8 Indian Dishes To Pair With Vodka Cocktails

Starters and snacks are party necessities that go well with vodka cocktails and enhance the whole experience in a number of ways. Vodka is neutral in flavour. It has a minimal taste of its own, allowing other ingredients in the cocktail to shine. The neutral tone of the alcohol makes it a popular base for a wide range of cocktails. And it pairs well with the spices and herbs that are used in making Indian snacks and starters.

Since vodka doesn't have a strong flavour, it can effectively showcase the flavours of other elements like juices, fruits, herbs, spices, and liqueurs. This allows for endless creativity in making cocktails and also pairing them with various snacks.

Vodka is typically a high-proof spirit, ranging from 40% to 50% alcohol by volume (ABV). This contributes to the overall alcoholic strength of the cocktail. Vodka has a clean and crisp mouthfeel, adding a refreshing and smooth element to cocktails. This characteristic can be further accentuated by serving them chilled.

The consumption of snacks aids in controlling alcohol intake by encouraging moderation and avoiding overindulgence. The diversity of tastes and textures in the appetisers also gives the party energy and depth, which enhances everyone's enjoyment and makes it a more memorable occasion. So, here are some snack ideas to pair with a vodka cocktail and spice up the party:

Video Credit: YouTube/ Chef Ranveer Brar

1. Chicken 65:

The spiciness of Chicken 65 and the strong flavours of curry leaves, chilli powder, etc. are balanced by the vodka's crispness. The vodka also complements the smoky softness of the tender and succulent fried chicken, making it an ideal snack with vodka-based cocktails like the White Russian or Moscow Mule.

2. Papdi Chaat: 

Papdi chaat is a popular Indian street food made with crispy fried mini-pastries (papdi) piled high with boiled potatoes, chickpeas, chutneys (both sweet and spicy), yoghurt, chopped onions, and coriander. This vibrant dish pairs perfectly with vodka-based cocktails due to its contrasting flavours and textures. The vodka's clean and crisp character cuts through the richness of yoghurt and the heat of chutneys. The neutral base allows the vibrant flavours of the chaat to shine, while the contrasting textures like soft potatoes and crunchy papdi add another layer of enjoyment alongside the refreshing vodka.

3. Mochar Chop: 

Mochar chops, a distinctive vegetarian delicacy from Bengal, India, feature the mochar, or banana blossom core, as the star ingredient. Boiled and chopped mochar provides a chewy texture, blended with spiced mashed potatoes, sometimes with other veggies or nuts, then deep-fried until golden brown. Paired with vodka cocktails, the contrast of textures and flavours is delightful. The smoothness of vodka complements the mochar's chewiness and the crispiness of the fried exterior. The spice blend in mochar chops enhances the vodka's flavour, offering a well-rounded palate experience with hints of cumin, coriander, and chilies.

4. Veg Pakora:

Veg pakora and vodka happen to be the best possible match for some. The vodka complements the crispy and savoury taste of  Veg Pakora. These crispy fritters are made by coating various vegetables, like potatoes, onions, and spinach, in a spiced chickpea flour batter and then deep-frying until golden brown and crunchy. The contrast between the crunchy exterior and soft interior of the pakoras enhances the overall drinking and snacking experience.

5. Paneer Tikka:

Paneer tikka pairs well with vodka cocktails for several reasons. The smoky and spicy flavours of marinated paneer cubes match the smoothness of the vodka. The spiciness of this starter is balanced by the crispness of vodka, which also complements the smokiness of Paneer Tikka and its creaminess. The creamy texture of paneer contrasts nicely with the zesty taste of the drink, enhancing the dining experience. 

6. Kola Urundai:

Kola urundai are savoury and spicy fried minced meat patties originating from South India. The base is typically minced lamb or mutton, mixed with aromatic spices like cumin, coriander, red chilli powder, and sometimes coconut. This mixture is shaped into small balls and then deep-fried until golden brown and crispy on the outside. The vodka's clean and crisp character in the cocktail cuts through the richness of the meat and the warmth of the spices, making it a wonderful pairing.

This provides a refreshing counterpoint and cleanses the palate for the next bite. The crispy exterior and the soft, savoury meat filling of the kola urundai add another layer of enjoyment to the smooth vodka. The vodka's neutral base allows the bold flavours of the spices to shine through without being masked by the alcohol. Additionally, the spice level can be adjusted to complement the intensity of the vodka cocktail.

7. Sikampuri Kebab:

Sikampuri that has a refined and savoury flavour is exceptional with vodka drinks,  particular. This kebab comprises minced meat (mutton or lamb) spiced up to the most aromatic composition of cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom, along with diced onions, green chilli, and fresh herbs. The meatballs are deep-fried in oil and then fried on a low flame till they turn crispy and golden but are soft and juicy from the inside. The zest of the Sikampuri kebab strongly harmonises with the silky texture of vodka, yielding a taste that is really stimulating.

8. Apollo Fish Finger:

An all-time favourite on the menu, Apollo Fish Finger consists of fish fillets marinated in spicy batter and deep-fried until reaching a golden-brown colour. Apollo fish fingers boast a crispy exterior from the fried batter, while the inside is filled with tender fish. This textural play complements the clean and smooth taste of vodka cocktails. The fish itself provides a mild, savoury base, while the spicy batter adds a kick.

This complexity stands up well to the neutral base of vodka, allowing the flavours to shine through without overpowering each other. The crispness of vodka-based cocktails cuts through the oiliness that can sometimes come with fried food. Additionally, the vodka's neutrality allows the spice from the batter to be present without being overwhelming.