Is TikTok's Vodka Butter Genius or a Recipe For Disaster? We Found Out

vodka butter on bread with olives
POPSUGAR Photography | Kalea Martin
POPSUGAR Photography | Kalea Martin

It may be the most popular and most obvious way to use it, but vodka isn't just for making cocktails. The alcohol can also give soups a more robust flavor, make pie crusts extra flaky, and let's not forget about penne alla vodka — the pasta dish wouldn't be complete without it. But as versatile as vodka is, you probably never heard about putting it in butter until Carolina Gelen's TikTok started making rounds on the app.

In her viral video, Gelen puts a stick of softened butter in a food processor, hits it with a splash of vodka, then lets it whirl until the two come together. The result is an ultra-creamy spread Gelen says makes for the perfect hors d'oeuvre, and those who've tried it seem to agree.

As evidenced by Gelen's comment section, the idea of vodka butter makes most people do a double take, but it isn't as strange of a combo as you might think. The concept is fairly similar to French red wine butter, which somewhat more acceptably uses red wine instead of vodka, as well as herbs like parsley and thyme. However, while red wine butter is often used when cooking steak (thus allowing the alcohol to cook out), vodka butter works best as a spread. Even with the alcohol flavor intact, it goes surprisingly well with the right ingredients.

vodka butter being mixed
POPSUGAR Photography | Kalea Martin

Vodka has a bite to it in the same way onions or arugula do, so when you add it to butter, it has a similar effect. Gelen's recipe calls for only one and a half ounces of vodka for every stick of butter, just enough for it to give the butter a kick without it tasting overwhelmingly of alcohol.

Gelen recommends putting the spread on bread and pairing with anchovies, lemon zest, and black pepper, and it's easy to see why: it creates a perfectly balanced bite. You get the saltiness of the fish, the tartness of the lemon zest, the bitterness of the alcohol, and a dash of pepper to bring it all together.

vodka butter toasts with smoked salmon and anchovies
POPSUGAR Photography | Kalea Martin

Gelen's recommended combination of ingredients proves to be tasty, but you can realistically create balance with any sort of contrasting flavors. Try it with smoked salmon and capers, or take it in a sweet direction with marmalade or jam (Gelen's other suggestion).

If you go with salty or briny ingredients, just make sure to use unsalted butter, or else the saltiness may be overwhelming. You also don't want to use margarine over butter, as margarine is oil-based and therefore won't properly combine with vodka no matter how many times you run it through the food processor. And for the record, you can also hand mix, blend, or use a stand mixer to make vodka butter. Good quality vodka also goes a long way, but other than that, you really can't go wrong with this boozy butter.

vodka butter toasts
POPSUGAR Photography | Kalea Martin