Which vodka brands are best?
Vodka is one of the most popular types of alcohol around. In fact, it has been around since the Middle Ages in countries such as Poland, where it was originally used for medicinal purposes. More modern vodkas originated in the 1800s.
This drink is traditionally is served chilled on its own and is meant to be sipped, which is why today, it’s often kept in the freezer. This is how it was served for centuries in its originating counties of Poland, Russia, and Sweden.
As it evolved, people began to use vodka for cocktails and mixed drinks, gaining popularity in the 1900s. It’s smooth, relatively low key flavor means that it complements a huge variety of different flavor profiles in cocktails and as a mixer. Given vodka’s extreme popularity in craft cocktails and mixed drinks today, many people don’t know it was originally meant to be served on its own with no additions whatsoever.
This is hard to imagine for some, given the unmistakably sharp taste it has. That’s why many prefer it in mixed drinks, which helps to cover up the taste. Vodka aficionados will prefer it served the traditional way.
Whether you are looking for vodka to drink on the rocks or to use in a craft cocktail recipe, you may be wondering: what are the best vodka brands? This can be an especially difficult question to answer when you consider just how many vodka brands there are on the market. Factors to consider that help to decide some of the best brands on the market is how many times it is distilled, how smooth it is, and where its ingredients are sourced from.
Again, much of what makes up the best vodka brands is simply an opinion, but a few brands are regarded as premium vodka across the board. These three vodka brands that are consistently given praise and considered some of the best around.
- Ciroc is wildly popular due to its mid-range price and the fact that its original version has strawberry and raspberry essences. Plus, it’s 80-proof and is offered in several other high-quality flavors.
- Smirnoff is a brand known ‘round the world. It was created in Russia in 1864 using all of the traditional processes. This vodka is filtered ten times and triple distilled. Fun fact: Smirnoff claims to have invented the Moscow Mule in 1941.
- Ketel One is a vodka that hails from the Netherlands and uses a Dutch process. It is distilled in copper kettles using a recipe that has been around for ten generations. It has a silky finish, rather than smooth or creamy. Many love it for its small hint of sweetness.
What Are the Most Popular Vodka Brands?
While the vodkas listed above are some of the best, there are other brands that are known more for their popularity rather than just their quality and taste. These brands are still very well made and unique in their own rights, but the ones listed below are simply ones that happen to be very popular crowd favorites.
- Svedka comes in a huge range of fun flavors perfect for experimenting with mixed drinks. This is a Swedish vodka distilled five times, and its flavors range from plain to tangerine to grapefruit-jalapeno.
- SKYY is reasonably priced and made in America. It’s smooth and creamy and pairs well with mixers or tastes great all on its own.
- UV is a vodka known for its fun and unique flavors, such as sriracha, grape, and cherry. It’s 40% ABV and has a clean and refined taste.
- Grey Goose is a French brand. It is made from wheat and water both derived from France. Rather than smooth, it has more of a creamy finish.
- Belvedere is a traditional Polish vodka. It’s quadruple distilled, making it one of the smoothest vodkas available. It’s also made using Artisan well water.
- Tito’s is an American-made brand, and part of its popularity stems from the fact it’s gluten-free. It is made using old-fashioned pot stills, and it has been around since 1997, though it has gained popularity in recent years for being a go-to vodka you can expect to find anywhere.
What Is The Price Range For Vodka Brands?
Vodka may be versatile in its flavor profiles and distillation, but it is also very versatile when it comes to its price. There are some you can find at the liquor store for under $10, which are going to sting a little going down.
Then, of course, you have your more moderately-priced bottles, ranging from around $20-$50, which are the common brands most people purchase for their homes or bars. On the other hand, there is some vodka that is priced in the millions. Yes, you read that right—millions. See below a range of vodka brands for all price ranges and budgets.
- Everclear is a rather notorious brand given the fact it is 190 proof, one of the highest concentrations of alcohol (95%). You can typically find it for under $20, depending on the size, but a liter will cost you around $30.
- Absolut is a great mid-range priced vodka, costing $20-$40 depending on the size and flavor.
- Crystal Head comes in a skull-shaped bottle and will cost you roughly $100. They are well-known for their collaboration with the Rolling Stones.
- Trump super-premium vodka will set you back $2,000, which is clearly on the higher end of the vodka spectrum. As far as “standard” vodkas go, this is one of the most expensive.
- Royal Dragon vodka costs a whopping $5.5 million dollars. This is the most expensive brand of vodka available in the world. Its bottle is made from 8-carat gold, and on top of the bottle sits a rare yellow diamond. As if that weren’t enough, the bottle is encrusted with 15,000 small diamonds.
What Are Some Drinks That Use Vodka?
As we mentioned, vodka is wildly popular for its use in cocktails and mixed drinks. There are tons of creative cocktails that use vodka as one of their ingredients. You can’t go wrong with a vodka tonic, which is one of the simplest recipes. You simply need tonic water, vodka of your choice, and lemons or limes. You can put all of these ingredients over ice.
A Bloody Mary is another popular vodka drink, and you can often find them on brunch menus. You need vodka, tomato juice, salt and pepper, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Then, you can top it off with a variety of things such as celery stalks, olives, bacon, and even shrimp.
Try your hand at making a Cosmopolitan, which uses vodka, lime juice, cranberry juice, and orange liqueur.
You also can’t go wrong with a martini, which can be made into pretty much any variation you like. A classic one is made from vodka, dry vermouth, and bitters. Alternatively, you can make it with olive juice for something saltier.
If you’re feeling like a smaller and simpler drink, try a Black Russian, which needs only two ingredients: coffee liqueur and vodka. This is typically only poured at less than half a glass full.
Finally, another classic brunch option is a Screwdriver. All you need for this is freshly squeezed orange juice and vodka of your choosing.
The best vodka brands do differ depending on opinion and what exactly is being judged, but there are three that are pretty consistently rated as some of the best: Ketel One, Smirnoff, and Ciroc.
There are others that are highly rated just based on their popularity. Vodka ranges greatly in its price and can cost anywhere from just $10 to a jaw-dropping $5.5 million dollars. It’s an incredibly versatile liquor and can be sipped ice cold on its own or mixed into a variety of delicious cocktails.
It has been around since the Middle Ages, but the popularized version has been around since the 1800s. Some of the most popular mixed drinks that use vodka include a range of martinis, Bloody Mary’s, and Moscow Mules.