Recipe Review

I Tried Vodka Butter and It’s My New Favorite Party Trick

published Jan 28, 2023
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a bottle of bison grass vodka and some sticks of butter on a countertop
Credit: Valen Sparks

For centuries, butter has been the supreme kitchen staple, beloved for its versatility and ability to make food more decadent. And on social media, butter art is having a renaissance — with butter sculptures, butter candles, butter boards, and perfectly scooped quenelles of compound butter more prominent on our feeds. When I came across Carolina Gelen’s vodka butter recipe on TikTok, I was stopped in my scroll by the unorthodox combination of ingredients. While I was uncertain about the kind of flavor it would yield, I knew I had to give it a try.

How to Make Vodka Butter 

This recipe is remarkably fast and simple to make, as it only requires two ingredients: vodka and butter. Combine two sticks of room-temperature unsalted butter with 3 ounces of vodka in a food processor until fully combined, then serve on top of lightly toasted bread. Gelen’s recipe also suggests serving it with an anchovy fillet, black pepper, and a sprinkle of lemon zest — a combination I enjoyed. 

Credit: Valen Sparks

My Honest Review of Vodka Butter

Vodka butter is a simple recipe to pull out for extra-special occasions. It serves as both an appetizer and a conversation-starter — two essentials for hosting a good party. It could use some salt, though — especially if you’re not serving it with anchovies.

What most intrigued me about this recipe was not knowing how such contrasting yet pronounced ingredients would pair — vodka has sharp, astringent notes, while butter is more subtle, creamy, and rich. My instincts drove me toward Eastern European pairings like beet salad, fresh dill, sauerkraut, smoked fish, cucumbers, and pickled onions. I also tried versions with kimchi and olive tapenade. The best parings were the saltier, move flavor-packed ones like olive tapenade and kimchi.

If You’re Going to Make Vodka Butter, a Few Tips

  1. Consider your vodka. There are many kinds of vodka distilled with grain, potatoes, and even rice. Because I was going in a more Eastern European direction with pairings, I opted for Żubrówka, a Polish vodka known its sweet, floral notes and signature bison grass blade in every bottle. The vodka in this recipe is pronounced, so it’s important to use a higher-quality one.
  2. Use good butter. You may be tempted to stick with the butter you use for everyday cooking, but you should opt for the nicer, grass-fed kind. European-style, which tends to be richer and more flavorful, is a good option.
  3. Spruce up your butter. This recipe is minimal and easy to build upon. Consider adding fresh herbs, spice blends, garlic, or even horseradish to pack in more flavor. 
  4. Change the vehicle. I stuck to the recipe, opting for a toasted French baguette. But I’d consider other vehicles like potatoes, party-sized rye bread, blinis, or even seafood like shrimp cocktail or grilled oysters. 

Get the recipe: Vodka Butter