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Ray Foley

Professional Cocktail Expert

Best Vodka & Russian Vodka

Today, there are over 300 vodkas on the market. Since the US standards for vodka are that it must be a pure spirit with no additives except water, and the main characteristic of vodka is that it has no distinctive color, aroma, or taste. This makes it very difficult to rate.

Vodka, a clear, almost flavorless spirit, is usually thought of as the national spirit of Russia and other Slavic countries. Both Russia and Poland claim the invention of vodka and explain that the name is a diminutive of the word "voda" meaning "little water". Slavic countries have been producing vodka for more than 600 years.

Vodka was originally distilled only from potatoes, but today, it's also made from grain, mostly wheat, rye, and corn. But distillers don't seem at all hindered by tradition - in Turkey, they use beets! Vodkas are distilled at a very high proof (190 or higher), and most are filtered through activated charcoal. Certain charcoals are so important to the making of vodka that distillers patent them. High end vodkas are triple- and even quadruple-distilled, and some are filtered through fine quartz sand.

There are zero carbohydrates, zero sodium, and zero sugar in vodka. Hurray for health! Plus only 97 calories in 1 1/2 oz. of 80 proof vodka and 124 calories in 100 proof. Great for those on a diet!

Vodka is very mixable and is used in three of the most popular cocktails: the Screwdriver (Vodka and orange juice), Bloody Mary (Vodka, tomato juice, celery salt, and other ingredients from your or your favorite bartender's recipe), and in the Vodka Martini, shaken not stirred.

Most important in judging any vodka is the vodka NOT the image of the bottle or the advertising. The following vodkas are rated solely on the vodka:

The best vodka is smooth going down. We recommend the right Russian vodka and others, including Smirnoff vodka, Skyy vodka, Stolichnaya vodka and Sobieski vodka that is perfect alone or in mixed drinks.

Best Vodkas by Ray Foley

The Best You Can Get

  • Sobieski (Poland)

    Ray says: Sobieski Vodka, the #1 premium vodka in Poland and the world's #7 bestselling and fastest growing international spirits brand, makes no compromises on quality and exemplifies the height of Polish craftsmanship and authenticity. Building on a noble heritage, Sobieski Vodka is produced exclusively from the revered Dankowski rye at a distillery dating back to 1846, used in high end vodka creating a creamy, smooth finish. A high-end vodka at a great price. Hard to beat - a #1 Vodka.

    • Great price and quality
    • Creamy, smooth finish
    • #1 premium vodka in Poland
    • The world's #7 bestselling spirits brand
  • Smirnoff (USA)

    Ray says: Smirnoff No. 21, triple distilled and ten times filtered through patented charcoal and no flavors added. Still remains on the top for clarity and taste. Always a best seller and one of America's favorite vodkas. It does leave you breathless!

    • One of America's favorite vodkas
    • 10 times filtered through patented charcoal
    • Triple distilled
    • On the top for clarity and taste
  • Teton Glacier (USA)

    Ray says: Teton Glacier Potato Vodka, distilled on a four column continuous still from renowned Idaho Potatoes and Crystal Pure well water from the Rocky Mountains. Crystal and charcoal filtered. One of the best vodkas made from Idaho potatoes.

    • Made from Idaho potatoes and Crystal Pure well water from the Rocky Mountains
    • Crystal and charcoal filtered
  • Ultimat (Poland)

    Ray says: Ultimat Vodka is an ultra-premium Polish vodka created from a blend of wheat, rye, and potato. This handcrafted vodka was recently acquired by The Patrón Spirits Company (makers of Patrón tequila).

    • Made from a blend of wheat, rye, and potato
  • Skyy (USA)

    Ray says: Skyy Vodka is an exceptionally smooth spirit thanks to its four-column distillation process and three-step filtration as well as a proprietary reverse-osmosis process leading to fewer impurities. Skyy's clean taste is born of grain from the heartland of America.

    • Exceptionally smooth
    • Clean taste
    • Made from the grain of America's heartland

You will be happy with any of these

  • Level (Sweden)

    Ray says: Level is the deliciously smooth vodka with hints of fruit and has a clean finish and a natural sweetness. From a selection of all-natural ingredients to the complex alchemy and blending artistry, Level is achieved by a proprietary combination of continuous and batch distillation, inspired by the spirit of Absolut.

    • Smooth with hints of fruit
    • Has a clean finish and a natural sweetness
  • Belvedere (Poland)

    Ray says: Belvedere is the world's first and original luxury vodka. It is named after the Belvedere Palace in Warsaw, former home to Polish royalty and government dignitaries. The term "Belvedere" means "beautiful to see". Belvedere vodka is produced from 100% Dankowski Gold Rye, a rye that is cultivated in Poland, distilled an optimal four times in proprietary copper column stills at Polmos Zyrardow, the birthplace of Vodka.

    • Made from 100% (Polish) Dankowski Gold Rye
    • The world's first and original luxury vodka
  • Stolichnaya Elit (Russia)

    Ray says: Stolichnaya Elit is distilled four times, mixed with pure spring water and then filtered using a patented freeze filtration process, which echoes the age-old Russian tradition of pouring vodka into wooden barrels kept outdoors in the icy Russian cold. This significantly improves its quality by causing some contents to freeze inside of the barrel, leaving only the best and most delectable vodka unfrozen in the center.

    • Distilled four times
    • Mixed with pure spring water
    • Uses a patented freeze filtration process
  • Absolut (Sweden)

    Ray says: Absolut is derived from the original recipe for vodka using all-natural ingredients and pure well water from Sweden. Absolut adheres to the most stringent standards with its continuous distillation process ensuring a smooth finish that stands the test of time. Absolut embodies the true taste of vodka and smoothness.

    • Uses all-natural ingredients and pure Swedish well water
    • Embodies the true taste of vodka and smoothness
    • Continuous distillation process
  • 360 Eco Luxury Vodka (USA)

    Ray says: 360 Eco Luxury Vodka, the vodka in every bottle of 360 is quadruple distilled through a highly energy efficient process, with every bushel of grain being fully utilized and nothing going to waste. 360 is also five times filtered and produced at a facility that has improved its eco-footprint measurably over the past five years with a new high tech still. A great example for all and a great vodka - sip and save the planet!

    • Quadruple distilled
    • 5 times filtered
    • Made from grain
    • Improved eco-footprint at production facility

Related Articles

Rate the best vodka on taste, not the hype. We suggest Russian vodka, Polish vodka, Swedish vodka and of course U.S. vodka that is fabulous to sip alone or combine to flavor your mixed drink. Always the best price, Smirnoff vodka, Skyy vodka, Stolichnaya vodka and Sobieski vodka are just some of the best of the best.