A magical blend of vodka, vanilla, pineapple, orange liqueur, and Amaretto make this Tahiti Vanilla Sky Vodka Cocktail the perfect escape summer or winter.
You can never tell where I’ll get my cocktail inspiration; there are days when it’s easiest to follow someone else recipe, others when I’m in the mood to play with ingredients and then days like the day I decided to make this Tahiti Vanilla Sky Vodka Cocktail.
Deverick, a local friend I know on Facebook was on vacation onboard a Princess Cruise when he asked me if I had ever had a Vanilla Sky Cocktail and he posted a photo. This girl on a cruise? No, no way. No matter that I live in landlocked Colorado, I have honed my fear of sharks enough that I would never trust a sea voyage of any kind. But a cocktail? Sure!
The photo made it easy to replicate as it included a recipe on a placemat where he had taken his photo…but I learned quickly enough that others had already devised their own recipe from the same vacation concoction too so it was easy enough to make…except for a few things which I took the liberty to change.
What steps did I take to make this cocktail my own?
- Ingredients called for Vanilla Vodka. Nope…the ONLY flavored vodka I like is a Lemon Vodka from a company called Deep Eddy; otherwise I stick to plain vodkas and have plenty of ways to flavor them myself. I simply added vanilla bean paste but if that’s not in your pantry, simply substitute with an equal amount of vanilla extract.
- Orgeat syrup is a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar, and rose water or orange flower water. It has a pronounced almond taste but also a very short shelf life in the fridge so I chose not to source it and instead substituted Amaretto almond liqueur and a small amount of orange flower water which I keep on hand.
- I used Orange Liqueur in lieu of Orange Curaçao. They are basically interchangeable with any good version including real essence of orange from orange peels combined with alcohol and sugar. Watch out for cheap orange triple sec; it’s often simply orange flavored sugar water and not an ingredient I recommend. Grand Marnier is made with brandy and not a substitution I would consider for this cocktail.
I chose to include Bedlam Vodka for this cocktail from North Carolina’s Graybeard Distillery in Durham, North Carolina. I’ve had it on hand a couple of weeks waiting for the right moment and the right recipe. That moment arrived not just with Deverick’s post but with the birth of my first grandchild, Eli On February 8th.
It might seem circuitous to include a North Carolina brand with a Caribbean cocktail but I thought not. I spent ten lovely years in the Raleigh Durham area where both of my own children were born. My oldest daughter Emily gravitated back there a couple of years ago and she not only softened her ‘I never want to get married’ stance but lo and behold she and her hubs also decided they wanted a baby!
What better cocktail to celebrate with than one made from a distillery in her home state? And this is some vodka too. Distilled from rice, it is incredibly smooth and the company is rightfully proud of that lack of a ‘burn’ so often associated with vodka.
I found it the perfect compliment to my fruit forward yet still light cocktail. Honestly…I sat in the middle of a blizzard, put on some island music and dreamed of warmer times…try it; you might find comfort in that too!
My neighbor Amy was called into action to help me drink these. She deferred at first, telling me she was off alcohol for awhile, pre-summer clothing and all. She asked what was in it and after I shared the ingredients she took a sip. That was a mistake; she said it was so good it gave her goosebumps and she gladly obliged me. I did feed her too…no tipsy moments here!
This cocktail recipe is so cool and refreshing with both sweet and tangy vibes. There is a story behind the Vanilla Sky cocktail that features the dueling flavors of vanilla and pineapple. While pineapples are international symbols of hospitality, according to myth, vanilla was created in the after of a forbidden love affair between a mortal and a goddess.
So there is a combination of both hospitality and forbidden; much I have always attributed to Tahiti through the works of James Michener; it does seem the perfect marriage! Put your feet up, pretend you’re on a warm beach and enjoy your own Vanilla Sky Vodka Cocktail…cheers!
PIN IT! ‘Tahiti Vanilla Sky Vodka Cocktail’
Tahiti Vanilla Sky Vodka Cocktail
- 3 oz vodka
- ⅛ tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- .5 oz agave syrup
- 1.5 oz fresh pineapple juice
- 1.5 oz lime juice
- .75 oz Amaretto or other almond liqueur
- .25 oz orange flower water
- .5 oz orange curacao or orange liqueur
- Pineapple slices and mint for garnish
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Combine all ingredients except garnish in a cocktail shaker and shake thoroughly until ice cold.
- Divide cocktail between two glasses filled with ice.
- Garnish with pineapple and mint.
This post is sponsored by Bedlam Vodka but all commentary is my own.