Best Flavored: Hangar 1 Buddha’s Hand Citron Vodka
Region: California | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Citrus, jasmine, apricot
Hangar 1 is the brainchild of St. George Spirits Lance Winters, who set out to create the first-ever flavored vodka line. He ended up making Hangar 1, a brand now known for its unusually flavored vodkas . Now a Proximo Spirits brand, each batch is made with a combination of pot-distilled Viognier grapes and column-distilled wheat in a repurposed aircraft hangar in San Francisco.
One of the best flavors of the bunch is Buddhas Hand, a quirky cousin of the lemon. While many flavored vodkas on the market are packed with sugary flavors, the purified lemon extracts from the fragrant citron combined with jasmine, basil, and apricots that will make you rethink flavored vodkas forever.
An amazingly simple vodka infusion would be to cut up some pineapple and let it soak for a few days. It will impart a very nice fruit tone that can be enjoyed neat, or mixed into a fun cocktail, recommends Dylan Alpaugh, general manager of Sophia’s Lounge.
Best Potato: Luksusowa Potato Vodka
This Luksusowa vodka bottle may not catch your eye, but the spirit inside is surprisingly tasty when you consider its low price. If you’ve been passing this one up on the liquor store shelf, this is your chance for redemption.
Luksusowa is a Polish potato vodka crafted in the fine traditions of the country’s vodka lineage. Distilled three times, the finished flavor is smooth and sweet. The company does not produce flavored vodkas instead, it prefers to stick with the same recipe and method used since 1928. It’s an ideal choice for fruity vodka highballs, so if youre a vodka cranberry drinker or enjoy the occasional screwdriver with brunch, its a great find.
Region: Poland | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Herbal, smooth, sweet
What Is The Most Popular Vodka In Russia
Even though not everyone in Russia loves vodka, there is no denying that it is an undeniable part of Russian culture. Vodka can be found at all kinds of important events like weddings, births, and funerals, and it has certainly played an important role in the history of Russia. So much so, that vodka and Russia almost seem synonymous.
Of course, popular can have many connotations. For instance, some of the most memorable ad campaigns for vodka came from Stolichnaya, one of the most recognizable producers of vodka, known the world over.
In fact, year after year Stolichnaya is one of the best-selling vodkas around the world. But most Russians will tell you that Stoli is rarely consumed in Russia its much more of an export spirit.
There is a massive liquor market in Russia which is about what youd expect in a country that, according to legend, chose its religion based on whether or not alcohol was allowed!
Recently Russia has also experienced the trend of premiumization, or consumers buying less alcohol by volume and turning to more expensive and presumably higher quality spirits. On this tack, one will often hear a name like Beluga vodka.
But, like any country, what is most popular is often what is cheapest. And some of the cheapest vodkas that still have good quality include Zelyonaya Marka , Khortitsya, and Zhouravli.
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The Ten Best Super Premium Vodkas Include All The Top Vodka Names You Might Expect Including Absolut Belvedere Grey Goose Ketel One Ciroc And Stolichnaya
Picking ten of the best super premium vodkas is both easy and hard at the same time. Some names will be shoe-ins to the list, like Absoluts Elyx, which I was lucky enough to taste at their distillery in Sweden.
But there are now a lot of new kids on the vodka block, with craft distilleries still springing up all over the world. In the USA you couldnt ignore the success of Titos, while in the UK there are names like Chase, Sipsmith and Vestal Vodka, which is made in Poland but the companys based in Britain.
They dont all make vodkas that fall into the super premium category, but they do all make excellent vodkas. Heres my own top ten choice in the super premium vodka category of vodkas that are available in the UK
Russian Standard St Petersburg Vodka
Russian Standard St Petersburg Vodka is as classic as they come, sticking close to a tradition set centuries ago. The recipe consists of top quality Russian wheat grains and Lake Ladogas glacial waters, with production taking place exclusively in St Petersburg.
Myth has it that the recipe is exactly the specifics set out by Russian chemist Dmiti Mendeleev when he apparently created the standard for Vodka. Although his involvement has been refuted over the years, and its clear Russian Standard St Petersburg Vodka doesnt really need a story to sell the quality speaks for itself.
The classic Russian Vodka is bottled at 38% ABV and is typically described as having gently roasted flavour notes coupled with some sweetness on the nose, which flow through to the palate and moderate finish. Its hardy, but also a great example of a smooth Vodka you can drink on its own preferably straight out of the freezer, when its 2.5 times as viscous and smooth as it is at room temperature.
