a shit what I think or not about what you or anyone else drinks? I’m not anyone’s Mom or judge.

          • That said, can you suggest any relatively easy mixes that most bars have, which don’t involve killer-sweet junk like Malibu? I never know what I CAN order that isn’t either almost-straight-hard-liquor or sour-mix-and-sugary-crap. I can’t exactly order, say a Negroni, or whatever, since the tender may have to ask, “How do I make that?” and grumble about having to do something custom when most customers just order something every bartender, everywhere has heard of.

  12. Please allow me to expound upon the awesomeness of the Vodka Soda and why you absolutely should never use mineral water to make them, you barbarian.

    Firstly, call me crazy, but I would rather not barf a top shelf rainbow after a long night of drinking. For that reason, clear and gorgeous fizziness mixed with vodka is a clean and refreshing drink that you can nurse all night without wanting to die at 4am. My worst nights were after a bacchanal of raw-egg, herby, whiskey-laden muddled monstrosities or rummy sugary nightmares. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be a girl drink drunk at heart, but those suckers are dangerous.

    Secondly, what you mix with that vodka matters, heathen. Please stop giving me vodka tonics when I order a vodka soda because they actually do taste different from one another. One tastes lovely and the other tastes like Death by Tonic. Also, those “pesky” little minerals in the mineral water that you try to push on me undergo a nefarious chemical reaction when mixed with vodka that results in the sixth worst-tasting drink imaginable. This is why not a single bar in all of Europe makes these liquid forms of bliss – they do not have seltzer or club soda in Europe. It is a travesty.

    So shut your damned mouth about vodka sodas, sir. Just shut your godforsaken mouth.

    • THIS is a noteworthy response :) If this is the sixth worst tasting drink imaginable what is the first and does it involve Dr. McGillicuddy’s?

  13. i have an eating disorder (i’m constantly eating…) and i only order vodka sodas because for some reason i can order it at bars without being carded… my preference is just shots of tequila with a lime, though! Or Alabama slammers. Yum.

  14. You don’t even know them, how could you judge them and their character based on what they drink. You’re the festering scab, asshole. You shouldn’t even be a bartender. You think your job is anything special? Your job is about as important as a McDonald employee’s. You’re nothing special. Get the fuck over yourself.

    • I disagree on part of that. Bartenders are amazing, and even though I found this rant to be a bit of a dick move as you did, tending bar – even a fast bar with basic liquor – is a far more difficult and demanding job than observers think.

      I imagine they do get sick of certain things customers do, though I’d much prefer to read rants about things other than “what your drink says about you” (Think a guy’s a pansy for ordering pina coladas? Order what you enjoy!) Bartenders also have to contend with some hardcore assholes, snobs, and people with huge entitlement complexes, who again have no idea how much work, both physical and mental, goes into that job.

      • Come on, this is not a dick move! It’s FUNNY!! Even if you have an eating disorder or an allergy or something, how could you be THAT offended by this little tirade against boring drinks and their drinkers? Lighten up :)

  15. Wow, dude you’re kind of a jerk. People like drinks for a variety of reasons, and what difference does it make to you what they like? And by the way, many of people order simple drinks like a Vodka Soda because it’s not hard to make. Some bartenders suck and can’t make anything more complicated than a 2 ingredient drink. And I’ve had drinks made by a few bad bartenders.

  16. I find it pretty offensive that you judge people who only drink vodka sodas or just order them. I have severe allergies to certain foods and the way they process other alcohols which only limits me to drink either vodka, tequila (blanco), and beer. So some people physically cannot drink anything else. Think before you judge.

  17. Dude! You’re so bitter and negative… It’s just a drink people like, don’t take it so seriously! Expand your horizons, find another job, educate yourself about a more fulfilling topic…

    • I don’t mean it in an arrogant or nasty way, I use to be a bartender and I started hating people too, people can be so nasty, but i changed job and that was the best decision. But maybe I didn’t get your post the right way, you might have wanted it to be tongue in cheek

  18. If a bartender criticized me for my drink choice, and they weren’t drop dead gorgeous or a friend of mine, I’d tell them to go fuck themselves. Sorry you’ve had a bad experience with people who have ordered them, but you sink below their level when you categorically insult everyone who orders them.

