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.

Top Vodka Posts:

Grey Goose VX Vodka
Ketel One Vodka
Russian Standard Vodka

Original Recipe: The Mac|Life Cocktail

By Christopher Null | April 11, 2008 |

Today I wrapped up two months of filling in as the interim editor-in-chief of Mac|Life magazine. Fun times, and some really good people there (click the thumbnail to see the staff in all its glory). To celebrate the completion of our June issue and go out with a bang, I created this cocktail specifically for…

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Review: Russian Standard (Original) Vodka

By Christopher Null | April 7, 2008 |

Does price matter? Russian Standard offers an “original” version of its vodka in addition to a “Platinum” bottling and its vaunted “Imperia,” which I’ve previously reviewed. All are made in basically the same way, with a few differences, namely in the filtration systems they employ. But Russian Standard “Original” is just $22 a bottle, while…

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Review: Zyr Vodka

By Christopher Null | April 5, 2008 |

How Russian is Zyr Vodka? There’s a picture of the Kremlin on the bottle, that’s how. Distilled from Russian rye and wheat (“made from the rich black soil of Russia’s heartland”) and created with water drawn from deep in Russia’s aquifers, the only way this could be more Russian is if the ghost of Lenin…

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Original Recipe: The iPhone Martini

By Christopher Null | April 4, 2008 |

Here’s the recipe that launched this blog, reprinted here from Wired, just for kicks and the sake of completeness. The Appletini, iPhone Edition (aka The iPhonetini, The iPhone Martini) 2 oz. vodka 1/2 oz. Apple Pucker Schnapps 1/2 oz. Goldschlager 1/4 oz. Cointreau (or Triple Sec) Combine in a shaker with ice. Shake well and…

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Original Recipe: The Downtown Casino

By Christopher Null | April 4, 2008 |

Here’s a spin on the Casino recipe that I love so much, adding St. Germain (which I also love so much) to give it an extra dimension of taste. The Downtown Casino 2 oz. vodka 1/2 oz. Maraschino liqueur 1/2 oz. St. Germain liqueur 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice Shake all the ingredients with ice…

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Review: Ketel One Vodka (2008)

By Christopher Null | April 2, 2008 |

Mad props to Ketel One. This brand is pretty much singlehandedly responsible for introducing ultrapremium vodka into the market, and it’s still going strong today. Made in The Netherlands from wheat, the 80-proof spirit is very traditional on the whole, and not in a bad way. The taste is clean, lightly citrusy and tinged with…

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Review: Ocean Vodka (2008)

By Christopher Null | March 29, 2008 |

Hawaiian vodka? Sure, why not? While you may be expecting a pineapple- or coconut-flavored spirit in Ocean, bottled on Maui (the first vodka ever bottled there), it’s actually a surprisingly supple, unflavored vodka, lightly sweet and incredibly smooth. In fact, it’s one of the smoothest vodkas I’ve sampled in recent memory, fine straight or as…

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Review: 42 Below Vodka

By Christopher Null | March 26, 2008 |

What, is it sweet vodka week at 42 Below is New Zealand’s entry into the vodka world (the name refers to the latitude of the distillery), a sweetish spirit thrice distilled from “GE Free” wheat and “washed in spring water” until it hits 84 proof, then distilled once more. The result is a more…

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Review: Level Vodka

By Christopher Null | March 24, 2008 |

People who say there’s no difference among vodka brands should be directed posthaste to Level. It’s a gut-punching vodka, in a way you might not expect. Level (a product of the Absolut folks in Sweden, distilled from grain at 80 proof), is immediately pungent upon opening the bottle, strong and thick when served from the…

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Review: Chopin Vodka

By Christopher Null | March 21, 2008 |

You’re a famous 19th century composer. What are the odds that someone is going to take your good name and turn it into a vodka 150 years later? Well, someone did: Polmos Siedlce and Millennium Import, of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The connection is Poland, where Chopin lived and vodka was (allegedly) born. Chopin is a traditional…

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