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: Prairie Organic Vodka

By Christopher Null | July 29, 2008 |

Like you, when I think “vodka,” I immediately think “Minnesota.” Wait, what? Shocking, but it’s true: One of the best vodkas going right now is from the Land of 10,000 Lakes, right here in the U. S. of A. Strange, sure, but like Tito and Boomerang have proven, good vodka need not come from frozen,…

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Review: Belvedere Vodka

By Christopher Null | July 23, 2008 |

Any vodka named after a lovable TV butler can’t be bad. Alas, Belvedere, a Polish vodka distilled from rye and one of the older guards of the super-premium vodka space, isn’t entirely the hit that its namesake (OK, not really) was. There’s strong vanilla on the nose of the 80-proof spirit, but the taste is…

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At Last, Someone Has Bottled the Flavor of Smog

By Christopher Null | July 22, 2008 |

Finishing up my last day of a long trip to the California wine country (full report to follow later this week), but this came across the wire today and it was too good not to post: “ABSOLUT Vodka Puts a Spotlight on Los Angeles with New Limited-Edition, City-Inspired Flavor” Absolut New Orleans debuted last year,…

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Review: Karlsson’s Gold Vodka

By Christopher Null | July 13, 2008 |

With its squat bottle reminiscent of those they sell iced tea in and an almost gaudy black-and-gold label (yeah, that’s a golden potato instead of an O), Karlsson’s Gold Vodka won’t be easily missed in a sea of etched-label, oversized bottles of the stuff. But Karlsson’s isn’t bottom-shelf swill. Created by Börje Karlsson, the “Father…

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Review: Tru Organic Vodka Lineup (2008)

By Christopher Null | July 7, 2008 |

Organic spirits continue to swing as a trend: Tru was the first USDA-certified organic brand of vodka in the U.S. Made by Modern Spirits (now known as Greenbar Distillery) in Monrovia, California, these high-end spirits don’t just pay lip service to social consciousness. The bottle uses 25% less glass, the label’s made from corn fiber…

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Review: Ciroc Vodka

By Christopher Null | July 5, 2008 |

Diddy knows what’s up. Ciroc (or more properly Cîroc) is a high-end vodka, one of the earlier grape-based vodkas, and now that Puff Daddy is behind it as a promoter, it’s probably sky’s-the-limit for the brand. This French vodka is not just made from grapes but from “snap frost” grapes, which (I guess) means the…

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Review: Brave Spirits Rum, Vodka, Whiskey, Gin

By Christopher Null | July 4, 2008 |

Want to celebrate Independence Day? Well, you can go to a parade, eat a hot dog, light some fireworks, or drink one of these liquors from Brave Spirits, four bottles designed specifically with “soldiers, marines, airmen, police officers, and firefighters” in mind. Presumably you can drink them even if you are not one of these…

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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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