Although originating from Sweden, Poland, and Russia, vodka has made its mark across the whole world in a short time. Most people find it pretty simple to choose which vodka to buy, and they don’t always think about the type. But finding the best vodka can make all the difference, helping to appreciate the different flavors and even origins of the drink even more.
In 2020, the United States actually changed what can be defined as vodka. The new way to define it makes things more detailed. “’Vodka’ is neutral spirits which may be treated with up to two grams per liter of sugar and up to one gram per liter of citric acid,” Food and Wine explains. “Products to be labeled as vodka may not be aged or stored in wood barrels at any time except when stored in paraffin-lined wood barrels and labeled as bottled in bond… Vodka treated and filtered with not less than one ounce of activated carbon or activated charcoal per 100 wine gallons of spirits may be labeled as ‘charcoal filtered.’”
These changes, in the grand scheme of things, don’t really alter change things too much. In fact, most probably didn’t even notice. It’s still a neutral alcohol that can be used in a variety of ways, but the changes do allow it to have a bit more exclusivity within its neutral nature. Not everyone appreciates the neutrality of it, though. “Vodka sometimes gets a bad rap among cocktail connaisseurs for its neutral flavor, considered a “why bother?” spirit compared with gin and its herbaceous botanicals or mezcal’s vegetal smokiness. But we like to view it as a blank canvas, helping to enhance the flavors of the ingredients it’s used alongside,” explains Liquor.
Additionally, the plain nature of vodka may be the right choice for those looking for a drink with less sugar. Without mixers, juices, sodas, etc, vodka could be beneficial for those looking to have a nice time without excess sugar or carbohydrates. A recent study found that drinking alcohol could even aid of healthy weight loss. People who opt for healthier foods at the bars that are higher in protein and less in fried fats, sugars, and carbs, may have more of a benefit than people who don’t drink at all.
In order to help you appreciate vodka just a bit more and see what’s out there other than what you may typically find, StudyFinds set out to find the best bottles. For our research, we visited 10 leading expert websites to see which vodkas were rated the best. Our list is ranked based on the most-recommended bourbons across these sites.
The List: Best Vodka, According To The Experts
1. Absolut Elyx
Absolut may not be the first brand to come to mind, but sure enough, reviewers agree that Absolut Elyx is an excellent choice! Made in a small Swedish town in the southernmost part of the country, it’s nothing short of special and the “luxury” creation by Absolut. The grains are sourced from just one estate and its manually distilled in vintage copper still to create its smooth mouthfeel.
“It’s a beautiful, velvety liquid when it gets to that temperature, then it reveals itself as it warms up…cuts through caviar like a knife; it goes with pickled herring, stinky cheese, charcuterie, foie gras, gravlax—anything cured,” said Tony Abou-Ganim, star bartender and author of “Vodka Distilled” to Liquor.
This is considered one of the best-tasting vodkas, and it doesn’t break the bank! Usually around $40, this vodka is great for sipping on its own or mixing into martinis. It also goes well with cured meats commonly found on charcuterie boards, as well as different cheeses.
GearMoose says Absolut Elyx is “known for its soft flavors of buttery caramel, nutty sweetness, vanilla, and spicy, peppery rye.”
Meanwhile, Parade describes it as an “exceptionally refined vodka that’s crafted entirely at the hand of the Master Distiller—without the use of computers. A very rare vodka-making feat these days.
Though the roots of vodka trace back to Sweden, Russia, and Poland, there’s an ongoing debate on if Russia or Poland were truly the pioneers. Regardless of your thoughts, this Polish vodka follows a 600-year old recipe, and the taste shows its reliability. “Crafted from Dankowskie Gold rye and quadruple distilled, this ultra-premium vodka is the definition of the word “smooth,”” Town and Country writes.
This vodka uses very minimal ingredients and sources its rye from only eight farming partners. This allows the manufacturers to trace exactly where their main ingredient comes from, making it a reliably pure product.
