What Does Plain Vodka Taste Like
Most vodka is usually made by fermenting grain and then distilling it multiple times. Any grain can be used for this task, although other sources, such as potatoes and grapes, have been equally effective at producing profitable vodkas.
While some people find the taste more satisfactory than others, most people would agree that hard alcohol , a category which includes vodka, does not taste pleasant and anything more than a shot should be masked with other drinks chasers.
Professional opinions can range from the simple vodka tastes like gasoline to the complex clean, milky notes with a hint of sugar, depending on the vocabulary and seriousness of the taster.
Most pundits in the USA will say that its taste is difficult to pinpoint, but that may be because they are unfamiliar with international cuisine. Vodka tastes like something which will be known to you if youve ever been to a traditional Korean restaurant barley tea.
It mainly tastes like water soaked in barley with some spices added. In the background, you will also detect an oily and slightly sweet flavor.
To Flavor Or Not To Flavor
Why flavored vodka? Well, why not? Reasons for flavoring liquor have been manifold, stretching from necessity to preference.
On the necessity side, one of the principle reasons for flavoring vodka, at least in the medieval era, was to hide the hideous taste of the hooch. Most vodka is made from processing grains or other sugar- or starch-rich plants. In the early days, it was difficult to get all of the leftover raw materials out of the liquor, leaving a really, really bad taste. What better way to deal with a bad taste than to mask it with some other more suitable or pleasant taste?
Plants or herbs that were thought to have medicinal qualities were also sometimes added to vodka. This might seem strange, except that vodka itself was first used as a form of medicine.
As the processing of vodka became more and more sophisticated, taste and personal preference became important in choosing whether and how to flavor vodka.
Almost all of the early flavored vodkas were from local or homemade recipes, though the process is very similar to methods still used today: A flavoring agent is added to the vodka, sealed up, and left for days, weeks, or even months. The pulp can then be removed or remain in the vodka after the process is completed.
Some popular flavors in the vodka-belt countries include peppers, honey, ginger, vanilla, chocolate, apple, lemon, pineapple, coffee, nuts, juniper berries, cloves, or cherry, among many others.
What Is The Best Cheap Flavored Vodka
Over the last couple of decades, the trend in vodka production has been to produce and market higher end and more expensive vodkas. Luckily, though, high quality inexpensive vodka is making a comeback.
Dont get me wrong you can still buy a cheap vodka only to find out it is really crappy. That is especially the case among the flavored vodkas.
Nevertheless, there are enough really good quality cheap flavored vodkas out there to satisfy most of your cocktail needs. Some of the best include Summum and Deep Eddy. Both of these brands offer an array of flavor options.
Based in Cognac, France, Summum offers flavored vodkas for around $19 a bottle. Go for the zingy but well-balanced Piment dEspelette or the crisp, fresh Citron .
Deep Eddy is an Austin, TX-based vodka producer that has made a real splash with some of their flavored vodkas, especially their Sweet Tea Vodka and their Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka. They also offer Lemon and Cranberry. You can find Deep Eddy flavored vodkas for about $17 a bottle.
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The Worldwide Vodka Market
Vodka consumption and production is no longer confined to the countries of the vodka belt. In fact, the most popular spirit consumed in the United States is not whiskey, but vodka. And vodka makes up about 29% of the total spirits sold around the world in the multi-billion dollar global liquor market. Today, the leading vodka producers by volume include the United States, the Netherlands, and France, alongside the traditional producers Poland and Russia. In France and the United States, distillers are also pioneering the use of alternative raw materials to craft their spirits.
What Is A Good Cheap Vodka
13 Vodkas Under $25 That Actually Taste Damn Good Deep Eddy Vodka. Price: $18.99. Seagram’s Vodka. Price: $10.99. Skyy Vodka. Price: $14.99. Sobieski Vodka. Price: $12. Råvo Vodka. Price: $22.99. Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Price: $17.99. New Amsterdam Vodka. Price: $14.99. Aylesbury Duck Vodka. Price: $20.
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This Vodka From Bakon Is Going To Be A Hard Pass
Now for all you Bloody Mary fans out there, this might not sound too terrible, but the second-worst vodka on our list that you should probably avoid at all costs is the bacon-flavored spirit from Bakon Vodka. Yes, bacon-flavored vodka. We love a good piece of bacon, don’t get us wrong, but in vodka form? Absolutely not.
As noted by the Bakon Vodka website, the spirit is ideally used in drinks like a Bloody Mary or a Caesar but if you can just use your classic vodka for those specific drinks, why get a special flavored vodka that you can’t use for all your cocktails? It’s not like you’re going to want to sip on bacon-flavored vodka, let alone use it in a classic mixed drink like a Cosmopolitan .
If you think that we’re being dramatic, we can guarantee you that we aren’t. LA Weekly put Bakon Vodka on their list of the five worst vodkas out there, so we’re pretty confident that you should save your money and skip out on this bottle.
The 10 Best Flavored Vodka Brands To Try In 2021
Flavored vodka is one of the fastest-growing alcohol markets as brands move away from traditional neutrality to hunt for quality expressions with unique verve. The best vodka brands are distilled multiple times and use the best water possible in filtering the distillate down to make their spirit, adding natural additives to the process as a means of adding flavor and individuality.