  19. More than a year later this unfunny douche of a bartender is still getting top search results for “Vodka Soda.”

    The funniest thing about this post is the fact that you’re proud enough of of your shit bartending “career” to talk bad about other people. Get a life, and a new job, or serve vodka sodas and shut the hell up.

  20. This is awesome :) I totally looked up vodka sodas to see what the calorie content is because, over a six month period, delicious craft beer really did put a little TOO much meat on my bones. While it won’t impact my choice, I very much appreciate your opinion on the matter, and will try very hard not to laugh at myself while ordering my first ever vodka soda tonight. Vodka soda with a twist of lime and a hint of derision, please. Cheers!!

    Also, I really can’t believe so many people got THAT offended about having this sissy drink criticized! How do you make a comical post about a bland-ass drink like vodka soda into some offense to your social class/eating disorder/culture/sexuality/religion/dietary restrictions/gender – WHATEVER! Grow up, people, this post was fucking funny.

  21. I order vodka sodas because I’m type 1 diabetic. And I certainly do not fit your vodka soda stereotype. You have to remember that not everyone can drink sugary drinks. Lord knows I wish I could but I’m sick to hell of wine and vodka sodas have been a good alternative. I can still have a drink without worrying about my blood sugar.

  22. And by the way, don’t expect everyone to know your job like you do. I’m an accountant. I’m sure I’d laugh at your stupid mistakes if you tried doing my job. The thing is, I wouldn’t expect a non-accountant to know accounting. Don’t expect non-bartenders to know everything about bartending. Just do your job and hopefully you’ll grow up soon.

  23. I drink them because I’m very social, an admitted heavy drinker and in bars/restraunts/lounges about 4 times a week (at least) with friends and collegues. So nope, I cannot drink my favorite cocktails, one of which is a calorie heavy dark n stormy, that often and also eat late night fare to boot. I’d rather maintain my figure than impress the bartender. I do rotate though, but sometimes I just gotta reel it in, squeeze a lime, and keep it simple. And I guarantee I don’t fit your idealic V/S drinker. At all.

  24. Liking the vodka soda. Didn’t drink for many years–now I drink too much. Got dietary issues–not weight issues, but yeah, I’m thin and I look good. Most of my life has been a hardcore reaction to the mainstream, but I got sick of my own self righteousness, so I’m not thinking about it anymore. I really just wanna party and vodka soda works for me. If the fact that it works for me doesn’t work for someone else, then someone has a problem and it sure ain’t me.

  25. Stupid article.

    I was strictly a beer drinker before. And I drank a lot. I still drink a lot, but it’s Vodka Soda/Clud.

    I was 210 pounds with high blood pressure at the age of 43.

    I was “supposed” to give up alcolol. For me, Vodka Soda is a great compromise between still drinking and minimizing weight gain from it.

    Not everybody is 21 years old with a high metabolism.

  26. Yikes. Yet another good reason to have friends over to my place and make our own vodka-and-sodas, instead of paying a huge markup to some judgmental douchebag. Log off your computer and go for a walk, it will do you good.

  27. Yeah I can’t drink sugary drinks anymore because of a medical condition, when I’m not drinking a vodka soda I’m drinking a can of seltzer with lunch. Not many drinks available without sugar. All of the sugar from your alcoholism will add up one day.

  28. You sound angry and disease-ridden – all you night club workers are! Bartenders are always slutty (male or female, doesn’t matter, they’ll fuck whatever moves), vapid, emotionally delayed, dim-witted attention whores who drive a Mitsubishi Eclipse and have three roommates, one of which they’re currently banging to get a break on the rent.

