A delicious summer vodka drink is the perfect way to start off a fun night in Philadelphia, and drinks with a Southern twist are even better. Mixologist Heather Rodkey has taken the time to share her top five favorite recipes from Rex 1516, which serves some of the finest Southern cuisine in the city. The restaurant offers dinner, brunch and dessert dishes along with a well-stocked bar and is owned by Evan Malone and Jill Weber of JET Wine Bar and Café Ynez.

Heather Rodkey
Rex 1516
1516 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(267) 319-1366

Rex 1516’s mixologist Heather Rodkey has an impressive education on wines, craft beers and cocktails acquired over 22 years of experience in the industry. She has managed the beverage programs while working at Philadelphia restaurants Rouge and Adsum. In addition to her extensive experience, Rodkey received an undergraduate degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and studied at both The French Alliance and The Wine School of Philadelphia. In July of 2011, Rodkey worked as Consultant at Jet Wine Bar. Now, she works as the general manager at Rex 1516 and has shared with us five of her suggestions for delicious summertime vodka cocktails.

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Deep South


  • 2 oz Rooibos-infused vodka
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz honey syrup (1/2 honey, 1/2 hot water)
  • 2 shakes of Angostura bitters

Shake, serve in a martini glass, garnish with an edible flower



  • 1 oz cucumber vodka
  • .5 oz lemon juice
  • .5 oz St. Germaine
  • 2 shakes of celery bitters

Top with sparkling wine, serve in a coupe, garnish with celery leaves

Harper Lee


  • 2 oz basil vodka
  • .25 oz Combier
  • 1 oz ginger beer
  • .5 oz lemon juice

Shake and serve in a martini glass, garnish with variegated basil leaf

Strawberry-Rhubarb Mimosa


  • 1 oz Skyy Strawberry vodka
  • 1 oz cranberry juice
  • 2 shakes rhubarb bitters
  • Fill with sparkling wine

Serve in coupe with a sliced strawberry garnish

Cardinal Shandy


  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz pomegranate liqueur
  • 1 oz lemon juice

Serve on the rocks in a pilsner glass, topped with Shiner Ruby Redbird, garnish with lemon twist

Related: 8 Skinny Summer Cocktails Under 200 Calories

Christina Thompson is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.