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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Classic Recipe: The Vesper

By Christopher Null | July 1, 2008 |

In 1953, Ian Fleming wrote Casino Royale, and had James Bond invent his own drink, which he called the Vesper, after a character in the book. The drink made a new appearance in the previous Bond movie of the same name, with Daniel Craig rapid-firing the recipe to a waiter so quickly I’m amazed he…

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Recipe: Triple Espresso Martini

By Christopher Null | June 26, 2008 |

Not my creation, but good enough to warrant re-publishing here. Triple Espresso Martini 1 1/2 oz. Three Olives Triple Shot Espresso Vodka 1 oz. coconut rum (Malibu) 1/2 oz. Amaretto Shake rum and amaretto with ice, strain into a martini glass. Shake vodka with ice and layer into the glass on top. The recipe suggests…

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Review: Three Olives Root Beer Vodka and Triple Shot Espresso Vodka

By Christopher Null | June 26, 2008 |

Yes. Root beer. Vodka. Root beer vodka. One product. Not a joke. Three Olives now has a whopping 15 vodka flavors, so like the folks at Cruzan, coming up with something new to expand the line takes some work. This is a company, after all, that already has mango and watermelon vodkas, so what’s next.…

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Review: Trump Vodka

By Christopher Null | June 25, 2008 |

A certain high-profile executive would happily offer that Trump Vodka is the best vodka ever made. 200 times better than Grey Goose. At least. It’s right there on the bottle: “Trump: The World’s Finest Super Premium Vodka.” Apparently there was no additional room for “Duper” on the label. Such hyperbole has become synonymous with the…

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Review: Van Gogh Flavored Vodkas, 2008 Releases

By Christopher Null | June 2, 2008 |

Maybe if Vincent Van Gogh had had vodka like this he wouldn’t have had to cut off his ear. Van Gogh makes a standard vodka, but it’s best known for its flavored offerings (it currently has 17 of them, plus a gin). The company recently sent a pack of five sample-size bottles for me to…

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Review: Absolut 100 Vodka

By Christopher Null | May 29, 2008 |

With its black label and silver cap, Absolut 100 is an ominous spirit to face down, which probably explains why it’s been sitting on my kitchen counter for three weeks: It scares me. 100 proof of pure vodka, this is a higher-test version of the Absolut that everyone knows so well. Absolut’s characteristic heat is…

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Review: Skyy Infusions Passion Fruit Vodka

By Christopher Null | May 23, 2008 |

Did you know: Skyy is the #4 vodka brand in the U.S.? I always thought Skyy was a west coast thing (they’re based here in S.F.), but I guess they’re really a powerhouse in the biz. With products like this one, it’s easy to see why. Passion fruit, as flavors go, is invariably a big…

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Review: Stolichnaya Stoli Blakberi Flavored Vodka

By Christopher Null | May 18, 2008 |

In the pantheon of fruit, blackberry’s a pretty uncommon flavor, relegated to the wasteland somewhere between blueberry and plum. Is it a little odd then that Stoli’s latest infused creation used blackberry for its sweetness? Not at all, as it adds a unique spin to summer cocktails that you’re unlikely to get anywhere else. As…

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Review: Cirrus Vodka

By Christopher Null | May 8, 2008 |

With its sun-and-cloud logo and baby blue color scheme, what would you expect from the 80-proof Cirrus Vodka? Something light, summery, perhaps partly cloudy even. Well you can’t judge a book by its cover nor a vodka by its bottle: Cirrus is serious stuff, heavy duty vodka that, if I didn’t know it was from…

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Review: Rain Vodka

By Christopher Null | May 7, 2008 |

Another entry into the organic spirits universe, Rain (a product of Kentucky’s Buffalo Trace Distillery) is a widely available vodka that few will have trouble finding on store shelves. Pull that eye-catching blue stopper from the raindrop-shaped bottle and a sweet, perfumy aroma fills the air. Rain’s odor gave me much promise, but the taste…

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