Vodka

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: Industrious Spirit Company Ostreida Oyster Vodka

By Christopher Null | June 20, 2023 |

I’ve long known how well oysters and vodka go together, but I’ve always had them served separately. Until now… The Industrious Spirit Company’s (ISCO) Ostreida is vodka made in Rhode Island, with oysters used as part of the distillation process. Officially “a spirit made with oysters,” it’s made from scratch with a 100% corn distillate…

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Review: Zakuska Vodka

By Christopher Null | May 14, 2023 |

Zakuska Vodka was pitched to me as “a simple, no-B.S. vodka served as a chilled shot.” No flavors, no gimmicks. It launched only in 2022, and despite the Baltic-sounding name, it’s actually made in Columbus, Ohio, distilled from red winter wheat and corn, and bottled — noticeably — unfiltered, rendering it slightly translucent. The label’s…

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Review: Snowdrop Vodka

By Christopher Null | May 12, 2023 |

Our prior outing with Vermont’s Saxtons River Distillery saw us reviewing the operation’s top shelf Perc Coffee Liqueur, way back in 2014. Now we’re back with less exotic fare: A vodka made from a corn-based mash that’s put through a vacuum distillation process before bottling. A portion of the proceeds from sales are earmarked to…

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Review: Linden Leaf Organic Molecular Vodka and Gin

By Christopher Null | March 12, 2023 |

“Molecular” always scares me when I see it on a spirits product, as it usually implies “chemicals” instead of actual craftsmanship. With Linden Leaf, “molecular” appears to mean something a bit different, as the company was founded by three Cambridge, UK-based scientists who are creating “spirits on a molecular level, actually using their science background…

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Review: Kastra Elion Vodka

By Christopher Null | February 20, 2023 |

Kastra Elion is a “premium sipping vodka” made from Greek olives (“and grains”). While produced in Greece, it’s bottled in El Segundo, California. (Update: The brand informs us that bottling has now moved to Greece as well.) The white ceramic bottle, accented with blue paint, makes for a great alternative to the usual etched/frosted glass you’ll…

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Review: Black Infusions Vodkas – Gold Apricot, Dark Cherry, and Black Fig

By Christopher Null | December 20, 2022 |

Black Infusions is based in Bend, Oregon, and their focus is singular: Making fruit-infused vodkas that are free of artificial colors, sugars, and flavors. Each vodka has just two ingredients, vodka and the fruit noted on the label — in this case, apricot, cherry, or fig. Given the depth of color of the spirits, those…

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A Guided Tour of Shochu from Honkaku Spirits

By Christopher Null | December 7, 2022 |

Christopher Pellegrini is my go-to expert on shochu. He’s lived in Japan for 20 years, has written a book about the spirit, and recently started a company, Honkaku Spirits, to export the stuff to the U.S. As Pellegrini noted during a recent, lively Zoom tasting from Japan, where we tasted 8 of his company’s products,…

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Drinkhacker’s 2022 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

By Christopher Null | November 24, 2022 |

When they said Covid was over, we didn’t think we’d be summarily dropped into a new financial crisis to replace the one we just got out of. The good news is that the holidays have arrived just in time to provide a welcome (if brief) break from yet another year of chaos. At Drinkhacker, we…

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Review: St. George Green Chile Vodka

By Christopher Null | September 26, 2022 |

Chile-flavored vodka is typically described as usable only for Bloody Mary cocktails. And that is basically something I agree with. What else have I ever used pepper-infused vodka for? St. George’s expression of pepper vodka isn’t shy. Infused with California jalapenos, habaneros, serranos, and bell peppers, there is no shortage of capsaicin to go around…

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Review: Heritage Distilling Elk Rider Vodka and Flavored Vodkas – Lavender, Huckleberry, and Coffee

By Drew Beard | August 13, 2022 |

Washington-based craft distillery Heritage Distilling is perhaps best known for their Brown Sugar Bourbon, which appears to have been sold off and become something of celebrity label after entertainer Jamie Foxx made an unspecified investment in the brand in 2021. We reviewed that original expression, along with four whiskeys and a gin, more than five…

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