Considering the very reasonable price, its one of the best affordable Vodkas youll ever find.
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The Spirits Masters Announces The Worlds Best Vodkas
Vodka in shot glasses
The Global Spirits Masters is a highly regarded series of blind-tasting competitions in partnership with The Spirits Business. The vodka judging, which this year was among the largest blind tastings of vodka, picked 23 brands across various categories as the worlds top vodka expressions. These vodkas were awarded Master medals and scored between 90 and 100 points in the judging by a group of independent experts.
The Global Spirits Masters competition was launched in 2008, and tasks itself with rewarding excellence in spirits production and giving brands key differentiation in a crowded market. The judging is divided into 19 separate competitions to ensure each spirits category receives proper attention from a specialized panel of expert judges. The judges, all of whom are considered experts in their category, are drawn from retail buyers, the hospitality industry, educators and journalists.
The competition awards Silver , Gold and Master points. The top vodkas in the 2021 competition hailed from all over the world, and included winners from the United Kingdom, Russia, Australia and the United States.
Nemiroff Burning Pear Vodka
Best Organic: Ocean Organic
Region: Hawaii | ABV: 40% | Tasting notes: Crisp, Fruity, Mineral
Organic sugar cane grown on a family estate in Maui combines with desalinated water pulled from 3,000 feet below the depths of the Pacific Ocean for a flavor that’s clean, easy, and long-lasting. In its round, blue bottle, Ocean Vodka exemplifies the beauty of organic spirits. Its pure, light taste, with a muted sweetness, works well with fresh fruit juices including coconut, mango, and pineapple.
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Give Your Cocktails A Quick And Easy Flavor Boost
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The world of flavored vodkas is expansive. From tried-and-true flavors of citrus and vanilla to cherry, ginger, and spicy vodkas, plus those sweet whipped cream vodkas, there is a lot of fun to be found in vodka. Theyre an easy way to add a hint of flavor to your favorite vodka cocktails, and with such diversity, theres little chance that youll get bored exploring the delicious options.
Many of the best-known vodka brands offer a range of flavors to choose from, and some excel at a particular flavor. Just like regular vodka, premium vodkas will produce better-tasting drinks, though there are some impressive budget-friendly flavored vodkas available, too.
Here are the best flavored vodkas to enjoy.
Wide distribution and readily available
Natural flavor infusion
As a premium brand, it is not inexpensive
From espresso to Dutch chocolate and pomegranate to peach, Van Goghs vodka portfolio can cover nearly all of your flavored vodka needs. The premium Dutch vodka maker uses a blend of European wheat to produce the smooth-tasting, semi-sweet base thats used in all of its vodkas. The flavors are naturally infused into the vodka, and theyre all bottled at 35 percent alcohol by volume .
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What Country Has The Best Vodka
Are you trying to start World War III?! Why ask such a question?!
Seriously though, figuring out which country has the best vodka is almost as subjective as deciding on your favorite color it depends on what you like.
If you are a traditionalist, then you will most likely be drawn to vodkas produced in the countries that comprise the so-called vodka belt.
These include Poland, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland. These countries have been producing vodka for many hundreds of years, or in the case of Poland, probably over a thousand years, using traditional raw materials like grains, potatoes, or sugar beet molasses. Methods of production developed over a long period of time can make a big difference for taste, aroma, and color.
And there are some differences among the vodkas that come from the vodka belt countries. For instance, Russian and Polish vodkas tend to be heavier and more mineral, while vodkas produced in Sweden or other Scandinavian countries tend to be fruitier.
You might also want to try vodkas from non-traditional vodka producers like France, Holland, or the United States. Distillers in these countries have adopted and adapted the methods perfected in the vodka belt countries. They have also pioneered the use of other raw materials, like grapes.
The only real way to know which country makes the best vodka is to get out and do some taste-testing for yourself. That sounds like a great project!
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Nemiroffs Burning Pear Vodka is a flavored vodka infused with honey, pepper and pear flavorings. It is a smooth, satiny vodka that offers up sweet honey and pear notes, followed by a bit of heat on the palate. The vodka retails for about $12 per bottle in the US, but has limited distribution and is difficult to find.
Another surprising winner, among the cheapest available vodkas, was Syabry Rye Bread Vodka. It sells for around $7 for a 500-ml bottle, and is produced by Belvingroup in Belarus. It has limited distribution outside of Belarus, and is not yet available in the US. See wine-searcher.com if you want to look for an international mail order supplier.
The company describes its vodka as sophisticated, clean, with hints of roasted grain and bread crusts on the nose, with expressive tones of fresh bread on the palate. The name Syabry is the word for friend in the Belarusian language.