“It’s void of sugar, additives and gluten, and is considered to be the first super-premium vodka in the world. Upon first sip you might detect notes of vanilla, white pepper and spices—or perhaps clotted cream,” Parade writes.
3. Grey Goose
Originating from the world-renowned Cognac region of France, this vodka was one of the first super-premium varieties to ever be on the market. “With its toasty notes and hints of spice combine with a creamy finish, it’s easy to see why it remains a classic,” Town and Country writes.
It has a clean, balanced flavor that keeps people running back to it.
“Made from the finest French ingredients – soft winter wheat and Gensac spring water filtered through Grande Champagne limestone – it’s exceptionally well-balanced with a fresh, herbaceous flavour and a hint of rye,” Esquire writes.
“This French vodka is known for its notes of vanilla, nutty sweetness, and peppery rye. It’s sweet, spicy, and well-suited for slow sipping.” adds GearMoose.
4. Hangar 1
The United States makes some pretty good stuff, too. Distilled in California, Hangar 1 is a unique vodka that’s crafted from wine.
“Distilled from grains and grapes, the aromas of this American vodka instantly recall pear drops. Further bursts of orchard fruit and citrus emerge on the palate, making this an ideal candidate for elevated Lemon Drops,” Vine Pair writes.
The vodka gets its name from its humble origins. First developed in 2002 in an airport hangar, this vodka is still produced at the old Naval Air Station Alameda on San Francisco Bay, though in a newer distillery.
“Hangar 1 is a vodka that will please everyone at the party, from newbies wanting a slightly fruity touch to their Cosmopolitans to seasoned imbibers looking for a rounded floral perfume in their Gibson,” Liquor writes.
This vodka is considered one of the most classic and traditionally-made kinds since it’s mainly made of potato. Though simply distilled, the flavor remains complex in one of the best ways.
“Instead of something you throw into a cocktail with more flavorful ingredients, Chopin vodka is all about bold flavor for true vodka lovers. You can get three different single-ingredient vodkas from the brand—potato, rye, and wheat. The potato is a favorite for its uniquely creamy, full-flavor profile,” Delish writes.
The company is all about distilling with care, setting this bottle apart and making it a thoughtful choice for your freezer.
“Made using young potatoes grown on the Chopin distillery estate, the spirit rests for two years in 50-year-old Polish oak barrels before being bottled by hand. While it shows no color nor influence of wood, the profile is notably harmonious with hints of fruit emerging on the nose and an intense palate that sets up an exceedingly lengthy finish,” Vine Pair writes.
Editor’s Choice: Tito’s Handmade Vodka
“All of the vodkas in this list are fine selections, but Tito’s has long been a go-to for me,” says StudyFinds Editor-in-Chief Steve Fink. “The Austin, Texas-based vodka is smooth, flavorful, and most importantly, since I’m not a huge vodka drinker, I don’t cringe the slightest bit if I’m sipping it straight. Perhaps the best part? It’s not nearly as expensive as some of the ‘designer’ names out there, including some on this list. I guess it’s no surprise that Tito wound up making the perfect vodka: the guy’s last name is ‘Beveridge,’ after all! You can’t make this stuff up!”
You might also be interested in:
- Vine Pair
- Good Housekeeping
- BBC Good Food
- Town and Country
- Luxe Digital
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.
Obviously whoever wrote this knows nothing about vodka. Real vodka drinkers agree Grey Goose is an overpriced tasteless vodka for people who want to pretend to like vodka. None of the vodkas listed get high ratings by true vodka connesiuers.
Fully agree! If Kettle One isn’t in top 5 than the list is garbage.
K1 Martini for me. I think any of the ones listed have their fair share of fans, but any of them are certainly better than the driveway cleaner Titos…🤮
I agree Tito’s is crap. Plus it’s made in Texas why the f*** would you drink anything from Texas
Apparently you have never tasted Ultimat Vodka. There is nothing on your list that compares and I’ve tried almost everything on your list.
Money bags vodka is the best..
