Russian Standard Gold: Best Affordable Russian Vodka
Price: £18 |
No vodka roundup would be complete without one from Russia and this brand is the market leader in the Soviet Union, as well as being the third largest vodka brand in the world. Made from the soft glacial waters of St Petersburgs Lake Lodoga, its a wheat vodka thats distilled over 200 times and therefore 100 times purer than EU regulations.
Theres a perfectly acceptable basic version for around fifteen quid, although we think its worth splashing out a few extra quid for the gold edition, which is just that bit more elegant, with herbs and caramel on the nose and a vanilla and cinnamon creaminess in the mouth.
Key specs Alcohol content: 40 % Bottle size: 700ml Country of origin: Russia
Ranking The Big Vodka Brands From Worst To Best
We’ve all been cooped up inside forever, but as coronavirus restrictions ease, the idea of getting together with friends for a night of cocktails and conversation is finally feasible. A lot of us spent our days in quarantine just eyeing the clock for 5 p.m. when we could make a margarita or have a glass of wine after a long day of sitting on the couch, working, or just watching everything on Netflix. Now that the possibility of actually getting together with other people is turning into a reality, don’t you want to impress your friends with your innate knowledge of good versus bad alcohol?
When it comes to spirits, there are so many options that it can be difficult to even know where to start. A lot of people may go for the visual method whatever bottle has the coolest label gets chosen but is that really the best way to find the good liquor? After all, some of the best brands when it comes to quality may not have the best marketing. Maybe the bottle that is at your eye level in the liquor store is distracting you from a really good find.
When it comes to vodka, the possibilities are endless, so we’ve put together a list ranking the best and worst big vodka brands. You’re welcome.
What Are The Different Types Of Vodka
There are three types of vodka on the market, and the main difference between the three simply boils down to whats been included during the infusion process or whats been added after the distillation process.
High-quality vodkas are 96.5 percent alcohol, while lower quality bottles are 95 percent. A bottle of plain vodka involves only two ingredients ethanol and water, at 60 percent and 40 percent respectively. Plain vodka is the most popular cocktail spirit in the world due to its lack of flavour and any strong aromas or tastes come from the distilling process rather than the spirit itself.
Infusing vodka with fruits or herbs lengthens the creation process by around three weeks. These vodkas have much stronger flavour profiles than plain vodka and can be found on the market in different colours with varying aromas. Its a similar process to whats done when producing gin and results in any number of different varieties.
The skys the limit when it comes to flavoured vodka a spirit thats ever-growing in popularity as brands and distilleries discover new combinations and exciting flavour profiles. Its possible to flavour vodka with almost anything, ranging from more traditional fruits to unique and creative offerings like salted caramel, bacon or chocolate.
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Popular Vodka Brands Ranked From Worst To Best
When it comes time to stock any home bar, vodka is high on the list of must-haves. It’s great for a shocking number of cocktails, and it’s especially brilliant for those nights when you only have enough ingredients for a vodka-cranberry or a super-easy gimlet.
Vodka has been around for a long, long time. Explore Drinks says that it’s not clear if it’s Poland or Russia we have to thank for inventing this incredibly versatile spirit. Either way, we know it became incredibly popular by the 16th century and it only became more in demand from there. And while original vodka is nearly flavorless, the idea of flavored vodkas goes back almost as far as the spirit itself, as it wasn’t uncommon for upper-class hosts to have an entire selection of vodkas flavored with things like wormwood, cherry, birch bark, and St. John’s Wort.
Back then, much like it is today, the quality of vodka varied greatly. Now it runs from “paint thinner” all the way to “smooth, even on the rocks.” That said, let’s look at some of the most popular brands of vodka on the market today, and find out which ones you should keep at your own home bar for a sometimes treat … and which you should skip.
Shake Stir And Save With The Best Vodkas You Can Buy
Gin may be the spirit du jour, but vodka is hot on its heels. Todays best vodka is made in a variety of different ways, with more flavours than ice cream and better still, theres something for every budget. Vodka has for a long time had a poor reputation as a cheap and somewhat unpalatable drink but that simply isn’t the case.
Sure, there are some pretty vile vodkas on the market, just like there are bad-tasting gins, whisky and tequila. However, we believe once you’ve tried some of the best vodka out there, you might just have a change of heart. Vodka can be incredibly complex, smooth and most importantly enjoyable.
