11 best vodkas
Vodka is a timeless classic that can be combined well with mixers or enjoyed alone
There’s a lot to be said for vodka - it’s a spirit that's often unfairly underrated and slightly misunderstood as lacking diversity, but quite frankly, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
After scouring the US and the world, we reveal 11 of our favorite vodkas from around the world, each with their own unique and delicious characteristics.
1. Absolut Elyx: $42.99, Total Wine
This bounty is distilled from a single estate in southern Sweden and produced from soft winter wheat that gives the unique and distinct profile on taste. Forget burn, this is smooth as smooth can be, with baked bread, dry spice and an incredible nuttiness showcasing macadamia nuts, walnuts and hazelnuts upon taking a sip. Vibrant, sophisticated and quite frankly, sexy. Drink neat or knock up a martini for a little tipple treat.
2. Black Cow Vodka: $30, Master of Malt
There really is something to be said for innovation in the booze industry and when Black Cow came about, it took the vodka category to a completely new level. We’ve seen vodka produced from corn, rice, rye, wheat, sweet potato, even quinoa, but there’s something incredibly exciting about vodka produced from milk.
Yep, you read that correctly; vodka made from milk - and in my humble opinion, it is gorgeous. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that out of the thousands of spirits I’ve tasted in my lifetime, it’s up there with some of the best. The greatest part? It’ll make the best Espresso Martini - dare we say moo-tini? - you’ll ever drink.
3. New Amsterdam Vodka: $12.29, Total Wine
It may not be made in Amsterdam, but in my humble opinion, this is one of the best vodkas on the market for cocktails. Affordable, great quality and with enough oomph to get you excited. It's five-times distilled from exceptional quality grains before being filtered an additional three times for optimum taste. It’s also smooth, sexy, and sophisticated.
4. Belvedere: $45, Reserve Bar
Simplicity can often result in greater quality and in this case, you’re looking at rye, water and distinct character. This LVMH-owned vodka is a testament to their 600 years of this spirits’ distilling in Poland. Filtered four times and purified by water located in the historic wells of Belvedere itself, you can expect a smooth and elegant mouthfeel, velvety in texture, with hints of white pepper spice and cream.
5. Chase Vodka: $36.97, Wine Chateau
Here’s a vodka from England and it’s the only one to be produced from 100 per cent estate-grown potatoes. Celebrating their 10-year anniversary this year, they’ve perfected the vodka craft. Forget mashed, roasted or baked – this is the kind of potato creation you want to be sipping on. Creamy black pepper, macadamia nuts with a light earthy potato from start to finish, this vodka works perfectly with a little elderflower liqueur
6. Greenbar Distillery Lemon Vodka: $26, Drizly
A lively citric burst of lemon rind, lime juice and grapefruit peel sit at the center of this flavorsome vodka. It is not only clean and upbeat but showcases a distinct and fresh personality. As far as vodka’s go, this is one of the better lemon-themed variations out there. If you want clean vodka with a refreshing burst of citrus life, you’ve found it.
7. TILL American Vodka: $29.99, Ace Spirits
Moving over to the Midwest, we celebrate a vodka straight from the heartland. Crafted from 100 per cent Kansas wheat, you can expect a creamy warmth and incredibly smooth finish. The name TILL comes from the iconic tool that made the heartland what it is today – with the same pride and honor going into each bottle produced.
8. Stolichnaya: $19.99, Quality Liquor Store
Undeniably Russian, this is one of my favorite affordable vodkas and comes in a variety of flavors. Named after "Stolitsa" which means capital city in Russian, Stoli is produced in Tambov from the wheat farms surrounding their distillery. Distilled three times, this vodka is then filtered through quartz sand and Birchwood charcoal to give its smooth edge.
9. Crystal Head: $40.99, Flaviar
Deemed by many as the worlds ‘purest’ vodka, Crystal Head sources it’s water from a natural aquifer hidden on a remote island named St John Newfoundland (basically the most Eastern point in North America). Peaches and cream corn are distilled four times before being filtered seven times and finally triple-filtered through a cone of Herkimer Diamonds. Sounds kind of classy, tastes kind of beautiful.
10. Red Arrow Vodka Journeyman Distillery: $29.99, Meijer
Our next choice takes us on a journey to the beating heart of the country in Michigan. Journeyman Distillery has built itself a stellar reputation across its vast array of whiskies, but today we focus on the vodka. The beautiful wax-lined bottleneck seals in this smooth delight, which is perfect for just about any cocktail you could think of. Named after the local road, Red Arrow, this stunner is produced from 100 per cent organic wheat.
11. Hangar One Vodka: $28.49, Total Wine
Ever sipped on a vodka distilled from fog before? Well, anything is possible. Hangar One captures fog in California before turning it into water. The water is then blended with award-winning vodka produced from Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc and Viognier making it gluten free as well. This pure and elegant beauty gives you flavors of orange rind, fresh lemon, honeysuckle, apple and pear.
The verdict: Vodkas
Vodka is an incredibly versatile spirit and what I love about it most is its ability to be produced across the globe. In this selection alone, we see everywhere from the USA, Russia and Poland to England and even Canada.
While Greenbar Distillery pioneers the organic vodka space with unique flavor profiles, Black Cow Vodka gives us the first in the category produced from milk. Then you have choices such as New Amsterdam that showcases affordability for mixers and cocktails, with Belvedere, Crystal Skull and Absolut Elyx offering a true complexity and pureness.
Alas, there can only be one winner, though. Given its pure innovation, incredible mouthfeel, unique flavor and creativity, I give the top spot to Black Cow Vodka. Not only can you drink this spectacular spirit straight with zero burn, it will also make some of the best cocktails you’ve ever tasted. Cheers!