Our Best Vodkas for Mixing the Tastiest Cocktails
Aptly named from the Russian word “voda” which means water, vodka in fact weighs about 50 grams less than water. A shot of the clear liquid comes in at about 90 calories, whereas 12 ounces of beer is close to 150 calories. Want some more vodka facts? You may not know it, but there are various types of vodka, including plain, fruit, flavored and grain. We’ve included these below in our list of the best vodkas for mixing tasty cocktails (yes, we’ve got the recipes, too!)
Best Vodka #1: Reyka Small Batch Vodka
Reyka, Iceland’s first distillery, is located in the coastal village of Borgarnes, 74 km outside of Reykjavik. It’s surrounded by lovely, untouched nature completely outside of industrial life and the pollution that comes with it. In fact, the air is so clean in Borgarnes that CO2 levels are actually decreasing.
To share a bit of this natural bliss, the distillery’s small-batch, wheat grain vodka is made from the surrounding Icelandic waters and ancient lava rocks. The vodka is distilled in a copper pot still, by hand, into one 250-case batch at a time at 80 proof.
On the nose, you’ll notice a light citrus zest and clean grain spice. Tasting notes include vegetal bitterness, followed by sweet lemon and lime balsam and white fruit pith, then grain spice and a bit of mint.
If you’re an experienced vodka drinker, we think you’ll love this one, though it may not be the best choice as an intro to the spirit. It goes wonderfully in a martini (recipe below) or a dry vodka-tonic.
Cocktail: Vodka Martini
In a cocktail mixing glass, combine 3 ounces of vodka and 1 ounce of dry vermouth. Fill the glass with ice and stir until chilled. Strain the drink into a chilled martini glass, then garnish with 3 olives on a toothpick or a twist of lemon.
Best Vodka #2: Hangar 1 Straight American Vodka
To avoid the harshness of some subpar vodkas and get the quality depth of stellar vodkas, the folks at Hangar 1 made a plan. They used the best ingredients and worked with specialized growers to procure the ripest fruit for their Straight American Vodka. Made using pot stills, it contains grapes blended with grains from the Midwest for a truly interesting spirit with the best balance and slight fruitiness.
You’ll taste a sweet, thick and somewhat oily consistency that’s somewhat creamy, too. The alcohol warms as it goes down, unlike that strong burn that many other vodkas deliver.
We love how versatile this particular spirit is — mild enough for those getting their feet wet in the vodka world, while solid enough for anyone looking for body and flavor in their drink.
Cocktail: Vodka Gimlet
To a cocktail shaker, add 2 ounces vodka, 1-ounce lime juice, and a quarter-ounce simple syrup or maple syrup. Fill shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Then, strain into a martini or coupe glass and fill with soda water (optional). Add your favorite fruit or a lime wheel as garnish.
Best Vodka #3: Devore Spirits Mary White Vodka
Mary White Premium Belgian Vodka is named in honor of Mary White, the uncrowned Queen of Bootleggers. Only the finest grains are used and carefully distilled in this special spirit. Specific amounts of malted barley are included to give this vodka its distinct flavor of stout character and deep tang. It tastes and smells creamy, peppery and slightly lemony.
This is a very neutral and clean spirit with nice, subtle flavors, perfect for mixing into your favorite cocktail. Maybe it’s the Moscow Mule...
Cocktail: Moscow Mule
To a copper mug or glass, add 2 ounces of vodka, a half-ounce of fresh lime juice and 4 ounces of ginger beer. Fill with ice and garnish with a slice of lime.
Best Vodka #4: Spirit Works Distillery Vodka
Every batch of Sonoma County's Spirit Works Distillery Vodka is handcrafted from Californian organic red winter wheat. The process means you get a smooth, somewhat sweet, unique and tasty character from that wheat in every glass, which we absolutely love.
This vodka has an exceptionally clean, creamy character and smooth, dry finish, thanks to the rare 21-plate column used for distillation to at least 190 proof. It smells of vanilla, caramel and freshly baked bread. You’ll taste sweet notes of vanilla and caramel French pastry along with whole grain, followed by cashew, citrus and yet even more caramel.
Cocktail: White Russian
To a lowball glass, add 1 ounce of Kahlua or other coffee liqueur and 2 ounces of vodka. Fill the glass with ice, and add 1 ounce of heavy cream on top. Stir until chilled and once you get a swirled effect.
The aristocratic origins and idyllic quality of Beluga Noble Russian Vodka has made the quality spirit world-famous. We love this vodka for the very precise and intentional quality production and ingredients that go into it.
The Mariinsk Distillery is an industry leader established in 1900 Siberia — one of the most environmentally clean parts of Russia. They produce the vodka with:
- Advanced quality control and equipment at every production stage,
- Pure, clean water from Siberian artesian wells, adding to the quality taste, and
- A sitting period of 45 days, bringing a delicate quality to the final product.
This whole process gives you a fresh, light aroma, a distinct smoothness, a slight sweetness, and a fresh, charcoal and wheaty aftertaste.
Cocktail: Bloody Mary
Note: this recipe makes 4 servings.
To a large cocktail shaker, add 2 cups of chilled tomato juice (shake before pouring), a quarter-cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 teaspoons each of Worcestershire sauce and horseradish, half a teaspoon each of Tabasco hot sauce and celery salt, and a pinch of pepper. Shake well and strain into a 1-quart mason jar or small pitcher.
If you can, chill for at least 1 hour (or overnight, ideally) so the flavors combine well. Otherwise, you can serve immediately. Place a mix of half-celery salt and half-kosher salt onto a plate. Cut a notch in a wedge of lemon and run it over the glass rim. Then, dip the rim’s edge into the salt.
To each glass, add 2 ounces of vodka (pre-chilled, if possible) and a half-cup of the Bloody Mary mix. Combine by stirring gently. Finally, add ice to fill each glass and garnish with a celery stalk, lemon wedge, olive, and cocktail onion. Enjoy!
There you have it — our 5 best vodkas for the best mixed drinks. Give them a try by ordering through our bottle shop or joining our vodka club, then roll up your sleeves and get mixing.