So if youre a newbie to the world of good vodka and aren’t sure which to go for, our roundup of the smoothest, tastiest vodkas around will help you make the best decision based of your personal preferences and budget. Whether you want creamy or peppery, milky or potato-based, you’re bound to find something that world for you and that goes for whether you want to sip it neat or mix it.
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Crystal Head Vodka Original
Best for a clear head, and we’re not just talking about the bottle. Crystal Head doesn’t contain additives, added sugar or citrus oils, which are common in other vodkas. It’s clean and dry and you’ll also find hints of aniseed and vanilla. Beware, however, it still kicks like a mule. £39.99. Atthewhiskyexchange.com,vipbottles.co.ukandharveynichols.com
If Quality Isn’t Exactly What You’re Going For Skyy Vodka Will Do
We’re slowly starting to inch our way to the best vodka brands on our list. If you’re looking for a vodka that’s pretty decent for mixing, then Skyy Vodka could be the bottle you’re looking for. As noted by Drizly, Skyy Vodka starts at $19.89 for a 1L bottle, so it’s still very much on the affordable side. It has underlying flavors of anise, coriander, and pepper and is a triple-filtered spirit.
This all sounds pretty good, right? Well, some users who took to the reviews on Drizly had less-than-nice things to say. First and foremost, one reviewer explained that they left the vodka in the freezer and it completely froze solid , so that seems a bit questionable if you ask us. Another reviewer put it pretty well when they said, “Skyy is pretty middle of the road. Its selling point is its cheapness.” So is it the worst? No. Is it the best? Not at all. Do with this information what you will.
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What Pairs Well With Russian Vodka
Bread wine was one of the original names given to vodka in Russia because it was traditionally meant to be consumed with bread. Makes sense, right? I mean, thats the way that Dostoevsky drank his vodka . . . albeit at breakfast.
In more recent times, vodka has been associated above all with caviar, those wonderfully salty fish eggs that usually come from sturgeon and are generally served on small pieces of bread.
But this is only one delicacy that is paired with vodka in Russia. Vegetables of all sorts are often served alongside vodka. Tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, and apples can often be found pickled or served fresh with a bit of salt on them.
Herring is the most popular fish served with vodka, usually accompanied by boiled potatoes. Another favorite is ham, because of its sweet and salty combination. Vareniki or Pelmeni served with potatoes and mushrooms to make for a savory dish that pairs well with vodka.
Some of the heartier dishes that accompany vodka include borscht, or Russian cabbage soup. And we would be remiss not to include the famous Russian pancakes, or Blini, that is often served with butter and caviar. Yum!
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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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Oval Swarovski Crystal Vodka
Vodka lovers can only find this $6900 Swarovski Crystal bottle in exclusive nightclubs in London. It is produced in Austria with premium ingredients that have no impurities and the process is so exclusive for this pure flavored vodka that it has been patented. This may be one bottle of liquor where youre paying for packaging and product.
Billionaire Vodka $37 Million
True to its name, the Billionaire Vodka is a fancy and authentic Russian drink only the richest of the rich can afford. Launched back in 2012 by Leon Verres, this product previously topped our list thanks to its lavish filtration process: making the purest of the pure and smoothest Russian recipe and makes its vodka content flow over real diamonds. The five liter Vodka-filled bottle comes alongside a PETA-friendly white faux fur. This edition has already sold out and Verres soon came up with a more expensive item for luxury item seekers.
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The 10 Best Bottles Of Vodka In The World
NEW YORK — Comedian Chelsea Handler once asked: “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea,” and often times vodka has been there for the stand-up comic, and soon to be Netflix talk show host. Ask any of her fans, and they will tell you Handler’s drink of choice is vodka.
The no-holds-barred insult comic once said in an US Weekly interview, “Vodka is a part of my life. Absolutely.” As someone that loves her vodka, you’d probably figure that Handler drinks only the best vodka from around the world.
The drink has been a part of Handler’s life for a long time, and it has been produced since the 12th century. There’s also some debate between Russia and Poland as to which country actually discovered the drink.
The best drinks are versatile, and Vodka can be deliciously paired with a variety fruit juices, or enjoyed on its own, neat or straight up.
There is large variety of vodkas available today the number of brands and different flavors is enough to make your head spin. “Which brand do I get?””How does this Vodka taste?”