The vodka industry now accommodates innovative craftsmanship and regional personalities, which means your mixology knowledge has to be up to scratch, even in a home bar. Making the cleanest, crispest vodka with little flavor or aftertaste was once the goal for many vodka distillers, while ultra-premium vodka expressions were more interested in taste and function.
The following list of the best flavored vodka includes great bottles from the worlds top producers, new entrants, and old favorites that are sure to spice up your cocktail making and vodka enjoyment.
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North Mountain Huckleberry Vodka
Origin: Hood River, OR, U.S.A.Price: $30 for 750 ml.ABV: 35%: 44° North Vodka
Using Idahos state fruit, the huckleberry, the 44° North distillery has created a unique flavored vodka.
This offering is made with Burbank and Russet potatoes and Rocky Mountain spring water, with fresh mountain huckleberries blended in for a burst of fruit flavor. The tartness of the huckleberry is appealing on the nose, palate and the finish, while the authenticity of the fresh berry is amplified by the slightly lower alcohol level of 35 percent, compared to the typical 40 percent .
Best Grapefruit: Finlandia Grapefruit
Abou-Ganim likes to tell the story of how he and bar legend Dale DeGroff discovered this phenomenal vodka: “It was summer solstice in Finland, and someone handed us a glass. We said, What is this? Its delicious. Its rare that something catches your attention like that.” This Finlandia expression has won several awards for its “true, beautiful, honest grapefruit flavor.” You cant go wrong when mixing it with fresh grapefruit juice in a Greyhound or Salty Dog. You can also try it in the Luce del Sol, a cocktail created by Abou-Ganim, with Aperol, honey syrup, and lemon and orange juice.
Abou-Ganim is a big fan of this vodka he calls a beautiful representation of one of my favorite citruses. Distilled in the Netherlands using wheat from France, this Effen expression is infused with the tangy, sweet namesake fruit and offers punchy orange and vanilla notes. Though blood oranges are a winter fruit, fresh frozen purées allow you to meld the fruits natural juice with this flavored vodka any time of year. Pair it with a bit of club soda or sparkling wine for a terrific fizzone of the big sellers at Abou-Ganims Las Vegas bar, Libertine Social.
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Best Botanical: Ketel One Grapefruit & Rose
Forget the liquid flavoring that less worthy contenders dump into their vodka Ketel Ones approach is really more artisanal, says Abou-Ganim. They do a distillation of the botanicals in the style of making a gin. This fragrant elixir is one of his favorites to work with. You get that fresh grapefruit right away on the nose and the floral notes of the rose, he says. At just 30% ABV, its delicious in a spritz during what Abou-Ganim likes to call aperitivo hour when relaxing with friends.
Re: Find Cucumber Flavored Vodka
Origin: Paso Robles, CA, U.S.A.Price: $44 for 750 ml.ABV: 40%: RE:FIND Handcrafted Spirits
RE:FIND Cucumber Flavored Vodka is distilled from red wine grapes, using environmentally sustainable practices.
Made with whole cucumbers that are juiced and mixed with brandy made from the distillerys grapes, the Cucumber Flavored Vodka is abundantly cucumber-like in aroma and flavor. The crisp and refreshing taste makes it great for mixing or sipping straight.
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How Many Calories Are In Vodka
Clear spirits need to be much lower in calories, which is why vodka and tequila Blanco are often ordered by anyone looking to imbibe without as much guilt. There are approximately 97 calories per jigger-measured shot of 80-proof vodka. And obviously, that cal count goes up with added mixers, fruit and such.
From potato and grain-based vodkas, to corn, grape, and whey vodkas, these distilled spirits are the most orderedand most enjoyedby vodka lovers far and wide. Heres what makes them iconic.
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Grey Goose Le Vanille
Grey Goose is one of the most well-known premium brands of vodka, and after seeing the rise in popularity of flavored vodkas, they brought one to market as well.
The vodka shines through most strongly in this brand with the vanilla being more of a background flavor. It isnt as sweet as the others either and has one of the highest alcohol percentages.
- Delicate floral vanilla flavor with a bold toffee finish
- Premium winter wheat vodka base
Signature Cocktail: Classic Vodka Martini
Combine 2 ounces of Grey Goose Le Vanille with 1/3 ounce of extra dry vermouth and a dash of orange bitters in a shaker with ice. Shake or stir and strain into a chilled martini glass, garnished with a twist of lemon.
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Boardroom Spirits Fresh Ginger
If Moscow Mules are your jam, youll want to add a bottle of this vodka to your collection. Infused with fresh ginger root without any artificial sweeteners, it tastes remarkably like candied ginger. It also leaves a nice bit of heat on the palate, thanks to a touch of ginger spice and a hefty 50-percent ABV.
Best Overall: Ketel One Vodka
Region: Netherlands | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Honey, lemon zest, cream
Ketel One is the drink of choice for the celebrity crowd and for good reason: the Dutch brands signature vodka is free of sugar and artificial flavors and made with 100 percent GMO-free grains.
