Grapefruit + Vanilla
Plays well with: with vodka
Vanilla rounds off the sharp edges of grapefruit in this matchup, while the grapefruit, in turn, adds citrusy brightness to the vanilla. Mix them with vodka and you get a very pleasing tipple that’s tart, sweet, and smooth.
Orange + Vanilla
Plays well with: tequila, rum, vodka, or whiskey
There’s a reason there’s an iconic frozen treat involving these two flavors: the combination is truly classic, and has been iterated in cocktails in more ways than you can imagine (not all of them good, tbh). But considering the versatility of the pairing, and its general deliciousness, it’s pretty easy to find a vanilla-orange drink that suits you. It can work in coladas, slushies, floats, margarita riffs, and stirred classic-cocktail variations.
Ginger + Vanilla
Plays well with: vodka, whiskey + honey
Ginger and vanilla make a killer vodka Martini variation, and, with a balancing dollop of honey, they excel in whiskey, too.
Mango + Vanilla
Plays well with: rum or vodka
You know what’s a delightful cocktail with an equally delightful name? The Vanilla Mango Mojito. Fans of Indian food would appreciate a Mango Lassi cocktail, which can be made with vodka or rum, and includes mango (obv) and vanilla. The options are many with this versatile combo, which will make you feel like you’re on vacation whether you actually are or not.
Coconut + Vanilla
Plays well with: rum, vodka
While coconut often took a starring role in cocktails from the height of the Tiki era, vanilla was a very solid supporting player, in both syrup and extract form. (Vanilla extract, btw, has a 35% abv.)