They’re all questions one might ask oneself when searching for the perfect Vodka. If you have found yourself facing this dilemma, don’t worry. Each year the International Wine and Spirits Competition rates a variety of beverages, naming them the best of the best.
10. Yamskaya Russian Vodka
A Russia made vodka, this bottle was rated a “Silver Outstanding” at the 2014 International Wine and Spirit Competition.
8. ID Black Onyx Vodka
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.
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This Absolut Bottle Of Vodka Is Actually Better Than You Might Think
We know what you’re thinking Absolut Vodka is what you drink in college when you can get grapefruit, citron, or lime-flavored vodka that actually just tastes like a hangover. But we promise you that the Absolut Elyx is different. As noted by Reserve Bar, the Absolut Elyx Vodka is made from “single estate winter wheat” and “pure water,” which makes the drink really smooth. Absolut even coined the term “liquid silk” to describe the Elyx, so if we couldn’t have made it any clearer, this is not the vodka of your frat days.
But why just trust us when there are other people who can help convince you that Absolut Elyx is worth giving a try? Customers took to Influenster to share their thoughts on Elyx, with one saying that they found it affordable and was also “smooth and great for mixing drinks.” They wrote, “I am a first time buyer and would purchase again in the future.” Another customer noted that the Elyx vodka went “down very smooth without needing it mixed” and that they could see it “becoming popular.” So give it a try it won’t disappoint.
The Brands Of Vodka In Contention
So which brands of Vodka will we be comparing?
Heres the list:
Are there any brands of Vodka you feel need to be on this list, but arent? Get in touch via or at let us know!
Anyway, lets first take al look at what exactly are we going to do to figure out the best Vodka for cocktails.
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Bigger Bottles = Better Value For Money
The two brands of Vodka which offer 1-litre bottles sell the best.
Of course, the 1-litre bottles are a little more expensive but they do offer a little more value for money.
As of writing this the 1-litre bottle of Smirnoff costs £16, with the 70cl version costing £13. The 70cl works out at costing £18.57 per 1-litre, a rather sizeable £2.57 increase.
The difference between Absolut 70cl versus Absolut 1-litre bottles tells a similar tale.
Frequently Asked Questions About Vodkas
What are the top 10 vodkas?
The top 10 vodkas, renowned for their flavour profiles, smoothness and use of high-quality distillation methods, are: Belvedere, Beluga, Grey Goose, Crystal Head, Hangar 1, Ciroc, Absolut, Ketel One, Pinnacle,and Svedka.
Which is the smoothest vodka?
The smoothest vodka is Belvedere vodka, which is almost velvety on the tongue and has a premium flavour to match.
Is Titos vodka good?
Titos is a multi-billion-dollar small batch brand and is a bestselling vodka in the United States. Its a smooth vodka filled with character that comes at a good price. Its known for its sweet, black pepper and corn notes and is a popular choice across the world.
What mixes best with vodka?
As a spirit famed for its lack of strong flavours, vodkas versatility means it goes well with most mixers. To bring out the notes of the spirit, go for soda and a squeeze of lime or pair it with tonic water. For a more flavourful drink, orange juice or grapefruit juice both mix well with vodka.
What is the best tasting vodka?
The best tasting vodka is Hangar 1 Fog Point, a small-batch vodka with notes of pear, citrus and honeysuckle. Drink it neat for best results.
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How Is Vodka Made
As a relatively straightforward spirit, vodka can be distilled from virtually anything. Its mostly produced by fermenting potatoes or cereal grains like wheat or rye. The majority of plain vodkas and almost all Russian vodkas are created with wheat, while Polish vodka favours rye and Finnish vodka goes for barley. When vodka is produced using something other than potato or cereal grain, like Ciroc, which is made using grapes, it must legally be declared on the bottle.
To make vodka, the potato or grain is heated to form a mash before being mixed with yeast to produce ethanol. This fermentation process can take anything from one day to two weeks before the liquid is purified to remove any odours or off notes. Then, its distilled in column stills or pot stills to reach its desired purity.
The vodka, at 95.6 percent, is then diluted to around 50% with purified or spring water before being distilled again, at which point infusions can be added. The spirit is finished in the pot before common additives like honey or sugar are added. Before the final step, every bottle of vodka goes through a particle filter before its chilled and sold.