I have been drinking Ketel One Vodka since I was legal to drink, says Fanny Chu, head bartender at Donnas in Brooklyn, New York. Its been my go-to vodka for agesthe combination of modern and traditional distilling techniques that make for an incredible product.
The Nolet family has been making spirits out of their Holland distillery for over 327 yearsan eleventh-generation member of the family signs off on every batch of the silky vodka. I like that it has a crisp sweetness to taste and is soft on the finish, says Chu. Serve it cold, or try one of the brands flavored options, like the refreshing cucumber mint or aromatic peach and orange blossom.
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Best Middle Shelf Vodka
Purity Vodka is Flaviar’s top rated vodka in the $20 to $50 price range consumers rate it at 8.6 out of 10 stars. It’s an estate-grown and distilled Swedish vodka made from winter wheat and barley that is distilled 34 times for a smooth, clean finish. Expect top notes of citrus with flavors of black pepper and vanilla. You’ll pay about $35 per 750 mL bottle.
Category On The Rise: Flavored Vodka
Consumers trade sweet, confection-flavored vodkas for natural flavors and less sugar
In decades past, vodka came in one standard variety, and the spirits main selling point was its subtle, almost neutral character. That all changed about 10 years ago, when a wave of flavored vodkas hit the market in just about every tooth-achingly sweet variety you can imagine.
There was a peak from 2011 to 2013 that we call the confection stage, when we saw flavors like whipped cream, cookie, pumpkin spice, and cake, says Brandy Rand, COO of the Americas at IWSR Drinks Market Analysis. While these products were wildly popular at the time, she says, flavor fatigue eventually set in and consumers preferences shifted. Vodkas sales volume tapered off as a result, and consumers moved on to other spirits.
It wasnt until 2018 that the category saw an uptick, coinciding with the launch of brands such as Ketel One Botanical, which appealed to consumers desire for natural flavors and more herbal, fruity profiles. In 2020, the flavored vodka segment grew six percent by volume, according to IWSR, and accounted for around 15 percent share of the total vodka category.
Rand confirms that better-for-you, lower-alcohol flavored vodkas are gaining popularity. In 2020, the categorys volume sales grew 12 percent, compared to six percent growth for the flavored vodka category as a whole.
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Bare Vodka No3 Cherry
The Bare range of Polish grain vodkas is made with entirely natural flavourings. No2 is lightly honeyed, but our pick is No3, with attractive aromas and flavours of fresh red cherry and Maraschino cherry, plus an almond, marzipan note like sipping a cherry Bakewell. Smooth-textured, it finishes fruity, with a kick of warm spice. Bare is intended for sipping neat, but you can also try pairing it with Fentimans Rose Lemonade for a summery serve. Alc40%
The 5 Best Cocktails To Make With Flavored Vodka
The beverage industry has been saying that flavored vodka is dead for years. Yet there they sit on liquor shelves and discount racks across the country. A glut of bottles without a home, gathering dust while hip young guys with mustaches hit the bourbon aisle and baby boomers spend their retirement money on liquor that connotes some level of class and sophistication.
What once seemed like an unstoppable force in the alcohol industry since Absolut introduced the first flavor, Peppar, in 1986, has become something to roll your eyes at. In came the party girl flavors like whipped cream and birthday cake, but at the height of flavored vodka mania in 2012, 122 of 171 new vodka products were flavored. That led to flavors that relied on shock value, but those have become less and less common. And good riddance. Does anyone really want to drink salmon vodka?
As for the more reasonable vodka flavors, we can only hope theyre here to stay. These five VinePair cocktails are built around five of the best flavored vodkas out there. Enjoy.
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What Can You Mix With Vodka
I feel that Vodka is the most forgiving of all spirits when one thinks about what types of flavors will go well with it, says Park. In the simplest forms, citrus-flavored sodas, other sodas, and fruit juices orange, pineapple, lime, cranberry, etc. Here’s our recipe guide to essential and popular vodka cocktails.
Best Overall: Absolut Citron
“I put a lot of stock in something thats established and credible and consistent,” says Abou-Ganim, “so if I had to have one flavored vodka, this is the benchmark.” Infused with lemon, lime, grapefruit and mandarin orange, this bottle is his go-to for perhaps the most famous flavored vodka drink: the Cosmopolitan. “Fresh lime, Ocean Spray cranberry, Cointreau, Absolut Citronwhen made well, its a delicious drink. And I have yet to come across a flavored vodka that makes a better one,” he says.
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Grey Goose Le Melon Vodka
Origin: Gensac-la-Pallue, FrancePrice: $30 for 750 ml.ABV: 40%: Grey Goose
François Thibault is famed for creating the original recipe for Grey Goose vodka, and has added yet another achievement to his impressive résumé with the labels Le Melon offering.
The melons used for this variety come from Cavaillon, France, where they are known for their distinct taste of wildflower honey. The vodka boasts a bouquet of cantaloupe with notes of pear and banana, which continue onto the palate, where flavors of almond and honey help to bolster the bright melon flavors.