Why Is It Called Vodka Sauce?

Vodka sauce, often known as ‘Pink sauce’ in Italian cuisine, adds a unique flavor to a number of dishes. This creamy tomato based sauce has become a popular addition to many pasta dishes, contributing a delightful touch of acidity with a hint of smokiness. But ever wondered why it’s named Vodka Sauce?

What unique flavor does the alcohol impart? Here we will explain why Vodka Sauce is called what it is and explore the history behind this delicious condiment.

So sit back, relax, and explore the history behind this beloved kitchen staple.

Why is it Called Vodka Sauce?

Vodka sauce is a popular Italian-American tomato-based sauce that is creamy and flavorful. It is often used as a pasta sauce, but can also be used to top a variety of dishes.

Chances are, you may be familiar with this sauce but never knew what it was called! So, why is it called vodka sauce?


The dish originated in Italy and combines a creamy bechamel sauce, often with cream and grated Parmesan cheese, with a tomato-based sauce. It gets its name ‘vodka sauce’ because it traditionally used vodka to deglaze the vegetables after they’d been sautéed.

This gave the sauce an additional depth of flavor, and also helps mellow out the tartness of the tomato sauce.


The ingredients used in vodka sauce are fairly simple, and usually include:
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Tomatoe sauce
  • Vodka
  • Heavy Cream
  • Parmesan cheese
Of course, the actual ingredients and proportions depend on the recipe, but these are the most common.

Flavor Profile

The flavor of vodka sauce is usually described as bold and flavorful.

It has a distinctive sweetness and acidity, thanks to the tomatoes and vodka, while the cream adds a wonderful richness that is balanced out by the Parmesan cheese. It’s definitely a unique and comforting dish that is both versatile and relatively easy to make.


Vodka sauce is a rich and flavorful tomato-based sauce that features vodka in its ingredients list.

It originated in Italy and is very popular in Italian-American cuisine. It is an easy and convienient way to give dishes an extra depth of flavor, and is sure to please any palate.

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