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The Best Vodka Brands for Every Occasion
Find the vodka brands that meet your needs with our top pick for every circumstance.
Since vodka is supposed to be a “neutral spirit… without distinctive character, aroma, taste or color” (according to the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) you might think there isn’t much difference between vodka brands. But that’s not necessarily true. From mash ingredients to mouthfeel and flavor notes, vodka brands differ widely. Here are some of our favorite vodka brands—and occasions to drink them.
When You’re Feeling Fancy
Made from single estate winter wheat in Sweden, Absolut’s luxury vodka, Elyx, is handmade in copper stills that date back to the 1920s. The full-bodied, silky-smooth mouthfeel makes it a perfect option for spirit-forward drinks like martinis, especially when served in one of Elyx’s gorgeous all-copper cocktail cups.
Make sure you know how to craft a martini by reading over our guide to the perfect martini.
When You’re Environmentally Conscious
Since Reyka’s distillery is powered by the energy generated by underground volcanoes, this Icelandic vodka brand is made with almost zero emissions. Plus, it tastes great. With a floral nose and glossy mouthfeel that comes from their Icelandic spring water and lava rock filtration, this vodka is best on the rocks or in a vodka Collins.
When You Want Something Different
Did you know vodka could be made from milk? We certainly didn’t until Black Cow came along in 2012. The vodka is made from milk whey that is leftover from co-owner and dairy farmer Jason Barber’s cheese production in West Dorset, England. With cinnamon and vanilla notes and a mouthfeel that is, well, creamy, Black Cow is almost begging to be mixed into a chocolate martini or White Russian.
When You Want Some Flavor
Okay, so Ketel One’s newest line isn’t technically a flavored vodka (its alcohol content is too low, among other things). The Botanical line is made of Ketel One’s top-notch vodka that is distilled with fruit and herb essential oils. The spirit comes in three refreshing flavors, like Cucumber & Mint, that pair nicely with plain soda water or seltzer water. Take a look at our picks for the top sparkling water brands.
When You Want Something Citrusy
You don’t have to reach for a flavored vodka when you’re itching for a citrusy drink. Ciroc’s lemon and lime-forward taste comes, in part, from its mauzac and ugni blanc French grapes that are cold-fermented and then distilled an astounding five times. The flavor makes this vodka a traditional cosmopolitan’s best friend.
When You Want it Straight
It wouldn’t be a vodka collection without mentioning a Polish brand. Dubbed a “super-premium” vodka, Belvedere is produced using all-Polish rye and well water, is free from additives and triple filtered in Polmos Zyrardów. The vodka starts off with a creamy mouthfeel and vanilla notes, but ends with a peppery aftertaste that will leave you reaching for another sip. Serve straight up or on the rocks for the full experience of this spirit.
When You’re Gluten-Free
Made from yellow corn, rather than wheat or potatoes like other brands, Tito’s is naturally gluten-free from the start. Their vodka comes from the oldest distillery in Texas and has a slightly sweet flavor with a bite. This makes Tito’s a great choice when you’re mixing up a Bloody Mary for your next brunch.
When You Want Something Traditional
Though its history and ownership are a bit muddled, Stolichnaya is a quintessential Russian vodka. The brand was the first premium vodka to hit the US markets when Pepsi made a distribution and marketing exchange deal with the USSR in 1972. We suggest mixing Stoli into a Moscow mule for a classic cocktail.
When You’re on a Budget
With the average price of a 750ml bottle hovering between $10-15, Luksusowa is tough to beat when you’re on a budget. But don’t think that the low price tag means low-quality vodka. Luksusowa is one of Poland’s oldest vodka producers (it dates back to 1928) and has won over 38 medals and awards, including a score of 93 at the 2018 Ultimate Spirits Challenge. Keep things simple with this potato vodka and try it in a screwdriver or vodka cranberry.
Note: Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.