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: 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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Review: Swan’s Neck Vodka

By Christopher Null | April 28, 2008 |

More proof to my theory that grapes make the best base for vodka arrives in the form of Swan’s Neck Vodka, an artisan spirit from French grapes distilled in copper pots and named for part of the alembic still used to make it. Swan’s Neck is a very sedate vodka, smooth and silky, offering flavors…

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Review: Grey Goose Vodka (2008)

By Christopher Null | April 26, 2008 |

It’s easy to see why Grey Goose has become one of the most successful new liquor brands in recent years. This is a fantastic vodka, smooth and lightly sweet, with a nutty nose and aftertaste that works well in cocktails and adds an interesting complexity when served straight. Grey Goose is very mild, quite neutral…

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Original Recipe: Nilla Wafer

By Christopher Null | April 25, 2008 |

Once again, it’s dessert drink time at Drinkhacker. This one’s inspired by the eponymous cookie. Nilla Wafer 1 1/2 oz. vodka 1/2 oz. white chocolate liqueur (I use Godiva White) 1/2 oz. Navan vanilla liqueur 1/4 oz. Damiana liqueur (a Mexican herbal liqueur) Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker and strain into a cocktail…

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Review: O2 Sparkling Vodka

By Christopher Null | April 25, 2008 |

Yeah, you read that right: Vodka, sparkling. The idea of carbonated vodka is either genius or stupid. I mean, you can pour your vodka into a little soda and it’s got plenty of carbonation right there, doesn’t it? Well, maybe you don’t want soda… maybe you just want sparkling vodka. Great idea! I think. Those…

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Review: 3 Vodka

By Christopher Null | April 15, 2008 |

Get ready for this. 3 is the world’s only soybean vodka. And by “soybean vodka” I mean “vodka that’s made from soybeans.” No, really. If you were to ask me what a soybean vodka might taste like, I’d probably come up with something like this: A meaty spirit with strong overtones of bitter herbal liqueurs…

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