Ask A DFW Expert: Summer Vodka Cocktails

July 31, 2014 5:00 AM

Sometimes you need a little more than air conditioning and a glass of ice tea to cool off on a hot summer’s day. But before you reach for a cold beer or blend up a batch of margaritas, check out these refreshing vodka cocktail recipes from Pakpao Thai celebrity chef Jet Tila and AF+B bar manager Abe Bedell.

Photo Credit Thinkstock

Photo Credit Thinkstock

Jet Tila
Pakpao Thai
1628 Oaklawn Ave., Suite 120
Dallas, TX 75207
(214) 749-7002

If you haven’t caught sight of nationally acclaimed chef Jet Tila on Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen,” “Iron Chef America” or “Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations,” then you might run into him when he’s in town creating culinary magic at Pakpao Thai, the popular Southeastern Asian restaurant in the Dallas Design District. Not only is Tila chef and partner at Pakpao, but he is also the Thai government’s Culinary Ambassador to America. Although Tila keeps busy with an assortment of ventures all over the country, he’s graciously agreed to offer up two of his favorite summertime vodka cocktail recipes.

Tuk Tuk Express

Tila says that the addition of palm syrup gives this drink a unique Thai flavor which comes across in the name. Tuk Tuks are motorized rickshaws that are seen all over Thailand. This drink can be made in batches ahead of time and served over ice from a pitcher.

(One Serving)

  • 1 1/2 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. palm syrup
  • 1/2 oz. passion puree or passion fruit concentrate
  • 1 1/2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 pineapple slice


Make a batch of palm syrup by mixing a one-pound bag of palm sugar into one quart of hot water until completely dissolved. Mix ingredients together in a cocktail shaker and serve over ice with a slice of pineapple to garnish.

Bangkok Snow

This refreshing cocktail is one of the most popular drinks at Pakpao Thai. The coconut creme, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves make this drink taste like a cool tropical breeze.

(One Serving)

  • 4 slices of lemongrass
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. coconut creme
  • 1/2 oz. palm sugar
  • 1 lime slice


Thoroughly muddle lemongrass and kaffir leaves together in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, vodka, lime juice, palm sugar and coconut creme and shake together. Strain into a glass over ice and garnish with lime slice.

Related: Ask A DFW Expert: Fourth Of July Cocktails

Abe Bedell
2869 Crockett St.
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 916-5300

Before Abe Bedell became bar manager at Fort Worth’s new trendy hot spot, AF+B, he was working his way through some of Dallas’ best restaurants, including stints as general manager of Belly & Trumpet and assistant manager of Oak. However, it was during his time as bar manager at Victor Tangos that he really honed in on his cocktail skills. Bedell has shared what he calls one of AF+B’s most conceptually appropriate cocktails on the menu—a sweet tea cocktail that is a true representation of the deep South.

Sweet WaterBedell says a great drink starts with a quality product, in this case it’s Deep Eddy’s Sweet Tea Vodka. The addition of fresh lemon and mint elevates this refreshing libation to the next level.

(One Serving)

  • 2 oz. Deep Eddy’s Sweet Tea Vodka
  • .75 oz lemon juice
  • .75 oz. simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 1 oz. club soda to top
  • muddled mint to taste
  • lemon slice


Combine and mix all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and strain into a glass over ice. Garnish with a lemon slice and mint sprig.

Simple Syrup

Combine 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

Related: Fruity Cocktails To Beat The Summer Heat

Ilene Jacobs is a freelance writer living in Dallas, Texas. Ilene enjoys writing about a variety of topics, ranging from food, fitness and travel, to kids, pets and senior care. You can find some of her work at