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: Tahoe Blue Vodka

By Christopher Null | March 23, 2021 |

“Keep Tahoe Blue” is a common bumper sticker refrain around these parts, as the lake, nestled between California and Nevada, is renowned for its pristine blue water. Tahoe Blue Vodka is a blend of three vodka distillates — 50% from sugarcane, 25% from grapes, and 25% from corn. It’s “made with Tahoe water,” per the…

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Review: Castle & Key Sacred Spring Vodka and Roots of Ruin Gin

By Christopher Null | March 2, 2021 |

Castle & Key’s long road to revival has been years in the making, culminating in the recent arrival of its Restoration Rye and a variety of other special edition gins. Its recent releases also include a pair of white spirits that will be part of C&K’s permanent lineup — one vodka and one gin. Both…

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Review: Snowaters Organic Vodka

By Christopher Null | February 25, 2021 |

Snowaters is a Polish vodka, made from single estate, organic Dankowskie platinum rye, that’s slowly making its way into the U.S. (Expect this to be hard to find for the time being.) Let’s give it a whirl. Old World in construction, this vodka has an innocuous but mildly medicinal nose, with gentle granary notes and…

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Review: E11even Vodka

By Christopher Null | February 19, 2021 |

Never mind the oddity of the name — is it supposed to look like Elleven? — what we’ve got here is not an exploration of numeral-heavy typography but rather “a true Miami spirit,” a vodka born in “Magic City” that bears the name of a 24-hour nightclub that clearly I’ve never been to. Turns out…

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Review: Gatsby Spirits Vodka, Rum, and Cinnamon Whiskey

By Christopher Null | February 17, 2021 |

Based in Waldport, Oregon, Gatsby Spirits is a new operation that is crafting a variety of products (under two separate brand names), including some curious and unusual ingredients. We tasted all three of Gatsby’s offerings. Let’s dig in. Gatsby Spirits The Tides Vodka – Made from a blend of a 4x distilled corn mash and…

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Review: Belvedere Heritage 176 Spirit Drink

By Christopher Null | January 19, 2021 |

Following up on its single estate vodka releases, Belvedere is back with another limited edition, Heritage 176, a vodka blended with malted rye spirit (essentially a white whiskey). What’s the idea? “Heritage 176 delivers a unique taste experience by emphasizing the rye from which Belvedere is made. Using a centuries-old technique of malting, the rye…

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Review: Shady Vodka – Recount 2020 Limited Edition

By Christopher Null | January 16, 2021 |

Ft. Lauderdale’s Shady Distillery makes its spirits using a “blend of old world and new world technique along with the best ingredients,” including a vodka distilled from corn and bottled with no additives or sweeteners. This special “Recount 2020” edition ups the proof from 80 to 81, and features a custom label designed to celebrate…

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Pickers Original Vodka Bottle

Review: Pickers Original Vodka

By Mike Gerrard | January 9, 2021 |

The name Pickers has nothing to do with the American Pickers TV series but is rather a homage to the guitar pickers in the city of Nashville where the Pennington Distilling Company is based. Use of the word ‘original’ also lets you know that they have a small range of flavored vodkas, as well as…

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Review: Finlandia Vodka – Classic, Grapefruit, and Raspberry

By Christopher Null | January 4, 2021 |

Finlandia — which is legitimately made in Finland, distilled from Suomi barley — has been around forever, but the brand got a shakeup a few years ago, such that none of the Finlandia expressions we’ve previously reviewed are still available in the U.S. Today, the States have just three versions of the vodka to experience:…

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Review: Ciroc White Grape and Pineapple Vodka

By Christopher Null | December 28, 2020 |

France’s Ciroc, which distills its vodka from grapes, recently launched two new flavors. Pineapple is part of the permanent lineup, while White Grape is a “limited edition” flavor — although it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. We tried them both, and our thoughts follow as always. Both are 70 proof. Ciroc White…

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