Cold, Clear, Strong: National Vodka Day

The spirit gets its kicky due in a number of lavish 'n lively local cocktails.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Vodka
    The martini is a thing of myth, and it is very often made with vodka (sorry, gin). It even has its own national holiday, too, on Oct. 4.

    Homer Simpson may have his beloved beer, and Carrie Bradshaw and the ladies of "Sex and the City" have their cosmopolitans, but martinis, and by way of martinis vodka, belong to one fictional bon vivant alone: James Bond.

    Will someone order a vodka drink today and request that it be "shaken, not stirred"? Guaranteed. Will the bartender have heard that line 1,986 times before? On the low end.

    Which is all to say that vodka has its icy, strong-kick hold on a large, spirit-craving swath of the population. It even gets its own annual holiday, too: National Vodka Day is Oct. 4.

    You know it as a distilled libation made from grains and such, while regular orderers of martinis know it as the drink of 007, historic and mythical czars, and people looking to fancy-it-up during a swank night out. Actually, we all know all these things.

    But do we know where to find the poshest vodka-esque sips around SoCal? Here are a few in honor of its big day...

    Hudson House: The Redondo Beach bar knows that sometimes a little sustenance with your cocktail is a fine thing indeed. The Imperia Pickled Blue is made with Imperia Russian Vodka -- you might have guessed that -- but also pickled vegetables and a blue cheese-stuffed olive. Oh yeah. A drink you can eat as well as drink.

    La Sandia: It isn't too common to see a sangria made with anything beyond dry red wine, fruit, and maybe brandy. We know, we know, your sangria is full of interesting add-ins, but vodka? It's an interesting twist. If you're intrigued, go order a round at this Santa Monica restaurant.

    Classic, Classic, Classic: Just looking for an old-school, oh-so-stiff, straight-up, two-olives-unless-you-ask-for-more, chilled-glass martini? The Grill on the Alley and Musso & Frank do it right. The Grill has a few locations, but Beverly Hills is the original, and Musso's? It's been on Hollywood Boulevard, as you know, since 1919.

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