Vod­kas to Im­press

Wow your f avorite vodka f an with these t op- of- the- line bot t lings.


Top shelf vod­kas to try now

VODKA IS A FUNNY SPIRIT. UN­LIKE AROMATIC-FOR­WARD GIN OR SMOKY MEZCAL, BY DEF­I­NI­TION, VODKA I S de­signed to sort of dis­ap­pear ; the l egal clas­si­fi­ca­tion for the cat­e­gor y re­quires that it be odor­less and col­or­less.

For some, that's enough to give the spirit an em­peror- has- no- clothes vibe. Even as vodka went on rock­et­ing as­cent in the sec­ond half of the l ast cen­tury to be­come Amer­ica's fa­vorite spirit, the re­cent craft cock­tail re­nais­sance i s rife with sto­ries of neo- speakeasies that stopped cus­tomers from or­der­ing vodka by not carr ying it at all , steer­ing would- be drinkers to gin in­stead.

But true be­liev­ers swear that there's more to the spirit than just fancy pack­ag­ing. And af­ter years of tout­ing the dis­til­la­tion and f i ltra­tion process, vodka l abels are put a spot­light on ter­roir and the ma­te­ri­als that form the base spirit.

Vodka can be made from al­most any­thing— grains, fruits, veg­eta­bles— and a side- by- side com­par­a­tive taste test can re­veal the sub­tle dif fer­ences. Some guide­posts: wheat tends to make for a mel­low, smooth vodka, for in­stance, while r ye can add a note of spice. Grapes or other fruit might point to a more f lo­ral style. A base of potatoes skews to­ward earthy notes.

We rounded up a few bot­tles that make for ex­cel­lent home­work, should you be in­ter­ested in suss­ing out your fa­vorite char­ac­teri stics. Bonus: these also work well as su­per lux gifts for your fa­vorite vodka fans.


This ul­tra- luxe of fer­ing from Stoli i s made from sin­gle- es­tate wheat and r ye from the brand's Rus­sian prop­erty, which i s then dis­tilled three times, blended with Lat­vian wa­ter, and f i lt ered through

quartz and char­coal. The r ye adds a spicy bite to the mel­low wheat mix. And if this bot­tling res­onates with you, con­sider tr ying the brand's lim­ited- edi­tion splurgy spin- of fs that are made with wa­ter from the Hi­malayas and the An­des.


Made in Slo­vakia from or­ganic win­ter wheat that has been dis­tilled seven times, this vodka has re­ceived raves from top crit­ics, in­clud­ing Wine En­thu­si­ast and the San Fran­cisco World Spir­its Com­pe­ti­tion. For your fa­vorite vodka- lover, the metal lid on the French cr ys­tal bot­tle can be en­graved.


Start­ing with a base of bar­ley malt spirit, this Siberian vodka also con­tains in­gre­di­ents such as honey and oat extract, which con­trib­ute to its mel­low, rich f l avor. For a splurge, the same com­pany of fers the Gold Line edi­tion , which i s rested for 90 days.


This Pol­ish vodka will make you think about ter­roir. Made with young red As­terix potatoes grown near the Baltic Coast, the 2013 vin­tage has a spicy dr y f in­ish . Check out the Kaszebe bot­tling, made with Vineta potatoes, or the blended vodka, made with a mix of potatoes, to see how the base ma­te­rial, and the spe­cific grow­ing con­di­tions from each vin­tage, can af fect the f inal taste.


Don't be dis­tracted by the strik­ing skull- shaped bot­tle or the fact that ac­tor Dan Aykroyd i s the founder— this New­found­land vodka, made by master dis­tiller Phil Power, i s se­ri­ous busi­ness. Made from Cana­dian corn, the spirit gets dis­tilled four times and f i lt ered seven times for smooth f in­ish with just a hint of bite. ( And that eye- catch­ing bot­tle makes for a fun gift, too.). Credit: Adapted with per­mis­sion from Th e Es­sen­tial

Bar Book, by Jen­nifer Fiedler, copy­right 2014. Pub­lished by Ten Speed Press, a divi­sion of Ran­dom House LLC.

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