Vodka

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: Clear Creek Vodka

By Christopher Null | October 3, 2019 |

Hood River, Oregon-based Clear Creek Distillery is best known for its numerous brandies and liqueurs (and a lone single malt), and now it also makes vodka, the first addition to the company’s portfolio in nearly 10 years. Clear Creek Vodka is 100 percent distilled from apples grown in the Pacific Northwest. It is proofed with…

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Review: Iichiko Saiten Shochu

By Christopher Null | September 24, 2019 |

Shochu continues to make slow inroads into the U.S. market, and to further those aims, Iichiko, the leading barley shochu brand in Japan and the one which American drinkers are most likely to be familiar, has released a new expression: Saiten. The unusual concept is that Saiten was designed specifically with the U.S. palate in…

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Review: Tommyrotter Vodka, Gin, American Whiskey, and Aged Gin

By Christopher Null | August 29, 2019 |

I’m not in love with the name “Tommyrotter,” but the proprietors of this Buffalo, NY-based craft operation remind us that the name refers to the Tommyrotters’ Club, “a band of rebellious artisans in the early 20th century who broke rank from the Arts and Crafts Movement to pursue their individual truths and create for creation’s…

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Review: Burwood Vodka, Gin, Honey Eau de Vie, and Medica Honey Liqueur

By Christopher Null | July 26, 2019 |

Alberta, Canada-based Burwood focuses on using local ingredients and “old world craftsmanship” to make white spirits — vodka and gin, mainly — and a wide range of liqueurs which it continues to expand at a rate of one new release each quarter. Today we look at four of the core products from the company, two…

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Review: Bently Heritage Source One Vodka and Juniper Grove American Dry Gin

By Christopher Null | July 23, 2019 |

Bently Heritage is a new distillery in Nevada, admirably doing just about everything on site. The operation grows and harvests its own winter rye, wheat, oats, and barley, malts its grains in-house on its own malting floor — a practice you almost never hear about today — and uses its own Sierra Nevada-sourced well water…

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Review: Solod Alpine Crystal and Bavarian Dark Vodka

By Christopher Null | July 5, 2019 |

Solod is a new vodka brand from the Ukraine, and it comes in two expressions, both built around (and arguably flavored with) malted barley. It’s really weird stuff (stay tuned) but, given the price point, something that might be quite appealing to cost-conscious shoppers. I don’t have a lot of data on exactly how these vodkas…

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Review: Infuse Spirits Grapefruit Vodka

By Christopher Null | June 24, 2019 |

We originally encountered Infuse back in 2014 and 2015, when the company was just a producer of flavored vodkas, distinguished by its inclusion of copious amounts of solid botanicals like long lemon peels and dried peach slices placed directly in the bottle. Since then, just about everything about Infuse has changed. The company has a…

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Review: American Anthem Vodka

By Christopher Null | June 12, 2019 |

Diageo’s latest vodka is American Anthem, and with this spirit, the company says it will donate $1 for each bottle produced to support military personnel and families. The spirit is 5-times distilled but other production details are undisclosed, including any data about the base for the distillate. All told, this is a fairly modern vodka,…

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Review: Dingle Vodka, Gin, and Irish Whiskey Batch 3

By Christopher Null | June 8, 2019 |

In case you missed it, distilling is huge in Ireland now, thanks to the unexpectedly heavy demand for Irish whiskey that has been building over the last decade. Part of this new vanguard is the Dingle Distillery, which opened in 2012 in in Kerry, Ireland. Dingle doesn’t just make whiskey, it also makes vodka and…

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Review: Haku Japanese Vodka

By Christopher Null | June 6, 2019 |

Hot on the heels of Roku Gin comes Suntory’s stab at vodka, Haku. “Made under the philosophy of monozukuri craftmanship and representing the nature and spirit of Japan, this premium craft vodka is made from 100% Japanese white rice. In a process completely unique to Suntory, the rice distillate is filtered through bamboo charcoal, which…

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