five shot glasses with handles of vodka on wooden bar

Best Vodka Brands: From Classics to Newcomers

Without a single doubt, vodka is one of the most popular spirits in the world. Perhaps the simplicity and versatility of vodka is the reason for its popularity. You can drink it neat or mix it with anything to create all kinds of mixed drinks and cocktails.

Although vodka doesn’t have a distinct taste, not all are the same. Otherwise, you’d be paying for the bottle rather than what’s in it. As with other drinks, the best vodka is subjective. You’ll need to try vodkas from different brands to find the right one for your preferences.

However, knowing a few of the superior choices will give you a head start in finding the best vodka. Our article will guide you through these options. Read to the end to know the best vodka brands, plus tips on choosing your vodka like an expert.

What You Need to Know About Vodka

Vodka’s popularity arises from its simple nature. It blends with any mixer to create a tasty drink. You don’t need to buy a high-end vodka in most cases if you’re going to make cocktails. You shouldn’t spend more than $40 for a 750ml bottle – any fair-quality bottle will do just fine.

While many prefer using vodka as a base for cocktails, you can also drink it neat. For these vodkas, you’ll need to spend a little more to get a good-quality shot. The smoothness, how it goes down, and the purity are all important factors to consider when buying vodka to drink straight.

These should give you a few points to add to your notes when out and about to find an appropriate vodka for your liking. Here’s more to the characteristics of vodka that will help you find the best one.

Vodka: An Overview

Vodka is a clear, distilled spirit characterized by its colorless, odorless, and tasteless nature. It’s one of the most basic alcoholic beverages made from ethanol and water. Traditionally, vodka is made from grains and potatoes, but many modern distilleries still use fermented corn, wheat, and other grains, as well as honey, maple, and sugar cane.

Although it isn’t perceived as a classic drink on its own, vodka is the basis for many elegant cocktails, like Black Russian and Bloody Mary. Another cocktail to mention should be the martini, as vodka is also an excellent gin substitute.

There isn’t a specific way to drink vodka. You can drink it neat or mix it with your favorite juice or soda. Espresso, tonic water, and ginger beer are also just as ideal. If these aren’t your thing and you want to appreciate vodka on its own, you can also dilute it with water or ice. Plus, some of the best flavored vodkas can help you elevate your next drink.

How to Choose the Best Vodka?

To find the best vodka, you’ll need to experiment with different brands to find the right one for your taste. One way to put different vodkas to the test is using your nose.

Pour half a shot of vodka from different brands and add about 50% water. This will ensure your nose doesn’t burn due to the high alcohol content, and you smell all the aroma. You can then test each one and see which is more appealing. 

Usually, the one with the most pleasant smell will taste the best for you. If you prefer diluting vodka with a mixer, consider flavored vodkas infused with fruits, fresh herbs, and spices. These vodkas can make a good choice for those who find neat vodka too harsh to the throat.

If you experience burning when you drink vodka straight, it’s likely you haven’t tried a smooth enough vodka yet. A good-quality vodka shouldn’t give a burning sensation or leave a harsh aftertaste. Those who prefer drinking vodka neat should put smoothness and purity above everything. 

Check how many times the vodka has been filtered to get a sense of its smoothness. Generally, the more vodka is filtered, the smoother it is, which will leave any questions about unwanted burns to the throat and tongue.

What Does Vodka Cost?

The cost of vodka depends on several factors, including the country of origin, brand image, and quality. However, you shouldn’t expect a wide range of vodka prices as spirits like whiskey and Cognac. Even the mid-range options for these spirits often cost around the same as luxury vodkas.

Overall, vodka is an inexpensive liquor thanks to its affordable production process. You can find a 750ml bottle for anywhere between $10 and $120, though there are premium options that cost significantly more.

Where Can You Buy Vodka?

Vodka’s popularity makes it a staple everywhere you can buy alcoholic beverages. You will find it everywhere, from liquor stores and grocery stores around the corner to bars and restaurants in your area. The appeal and popularity of this spirit make it a must-have anywhere alcohol is sold.

You can also discover other vodkas from our shop, ranging from top-quality Russian vodkas to American varieties with various flavors.

The Best Vodkas

Below, you’ll discover the top five vodka brands. We’ve included various options, including classic vodkas and flavored options, to help you find the best vodka – cheers!

NEFT Vodka Black Barrel

  • MSRP: $52.99
  • Proof: 80 proof / 40% ABV
  • Tasting Notes: Peppery, Sweet Caramel, Lemongrass, Vanilla,
  • Our Rating: 5 Stars

Awarded the Best Vodka at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, NEFT Vodka Black Barrel strikes us with its unique packaging at first glance. However, it isn’t the type of vodka you pay for the package, though it offers more than looks, keeping vodka chilled for up to six hours.

This vodka hints at traditional vodka making and only uses quality ingredients without extra flavors or additives. NEFT Vodka is smooth with an elegant mouthfeel distilled in Austria using spring water from the Alps and non-GMO rye grains.

While the quality ingredients make NEFT Vodka one of the best vodkas for drinking straight and making various cocktails, it has yet to gain traction in the US. You may have a hard time coming across it in your local liquor store.