Boru beats them all
Hangar 1 is the only one on the list that I would say belongs on a list like this, though I’m partial to their infused vodkas over their straight. If you want a unique straight vodka (that’s not flavorless but doesn’t have added flavors) try Humboldt Distillery. Don’t let the price fool you.
No votes or love for “Titos”? I was a Belvedere drinker for 10 years, then reluctantly gave Titos a try, and was pleasantly surprised.
I would put titos on the top 5 list
Disliked the Belvedere taste from the 1st time I tried it. Try Purity Vodka and Pinnacle Vodka. They are smooth tasting vodka.
Reyka should be NUMBER ONE
I second that, but hard to find.
Titos vodka outsells them all com bined, just saying
Only category Titos wins is best at marketing.
Hahahaha maybe in the US… Titos isn’t that great. It’s got a very unpure taste and has some moonshine flavor profile.
Anyone who knows vodka, knows that some of the best are made in Ukraine.
I got some KHOR from Ukraine and it is wonderful, reasonably priced and I love helping those folks out! Please Boycott Russian products…
Reyka is also very good…
Pop over sells alot also but that doesn’t mean it’s good
Grey Goose shouldn’t be in anybody’s Top 5 (let alone Top 10); it has a natural pepperiness to it that isn’t natural & occurs with their distillation method
Ciröc should get high marks & is the smoothest chilled (non-flavored) vodka; it doesn’t bite back at you & is made from Grapes
I agree that Belvedere, Chopin, & Absolut Elyx mentioned could easily & agreeably make everybody’s Top 10, if not Top 5
This list totally misses ” the best “. Purity 51 should be at the top and its sister Purity34 next!!
Most of the vodka listed are not by any means top 10. I would be curious where you are sourcing your info from. Commercials and sales pitches do not make a fantastic vodka.
Froggy B & Titos
Should dominate the top of the list. They have out performed every vodka on the list. Explore your options. Refuse to drink any vodka with added processed sugars (they add that to smooth out poor quality vodka).
List is terrible!! I am a former wine store owner and OCEAN Vodka is by far the best vodka I have ever tasted!
I was literally about to come here to say that clearly these people have never had Ocean Vodka. By far the smoothest vodka and no hangovers!
Really? Try Ukrainian Staritsky&Levitsky vodka. 10000 bottles per/months. Awarded with silver medal in IWSC 2012
The list looks like it does after studying advertising brochures. I don’t even want to say which one is “the best”. Have you tasted any vodkas? Also, I can’t stress this enough: Gray Goose is absolutely overrated. Overpriced anyway.
Anyone tried Dingle Vodka? AMAZING! Clean and smooth!
I am begging all Vodka lovers to give Ocean Vodka a try. It’s amazingly smooth and I am not at all affiliated, (I wish). I’ve been a vodka drinker my whole adulthood and have tried just about all of them, other than any new ones that have come out. If my liquor store doesn’t have it, then I won’t buy anything. It’s Ocean Vodka or nothing else for me. I don’t even drink vodka out anymore. It completely changed me. And I swear the hangovers are way better or non-existent if you accidentally have too much.
Yes, I love Ocean & planning to visit that distillery next month! If you like Goose try Oui, at a lower price point.
I agree that Ocean Vodka is OUTSTANDING! Made from Organic Sugarcane Juice on the Island of Maui, Hawaii! Maui is also producing PAU (meaning DONE in Hawaiian) it’s Made from Pineapples (Organic, I think) and also delicious…
Zyr hands down is the best
I like Kirkland Imported French vodka.It is smooth enough to sip straight or make a world class Cosmopolitan. I don’t care for Tito’s although their t-shirtthat says “Show Me Your TiTo’s”
is still nice on the bartender
712 Vodka just beat Ciroc, Belvedere, Grey Goose, Kettle One in a unanimous taste test. It’s in South Carolina North Carolina and Georgia. It’s the next big thing, trust me. Blue Ridge Mountain water and made in the Carolina’s. If you haven’t tried it, go get it. Smoothest finish ever.