    Bartenders have hideously low self-esteem and very little motivation to become better people in this world, aside from taking a few community college classes to appease their parents into lending them a couple grand here and there. Bartenders never finish school, and because they never get an education, they’re always resentful of the successful people who can afford to do more than just drink at some hole in the wall or overhyped, soon to be out of style “hot spot.”

    Bartenders forget that they’re at work, and the people that come up to them asking for drinks don’t give a damn what they think. Bartenders have to work while everyone else enjoys themselves, and to cope, they believe they are the gods of the nightlife, as if no one else with more than five brain cells could capably serve cold beer and mix cocktails. Bartenders are just pissed off that most people who can read and follow instructions can replace them, simply by Googling how to do their shitty job (aka mix measured portions of liquids into a fucking mixer and, well, MIX it, then pour) in 60 seconds or less.

    Bartenders are destined to become those embarrassing 40-somethings who show up at a club and make all the young twenty-somethings cringe with their dated slang, beer bellies, and too-tight clothing. Bartenders don’t realize when the party’s over and the ship has sailed. Bartenders are addicts, degenerates, and overall needlessly smug bastards who never mentally graduated from high school.

    • Good job Sandra, you self righteous bitch. You are the only loser here after that rant, good job exposing yourself for everyone to see. Go sip on your vodka soda in the corner by yourself..once again. Cheers

  29. Like seriously who the fuck does this guy think he is? Vodka soda is a classical. I’m a whiskey drinker on most occasions but on a summer night in the club I want something simple and refreshing. To label and stereotype people because of the type of drink they enjoy is disgusting. I sincerely don’t know how you’re a bartender. Because they have to deal with the public constantly and clearly you’re too ignorant to know how to communicate with human beings like a respectable adult. I couldn’t even get through the whole article because I was so turned off by the first paragraph. Grow up.

  30. Not everyone who drinks alcohol can have lots of sugar – do you think among Camry driving,cubicle living 2.5 kids having Chocolate Lab owning, vinyl-clad, attached, townhouse in Nyack living shmucks might be a few who actually would love one of your delicious calorie ridden beverages but sadly have diabetes and would prefer not whipping out their insulin syringe to ensure you feel more challenged during your shift? I will admit, I love a good bartender, and it’s not like slinging burgers, but at the end of the day, what do you care what we order? You get a tip, and if you’re not a pretentious asshole, you get a better tip and a loyal customer base. Some days I’m too tired to give a shit and will order some simple drink, or maybe I see that you are crazy busy and don’t want you to have to make me a strawberry daiquiri and a pina colada – I would think any frozen drink would bring on a bartenders disdain more than a simple drink.

  31. Hmm,
    my usual drink is vodka on rocks + cola on the side.
    I also drink brandy + cola on the side.

    If I am in the mood I drink cokctails, but do not like the sweet or complicated ones because of hangover chances.. So if I choose to go cocktail route I prefer something simple. Vodka soda could be one of that.
    And I am not that camry driving suburb lving 2.5 kid type of guy, even the opposite.
    Although I admit I am conservative in drinks, but that does not show my personality, that shows what my taste buds wants… Nothing much more than that. I am not sure if taste buds relate to personality :)

  32. I made a comment on this post long ago. After I did, the original writer explained that he was just griping, not really serious, it exploded with some REALLY nasty stuff, and I’ve regretted my comment ever since. C’mon, people, lay the f— off!

  33. Omg dont hate us, we just want to be skinny!!!

    Alcohol has sooo many calories.

    Sometimes we have to trade our refined palate in for whats practical. Cant be young forever.

  34. Who cares? Drink what you want. Rant about what you want. Just do whatever makes you happy unless it interferes with someone else being happy…ironically, reading these comments are making me happy, So if you will excuse me…. :)

  35. LOL……who cares what you think. The way it works is I order and you bitch up and go make my drink and try to be quick and get it right so you can earn a dollar tip. Don’t get confused about which side of the bar you’re at.

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