  • Smooth taste with high viscosity, perfect for drinking neat
  • Hints of sweet caramel and vanilla make it perfect for cocktails
  • Visually appealing packaging that keeps vodka chilled


  • Not widely available as popular vodkas

Finlandia Classic Vodka

bottle of finlandia vodka
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 MSRP: $17.99

  • Proof: 80 proof / 40% ABV
  • Tasting Notes: Clean Taste, Toasty Nuts, Grainy, Peppery
  • Our Rating: 4.5 Stars

Finlandia Classic Vodka is widely available around the world. Since its introduction in 1970, Finlandia has been enjoyed by vodka enthusiasts in more than 135 countries, making it one of the most well-known vodka brands. For many, it is the definition of a classic vodka.

Made from pure glacier spring water and Finnish barley, Finlandia Classic Vodka is smooth, easy to drink, and versatile enough to combine with various mixers to create cocktails. Considering how much it costs, it’s one of the best vodkas you can get your hands on for its price range.

Overall, Finlandia Classic Vodka is an excellent choice for those looking for something simple. You can use it as a base for anything that calls for a shot of vodka or drink it neat.


  • A well-recognized vodka with proven quality
  • Smooth vodka with high viscosity – perfect for shots


  • Doesn’t have the cleanest taste
  • Not the best for those looking for more flavor

OYO Honey Vanilla Bean Vodka

  • MSRP: $38.99
  • Proof: 80 proof / 40% ABV
  • Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Fruit Compote, Marshmallow, Wildflower, Honeycomb
  • Our Rating: 4.5 Stars

Coming from the Ohio-based Middle West Spirits, the OYO Honey Vanilla Bean Vodka is yet another sweet vodka – but with a more delicate taste. This vodka uses the Middle West Spirits’ flagship unfiltered American Character Vodka as a base and sources local wildflower honey and raw vanilla beans to create this delicacy.

Every sip of this vodka hints at different notes, from honeycomb and fruit compote to vanilla and marshmallow. This complexity makes it an excellent vodka for those who enjoy vodka slowly to appreciate every sip. 

As with other vanilla vodkas, the OYO Honey Vanilla Bean Vodka appeals to a specific group of vodka enjoyers. It clearly won’t be a good choice if you’re not so fond of these types of vodkas.


  • Offers complex flavors in every sip
  • Made from ethically sourced natural ingredients
  • Award-winning vodka – Gold Medal winner at the National Honey Board Spirits Competition


  • Not a versatile vodka you can mix with everything
  • A little more expensive than other vanilla vodkas

Au Vodka Black Grape

  • MSRP: $41.99
  • Proof: 70.4 proof / 35.2% ABV
  • Tasting Notes: Slight Earthiness, Sweet, Wine-like, Fruity
  • Our Rating: 4 Stars

Au Vodka is clearly on its way to becoming one of the most popular vodka brands in the US. The brand has a wide variety of vodkas, but the Black Grape in its collection gets special attention – and for a good reason.

When drunk on its own, the British black grapes convince you of the natural flavors with freshness coming from natural spring water. Although it’s a flavored vodka, on the rocks isn’t the only way to enjoy Black Grape from Au Vodka. It pairs well with citrusy drinks, such as lemonade and orange juice. You can also add it to cocktails for extra flavor.

As with other flavored vodkas, the calories can add up quickly. Drinking in moderation is the key to preventing unwanted weight gain.


  • Versatile vodka you can enjoy in various ways
  • Smooth with a natural fruity taste


Florida Cane Vodka

  • MSRP: $31.99
  • Proof: 80 proof / 40% ABV
  • Tasting Notes: Soft, Hints of Anise and Molasses, Natural Sweetness, Slight Floral
  • Our Rating: 4 Stars

Distilled at the Saint Augustine Distillery, the Florida Cane Vodka is for those looking for a hint of sweetness in their vodka. What makes this vodka special is it gets its sweet taste from natural ingredients, using only 100% Florida-grown sugar cane. It makes Florida Cane Vodka an excellent choice for those looking for a tasty vodka.

The soft taste with a round mouthfeel of this vodka is excellent for those who enjoy vodka neat but find classical options too harsh. Likewise, this quality makes the Florida Cane Vodka ideal for making cocktails and mixed drinks.

These are all good to hear, but the Florida Cane Vodka has a few cons. If you’re looking for a more neutral taste, the sweetness of this vodka may not be for you. Some may also find its taste too complex with the floral and sweet aromas together.


  • Ideal for drinking straight and mixing
  • Natural sweetness gives each shot a unique feeling
  • Affordable price point for the quality


  • Some may find it too complex
  • Not for those looking for a more neutral vodka

Finding the Best Vodka for Your Liking

vodka being poured in five shot glasses on full bar

Vodka is one of the most popular spirits in the world, let alone in the United States. You’ll find a wide range of vodkas, with new products constantly hitting the shelves. Among all these, finding an appropriate vodka for your preferences is undoubtedly going to be difficult.

Luckily, our article listed some of the best vodkas in the market. Consider everything we’ve mentioned in the earlier part to find the best vodka for your preferences. A nose test goes a long way in finding the right vodka for yourself, whether drinking it neat or diluting it with a mixer.

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