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: Crystal Head Vodka

By Christopher Null | November 1, 2008 |

Not familiar with Crystal Head, which has been a boozing sensation for weeks now? Watch this… then continue reading the review. So there you go. This is vodka placed in a bottle that is shaped in the form of one of the infamous crystal skulls, which have become far better known now that they…

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Review: Triple Eight Vodkas

By Christopher Null | October 28, 2008 |

I’d never seen it until recently, but Triple Eight vodka, with its distinctive three eight balls on the label, has been around since 2001. This vodka is an odd combination of organic corn from Holland (they grow corn in Holland!?) and water drawn from a well in Nantucket, where it is distilled. Mainly available on…

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Review: Square One Cucumber Vodka

By Christopher Null | October 25, 2008 |

Ever since declaring the Celery Cup my favorite cocktail at this year’s Slow Food Nation event, I’ve been itching to recreate it. But the lonely sample-size bottle of Square One Cucumber Vodka the company sent couldn’t motivate me to break open the shaker. The recipe’s convolutions also seemed overwhelming. So much easier just to break…

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Review: Ruskova Select Vodka

By Christopher Null | October 23, 2008 |

Here’s the sell: Authentic Russian vodka, distilled six times, ten bucks a bottle. Though I can’t find it near me for less than $11, Ruskova is an amazing deal. The company is trying to sell the spirit as a premium product at a bare-bones price, and it’s true. This is a very clean vodka that’s…

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Review: Oval Vodka

By Christopher Null | October 18, 2008 |

It takes guts to name your vodka after a shape. This 84-proof spirit hails from Austria, where it is distilled from wheat using a patented process that makes it, per the company, “the only structured vodka worldwide.” My understanding of this “structuring” system is limited, but Oval says it’s an entirely new way of making…

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Review: Skyy Infusions Vodka – Citrus, Raspberry, Grape, and Cherry

By Christopher Null | October 9, 2008 |

Skyy is a big player in the flavored vodka market and is unique for its dedication to only using natural flavors in its concoctions. After raving about its passion fruit version, I tasted four of its classic, more versatile flavors to get a better feel for the line. All are 70 proof. Some thoughts follow.…

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Review: Vampyre Vodka and Vampyre Red Vodka

By Christopher Null | October 8, 2008 |

Surely anything called Vampyre Vodka can’t be very good, right? Anything that preys on a pop culture joke like the undead, I mean, can’t be a serious spirit, can it? Vampyre Vodka even comes in a blood red edition — and if you need me to explain the gag to you, you are reading the…

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Review: 2 Rooz Vodka

By Christopher Null | October 1, 2008 |

To call the label of 2 Rooz Vodka cartoonish would be an understatement: It really is a cartoon, and it really does have two kangaroos on it. The label of this Australian vodka proudly notes that it is “neutral vodka,” and that’s somewhat helpful: This is a flavorful spirit, with vanilla, cinnamon, and some light…

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Review: Xellent Vodka

By Christopher Null | September 18, 2008 |

Did you know: It was illegal to distill vodka in Switzerland until 1999? A vestige of World War II, when it was felt inappropriate to turn grain, in short supply, into booze instead of bread. (Though, if I had my druthers, I know what I’d give up.) Xellent was the first — and so far…

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Dr. Dre’s Sparkling Vodka Invites Smackdown

By Christopher Null | September 17, 2008 |

It’s like east coast vs. west coast all over again. From O2 Sparkling Vodka‘s press release: O2 Sparkling Vodka, patented in 2003 after over 2 years of research and development, has been a top seller in Europe since 2002 and launched in the USA in January 2008 with great success. Dr. Dre has recently announced…

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