Vodka is becoming a highly diverse spirit these days. Traditional vodka has always been incredibly neutral – as was the goal for so long. Whether you were sipping it straight or adding it to cocktails, you wanted a nice clean nose and crisp taste, but no real flavors. This works well especially in cocktails where you want the other flavors to shine.
However, many distilleries are creating vodkas with more depth and flavor these days – and customers are loving it. Whether sweet or savory, many of these vodkas have become staple sippers or popular on the rocks. At the end of the day, we need some of both. Good cocktails will always call for neutral vodka and every flavorful expression has a fanbase. There is one thing they all have in common though: the smoother the better.
Especially if you’re sipping it over ice or enjoying it neat, you don’t want icky flavors hitting your tongue and you certainly don’t want that burn on the way down. The best smooth vodka is one that’s been properly distilled not only enough times, but also through the right equipment. Even in a cocktail, you’ll be able to taste if your vodka is low-quality and often, the burn will still appear.
If texture and taste are what you’re after, these are some of the smoothest bottles of vodka out there, meant for you to enjoy with little to no additives.
The Best Smooth Vodka
1. Absolut Elyx
Absolut is a big name in the world of vodka and they have lots to offer. From fun flavors to neutral expressions, they’ve got a vodka for just about everything. Absolut Elyx is among their more premium expressions and is perfect for sipping thanks to its incredibly smooth feel and delightful profile.
The entire process for this vodka is completed within a 15-mile radius, meaning everything is close to home and well-monitored for quality and consistency. The soft winter wheat is grown on a single estate and it’s distilled in a vintage 1921 copper still. The still is operated only by a select few to whom the knowledge and expertise have been passed from previous generations. Though old, it’s a unique still with many copper surfaces within, offering additional clarity to the vodka that passes through.
It’s clean and pure on the nose with aromas of fresh bread, cereal, white chocolate, and mellowed spice. The palate is full-bodied and exceptionally smooth with notes of macadamia nuts, white chocolate, and cereal with buttery undertones. The finish is gentle and warming with subtle spice and nuttiness.
2. Purity Vodka Signature 34
Purity Vodka Signature 34 lives up to its name without question – it’s pure, crisp, and beautifully smooth as a result of an expert process. It’s received over 150 awards through the years at many international competitions. This includes a Gold Medal at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in 2017, and a whopping 97 points from the Ultimate Spirits Challenge who named it “Best Vodka,” also in 2017.
Created by well-known Master Blender Thomas Kuuttanen, this vodka is distilled an impressive 34 times. He says he finds this to be the “magic number” that creates the perfect cut of vodka. Not only that, but he combines different distillation techniques and employs traditional craftsmanship to create a spirit that is truly unique and diverse with a smooth flavor and no burn on the finish.
The aroma is bright and lively with grassy notes of citrus, white chocolate, and a touch of pepper. The palate is wonderfully smooth and creamy with notes of nuttiness, vanilla, and a rich minerality. The finish is dry, lingering, and quite pleasant.
3. Belvedere Smogory Forest
Belvedere Smogory Forest is a single estate rye vodka that’s crafted with the rare Diamond Dankowsie rye, grown on a single estate. The Polmos Distillery was founded in 1910, carrying on the Polish tradition of vodka for many decades. Belvedere’s wonderful and premium expressions are the result of all these years of knowledge and experience.
Belvedere, which means “beautiful to see” gets its name from The Belweder Palace in Warsaw, the image of which is proudly displayed on every bottle. This is meant to pay homage to the brand’s Polish heritage. The profile on this vodka is just as rare and delightful as the rye itself – offering a smooth sipping experience like no other.
The nose is intense with aromas of toasted rye, caramel, and sea air. The palate follows with rich and mellow notes of salted caramel, cereal, and subtle honey. Following this are notes of toasted bread, fudge, and white pepper. It has a rich mouthfeel and a long sweet and salty finish with notes of baked bread, caramel, and sea salt.
4. JCB Vodka
JCB vodka exudes luxury from the very first moment you lay eyes on the bottle. With a beautiful, shiny crystal-like appearance and delicate gold detailing, it looks like it tastes good. It’s not just a facade, though, the vodka inside is something you’ll never forget.
It’s made in France and distilled from only the finest, sustainably grown pinot noir grapes. The grapes are handpicked, de-stemmed, and fermented for over 20 days in open-top French Oak vats. The resulting liquid is then barrel-aged for another six months. Also included in the recipe are Chardonnay grapes that receive the same careful treatment and six months of aging. It’s a vodka made to be enjoyed by experts and connoisseurs, though anyone who takes a sip will no doubt be impressed.
The aroma is fresh and crisp but fairly neutral, setting you up perfectly for the much more exciting palate, where you’ll find fruity notes similar to an eau-de-vie. The finish is long, lingering, and even more interesting with notes of charcoal, cinnamon, and more fruit.
5. Death’s Door Vodka
Death’s Door Vodka is an expression with flavor and substance – not something you can say about too many vodkas out there. They’re trying to break the mold with this one and create a vodka that is still crisp, clean, and smooth, but not striving for maximum neutrality like many others.
The result of these efforts is a bold and invigorating vodka. It’s made from the same three grains that make up the distillery’s popular gin, which accounts for some of its more complex flavors. It’s also double-distilled and expertly hand-cut, contributing even more to its smooth, rich profile.
The aroma is fresh, pure, and slightly sweet with notes of vanilla, cream soda, and mild pepper. The palate offers flavors of winter spice, vanilla, and honeycomb with a creamy mouthfeel. They strive to create the perfect balance between sweet and spicy and the result is about as tasty as they come. The finish offers faint notes of vanilla, toasted, almond, and just a touch of anise.
Premium Vodka Cocktails
The range of cocktails just for vodka is huge, with some needing only two ingredients and some requiring many different things to make the flavors work. Sometimes, though, less is more, especially when it comes to your high-quality, premium vodka expressions. While cocktails are made to be flavorful, you don’t want to completely drown out the taste and depth of good, smooth vodka.
Try some of these easy, lean vodka cocktails to really let your vodka shine!
This one combines the sweet floral notes of rose with the balancing citrus of lemon – and nothing more. These two flavors come together beautifully and with the right vodka, your drink will be divine. Choose something light and subtle that lines up with the flavors in the drink for best results.
- 1 ounce vodka
- 0.5 ounce pure, unsweetened rose water
- 1.5 ounce sparkling lemon-flavored water
- A pinch of honey to taste
- Dried roses for garnish
- Add everything except the sparkling water to a glass with ice and stir well.
- Top with soda.
- Garnish with your roses and enjoy!
*A dash of cranberry juice or hibiscus extract won’t alter the flavor much but will add a nice rosy color. This is a good idea if you’re serving the drink at a party and want a nice presentation!
This one is a combination of warm, sweet, and spicy that perfectly complements the fall weather. Mix this one up on a chilly evening or share it with friends as you warm your hands and feet around a campfire.
- 1.5 ounce vodka
- 1.5 ounce sour apple liqueur
- A splash of angostura bitters
- 4 ounces chilled ginger beer
- Apple slices to garnish
- Add the bitters, liqueur, and vodka to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well.
- Strain into a highball glass filled with ice.
- Top with ginger beer and add 1-3 apple slices to the glass to garnish, if desired.
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