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: Hollywood Oasis Vodka

By Christopher Null | August 2, 2020 |

Technically Hollywood Distillery Oasis Unfiltered Vodka, but likely to become known more by the giant “Hollywood” on the bottle vs. the tiny “Oasis,” this new spirit is unique in that it is distilled not from wheat, potatoes, or even wine grapes but — drum roll — organic Medjool dates. Outfit with an ultra-premium price and…

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Review: Headwind Vodka

By Christopher Null | June 25, 2020 |

Formally “Headwind Craft FWD Vodka,” this spirit hails from Portland, Oregon, where a “high-quality, gluten-free, corn-based grain is six times distilled and filtered through Pacific Northwest timber.” A thin label made of birch wood, bearing batch and bottle number, reinforces the lumberjack connection. Do outdoorsy types drink vodka? The nose presents itself as a fairly…

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Review: Quarantine Vodka

By Christopher Null | June 22, 2020 |

Our friends at Flaviar and Caskers are known for their limited edition whiskey, rum, and even brandy releases, and with Quarantine, the company is moving into the vodkaverse. It’s made in San Diego and distilled six times, but otherwise details are scant. If you want to get down to it, the most distinctive aspect of…

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Review: Ciroc Summer Watermelon Vodka

By Mike Gerrard | June 20, 2020 |

Ciroc has been making a play for the tropical fruit vodka market, with an enjoyable Mango Vodka and now a re-release of its Summer Watermelon vodka. Calling it a Limited Edition maybe adds a little cachet to what could otherwise be just another flavored vodka, but it does mean that when it’s gone, it’s gone……

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Review: Plume & Petal Lemon Drift Vodka

By Christopher Null | June 9, 2020 |

Bacardi’s newest brand is a line of flavored vodkas, a “collection of premium low-ABV vodkas infused with natural artisanal flavors, created to address the real-life demands of modern women.” I’m no modern woman, but I get the spa inspiration behind Plume & Petal, which includes a cucumber version, one made with peaches, and the lemon-infused…

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Review: Slapjack Jackfruit Flavored Vodka

By Christopher Null | May 7, 2020 |

Hey, I know I’ve eaten jackfruit before, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it tastes like. The monstrous green fruit, when cleaned and shredded, has a texture remarkably similar to pulled pork, and you’re most likely to encounter it as a base for vegan barbecue. Slathered in spices and sauce, the…

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Review: D. George Benham’s Vodka (2020)

By Christopher Null | March 28, 2020 |

Three years ago, Sonoma’s Graton Distilling released a kitschy “vodka-flavored vodka” as its entry into the category. The product never saw national release, however, and recently Graton relaunched its vodka, billing it without the “Vodka Vodka” name. The product has not just been rebranded, it’s also been reformulated — though it is still a blend…

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Review: TOPO Vodka, Wheat Whiskey, and Spiced Rum (2020)

By Drew Beard | March 16, 2020 |

We tasted the clear spirits of Top of the Hill Distillery (TOPO), including their white whiskey, way back in 2013. The Chapel Hill, North Carolina-based distillery has been hard at work tweaking, adding new products, and barrel-aging their whiskey since then, so we thought we would check in on their latest offerings. TOPO is one…

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Review: McClintock Distilling Epiphany Vodka and Forager Gin

By Drew Beard | February 25, 2020 |

McClintock Distilling can be found in Frederick, Maryland, north of Washington, D.C. One of the younger craft distilleries, they only just began to distill in 2017 inside a historic, warehouse space on Frederick’s downtown riverwalk. Their initial portfolio, not surprisingly, focused on clear spirits with an emphasis on the quality of their ingredients. As one…

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Review: Cathead Pecan Flavored Vodka

By Christopher Null | February 20, 2020 |

The folks at Cathead (nee Bottletree Beverage Company) don’t just make bourbon and gin, they also make vodka — both straight and flavored. Today we look at the company’s most unique flavored vodka expression: Pecan. Let’s give it a try. The nose is initially mild and lightly astringent with classic vodka notes, but it quickly…

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