Vodka is one of the most popular drinks. It is some of the most desired on the market, widely being used in bars and restaurants. If you haven’t tried it on its own though you don’t know what you’re missing!
Being a bit reserved about vodka is something normal since most people just associate it with pure spirit. There’s much more to its taste than commonly thought. Its lightness, smoothness, and richness are some of the adored characteristics of the spirit.
There’s more to vodka than a clear spirit made from wheat, potato, rye, grapes, or other grains. There are so many vodkas around the world which makes it hard to pick the good ones. There are some cheap vodkas that can totally ruin the experience. However, there are many other cheap ones that can make you fall in love with vodka.
Vodka is so versatile- it goes great with almost anything. This makes it a great base or add-on to different sweet or savory alcohol cocktails. If you want to learn about some of the best 100 proof vodkas and other not-to-be-missed top brands from around the world, dive in!
In 1879, a Swedish spirits manufacturer and politician Lars Olsson Smith established Absolut. Produced in Åhus, Sweden, Absolut challenged the liquor market and in 1917 it monopolized the country’s alcohol industry. Absolut is now one of the most popular vodkas in the world.
One thing often mentioned is the distinctive bottle. The inspiration behind the bottle comes from an 18th-century medicine bottle found in an antique store in Stockholm, Sweden. Today each bottle of this high-end product is made of 40% recycled glass, in an energy-efficient distillery. Absolut vodka is around 80 proof, so falls short of the 100 proof maximum strength.
Proudly made with natural ingredients the taste is complex, clean, and crisp, with notes of grain. Consumed warm, the flavor is more intense and with a bitter finish. A cold Absolut shot gives you a little spicy flavor.
Grey Goose is another top vodka brand, created in the 1990s by Sidney Frank in France. It was sold to Bacardi in 2004 and its premium taste is one of the best cheap vodkas you can find. Made with French soft winter wheat Grey Goose is gluten-free.
Grey Goose is famous to be made with 100% French ingredients. One of the most important ones is the calcium-rich spring water from a deep natural spring. It’s one of the creamiest vodkas and it’s great to consume neat straight from the freezer. You can smell hints of almond and black pepper. Feel the peppery taste with hints of star anise and rye.
Reyka Vodka is a unique premium vodka distilled from barley and wheat. It comes from the western coast of Iceland and it’s using renewable energy from a geothermal heat relying on the area’s volcanic activity. Reyka is an ancient Icelandic word for "steam" or "smoke” and it’s made from glacial water- one of the purest waters on Earth, which gives a smooth and semi-sweet taste. It’s produced in small batches and it was first released in 2005. It’s great for consumption straight- up, on the rocks, and in cocktails with a proof 80.
Smirnoff is one of the most iconic brands on the planet and it’s been around since 1864. It has a rich history- it was founded by Pyotr Arsenyevitch Smirnov in Moscow in 1864. Back then Smirnoff started dominating the market in only two years.
You probably wonder why such a high-quality product is so cheap. It has nothing to do with the taste- it’s because the vodka is being mass-produced which allows them to produce it cheaply and sell it affordably.
The way it’s made is through a five- times filtering process which contributes to the flavor and its purity. It is also triple distilled through charcoal columns, you can also feel floral notes and citrus.
Stolichnaya is a famous Soviet brand and it’s made from wheat and rye. Stolichnaya Vodka originates from Latvia and is distilled in Russia, and it was the first Russian vodka to be sold in America. First produced in 1938 this vodka was made in a unique way being filtered through quartz and charcoal.
The taste is exceptionally smooth with aromas of citrus and minerals, and it’s great consumed neat, with ice, or as part of a cocktail. Stolichnaya also offers flavored varieties of vodka, and in fact, was the first one to do so.
Distilled 6 times, filtered through activated charcoal, and unaged, Tito’s Vodka is made entirely from yellow corn, rather than potatoes or wheat like most other vodka brands. It’s also one of the first hand-made vodka brands. Born in Austin, Texas in 1997 it gives you a clean taste and a nice sweet corn scent.
Enjoy on its own or in a cocktail, Tito’s is certified gluten-free and kosher and has won multiple awards throughout the years for its exceptional quality of smooth and silky taste. One last very cool thing about Tito’s is that they launched Vodka for Dog People- to rescue and protect animals they come across, many of whom now prosper alongside their distillery and offices.
Belvedere Vodka is a brand of Polish rye vodka named after the Polish presidential palace in Warsaw, which can be seen illustrated on the bottles. The distillery first began production in 1903 and three years later Belvedere launched in the U.S. as a luxury premium vodka.
Coming from an artisanal well, the water in Belvedere gives a taste of purity. With tiny hints of vanilla, gentle and creamy, this vodka has a velvety texture and hints of pepper and almond. You can find it also in a range of flavors like Mango Passion, Lemon Tea, Bloody Mary, Pink Grapefruit, Black Raspberry, and more.
Ketel One Vodka
Coming from the Netherlands Ketel One is fresh and crisp. The way this vodka is made is a combination of modern and traditional distilling techniques- by distilling in copper pot stills. The name comes from the coal-fired copper still that was used in the making - Distilleerketel #1.
This exceptional product is made from wheat and it’s filtered over loose charcoal which gives it an alcohol content of 40% vol and a soft finish. You can detect hints of honey and citrus. There are many varieties of Ketel One- Citroen, Oranje, Peach & Orange Blossom, Cucumber & Mint, Grapefruit Rose, and Jenever.
Cîroc is an Ultra-Premium vodka- produced in France since 2003. It is distilled from French grapes which give a smooth and fresh taste. The name is a combination of the French words for peak, and for rock and it refers to the vineyards where the grapes grow at a high- altitude.
You would probably wonder what grapes are we talking about? This is the most distinguished feature of Cîroc- it’s made from grapes distilled five times in the South of France. The vodka is not aged or flavored and it has refined citrus aromas.
Made in Holland, Effen means “smooth” in Dutch and the taste in fact is ultra-smooth and doesn’t disappoint. It’s chill-distilled and carbon filtered and it’s 100% wheat-based imported from Holland’s finest distilleries. The crisp and light-balanced flavor sends Effen among the most premium vodkas in the world. The texture is smooth and it’s a great base for cocktails.There are a number of flavors as well like Black Cherry, Cucumber, Yuzu Citrus, Rose, and Raspberry- also perfect to consume with ice by itself.