Vodka goes in and out of fashion, but not its popularity with drinkers. It remains the biggest-selling spirit in the U.S, and even the Scots drink more vodka than whisky. In the U.S., according to the Code of Federal Regulations, vodka is defined as “neutral spirits so distilled, or so treated after distillation with charcoal or other materials, as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color.” Nevertheless, there are subtle differences between vodka made from potatoes and from grain, for example, two of the most common base products for distilling into vodka. (In recent years, a wide variety of other bases have been used to make vodka.) Infused vodka has usually been infused with natural products (e.g. real lemons), while flavored vodka can mean it contains either natural or artificial flavorings. Rules regarding the acceptable strength of vodka differ slightly around the world. Within the European Union, vodkas can be bottled at as low as 75 proof, while in most countries outside the European Union, and in the U.S., vodka must be at least 80 proof.

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Review: Hope Town Vodka and Lime Vodka

By Christopher Null | June 23, 2022 |

Hope Town Vodka is made in North Charleston, South Carolina by the folks who brought you Walker’s Cay Bourbon, which is to say, Steven Busch. This one is actually made in SC, not sourced from elsewhere, which is as it should be for an unaged spirit. Distilled six times. A straight vodka and, oddly, one…

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Review: Tommyrotter Vodka, Gin, and Bourbon (2022)

By Christopher Null | June 20, 2022 |

We last encountered Buffalo’s minimalist Tommyrotter in 2019. It doesn’t look like a ton has changed in the last three years, except for the brand’s whiskey lineup. The old American Whiskey is gone, a new Bourbon is in its place. We’ve got fresh tastings on the white spirits and a first look at the bourbon…

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Review: 6 Shochus of Honkaku Spirits

By Christopher Null | June 15, 2022 |

Christopher Pellegrini is trying to do for Japanese shochu what Ron Cooper did with mezcal. The American ex-pat and author of The Shochu Handbook is seeking to “connect the world with artisanal, koji-fermented spirits of Japan.” Honkaku’s portfolio includes koji whiskey, shochu, and aged awamori from 22 family-run distilleries established between 1745 and 1947. We received…

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Review: Skyy Vodka (2022)

By Christopher Null | June 3, 2022 |

Skyy Vodka made a huge splash when it arrived on the scene in 1992, a high-end vodka made in San Francisco (and in an iconic blue bottle) at a time when it was thought that the only good vodkas came from Europe or beyond. Now owned by Campari, Skyy recently underwent a reformulation, likely in…

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Review: Lucky Fly Vodka

By Christopher Null | May 15, 2022 |

Another Swiss vodka, we know only that Lucky Fly Vodka (though the bottle looks more like simply “Fly Vodka”) is “distilled from grain.” No other production information is available. Another clean if somewhat anonymous vodka, the nose is gently industrial with a modicum of earthiness to it. A light sweetness endures on a moderately creamy…

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Review: Fire & Ice Vodka Original

By Christopher Null | May 4, 2022 |

This Swiss vodka is made from organic wheat and is proofed with local water, yet it hits the shelf for $20 a bottle or less. To be sure, there’s not a hell of a lot to it. The nose is clean but moderately medicinal and lightly earthy, with notes of Band-Aids mixing with hints of…

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Review: Finlandia Botanical Vodkas – Cucumber & Mint and Wildberry & Rose

By Christopher Null | March 16, 2022 |

We haven’t written anything about Finlandia since it launched its Fusion flavored line — over a decade ago. Now, like every vodka maker under the sun, it’s back with a new approach to flavored vodka, offering two infused vodkas that contain no artificial flavors, sweeteners, or sugars. These don’t claim to be “all natural” infusions…

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Review: One Eight Distilling District Made Ivy City Gin (2022) and District Made Vodka

By Drew Beard | February 11, 2022 |

We’ve covered plenty of whiskeys from Washington, D.C.’s One Eight Distillery over the years, but their earliest spirits, like most craft operations, were of the clear variety. We never got around to their vodka, and although we explored Ivy City Gin in its early days, it has apparently seen some tweaking recently. Let’s tie up…

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Spirits Trends for 2022: An Interview with Moët Hennessy’s Allison Varone

By Drew Beard | February 9, 2022 |

2022 is shaping up to be an unusual year for the spirits industry. “Learn to live with the pandemic” has become a frequent, optimistic refrain, but what does it mean for an industry that saw many of its customers completely change their drinking habits over the last two years? Never mind the welcome return to…

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Review: Broken Shed Vodka (2022)

By Christopher Null | January 12, 2022 |

It’s been 10 long years since our last (and initial) look at Broken Shed Vodka, a spirit made in New Zealand and distilled four times from whey. What’s changed since 2012? If my tasting notes are any judge, not a lot. The vodka has a distinct sweetness on the nose which evokes sweet cream, giving it…

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