The top scoring vodka in the premium category was Halewood Artisanal Spirits JJ Whitley Artisanal Russian Vodka, 38% ABV, 750 ml. Halewood Group is a UK based beverage company that operates 12 distilleries around the world. Its Artisanal Russian Vodka is produced at the JJ Whitley Vodka Distillery in the town of Kingisepp , near St. Petersburg. The distillery was once among the largest in Russia.
The vodka is wheat based, and silky smooth on the palate. Its clean, crisp, but with a warming spiciness and subtle hints of fruit, along with vanilla and a bit of almond.
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Russian Standard Imperia Vodka
While the original Russian Standard is important to have sitting on the shelf, as the prototype of a smooth premium Vodka, the same distillery punches even harder when it comes to the Imperia.
The Ultra Premium Vodka uses an 8 column distillation process and filtered through crystal quartz, a mineral from the Ural Mountains, to give the body much more of that velvety texture.
This very specific process results in a vodka with much more complexity than youd expect from the Russian Standard Company if youre coming from their original expression. And its picked up so much acclaim since being introduced in 2004, that its become the flagship product for the distillery.
The acclaim is mainly credited to the body of aniseed and fennel, followed by silky, long finish as the Vodka washes down the back of the throat, leaving subtle flavours of nutty, chocolate flavour notes with a slightly peppery close. Its not exactly a flavoured Vodka, but its more dynamic than youd expect.
Its a bit higher up in price, but worth it.
Infuse Spirits Vodka Lemon
Infuse Spirits is built on natural infusion. Ive gone with the lemon for this recommendation, although other flavored vodkas in the brands portfolio are crafted with real grapefruit, peach, mango habanero, and apple and cinnamon inside the bottle. Infuse Spirits also has a tidy American whiskey expression worth checking out as well.
Infuses lemon vodka is amazingly smooth considering the pale-yellow color and bright candy lemon peel scent. Infuse Lemon is bottled with the curly peel prominent inside that makes for a more dominant flavor than other more neutral vodkas, but without any citrus pith.
The grain crafted spirit has flowing, viscous textures on the tongue, evolving into waxy lemon peel flavors and little bite. It will add a lowkey power but a zesty smoothest flavor to a Vodka Martini or your favorite cocktail.
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Curio Cocoa Nib Vodka
Produced in a small craft distillery at Mullion in Cornwall, Curio has explored the idea of flavouring its spirits using some fairly unconventional flavours: cardamom, samphire and also Peruvian cocoa nibs, which bring a powerful, earthy, chocolatey note to the vodka. The distillery has really bucked the trend of flavoured spirits, which has now begun to shake off its murky past of pungent shot glasses and lurid colours. This vodka makes for a very unusual, but quality base for an espresso martini.
Features To Keep In Mind
Types of Vodka
Vodkas are typically categorized by their origin and ingredient base. Though most of the worlds vodkas produced today are made from neutral grain and corn, other base ingredients run the gamut from potatoes and sugar beets to grapes and apples. Any of these ingredients can be distilled into a plain, clear vodka, each with its own distinct character.
Plain vodka can also be infused or flavored to add complexity and personality to the spirit. Some vodkas are infused with botanicals , as well as flavored with fruit. When considering an infused or flavored vodka, seek out those made with all-natural flavors, such as Ketel One Botanical or Deep Eddy. These can be served as a simple highball topped with club soda.
Vodka is effectively tasteless, and many vodkas tout their purity, neutrality and lack of flavor. However, certain vodkas do offer aromas and very subtle flavors that can be pleasant.
In the United States, vodka must be distilled at a minimum of 190 proof. Its unaged and typically filtered for clarity and smoothness. By design, the high proof of vodka removes the impurities, flavors and characteristics of its composite ingredients.
The widely-known smoothness of vodka, which can be creamy and almost viscous, comes from the distillation and filtration of the spirit. Many brands spotlight their multiple distillations and multiple filtrations when discussing the pure goes-down-easy quality of a vodka.
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Belvedere Single Estate Lake Bartek Vodka
Part of an intriguing single estate rye series focused on the terroir of Poland, this vodka shows a lot of character. Its one of Belvederes highest-scoring to date and shows a mix of compelling roasted nut, wild mint, and even some dried lavender. It also has a noticeable kick of citrus. The rye from the northern stretches of Poland is lauded for its ability in the distillery and this unique bottling proves as much. Its fun to try alongside other vodkas to taste a sense of place.