About Unflavored Vodka

About Unflavored Vodka
Unflavored vodka is defined in the US as a "neutral" spirit devoid of color, aroma, and taste, however, the finest unflavored vodkas are served neat and do have a subtle taste, sometimes of the base grain or ingredient, citrus or even anise. But most vodkas are used for cocktails, often mixed with fruit juice (cranberry juice for Cosmopolitans or orange juice for Screwdrivers.), tonic, or soda for the ubiquitous bar-hopper favorite Vodka & Soda. To which craft bartenders these days like to say, "vodka pays the bills."

Unflavored vodka is made by fermenting and then distilling the simple sugars from a mash of pale grain or vegetal matter. Vodka is produced from grain, potatoes, molasses, beets, and a variety of other plants. Rye and wheat are the classic grains for Vodka, with most of the best Russian Vodkas being made from wheat while in Poland they are mostly made from a rye mash. Swedish and Baltic distillers are partial to wheat mashes. Potatoes are looked down on by Russian distillers, but are held in high esteem by some of their Polish counterparts. Molasses, a sticky, sweet residue from sugar production, is widely used for inexpensive, mass-produced brands of Vodka. American distillers use the full range of base ingredients, but most are made from the abundant supply of corn from the US heartland.

Top Picks for Unflavored Vodka

Nemiroff Vodka
96 points
$17.99
Best Buy
Clear color. Aromas of wild lemon, mineral water, and underripe cherry with a round, vibrant, dry light body and an effortless, medium-length black pepper and creamy potato finish. A skillfully crafted vodka with extraordinary smoothness and excellent mouthfeel; martini-worthy.
96 points $17.99 Best Buy
Dutchcraft Vodka
96 points
$14.99
Best Buy
Clear color. Clean aromas of electrical charge, porcelain, and rainwater with a velvety, vibrant, bone-dry light-to-medium body and a warming, medium-long underripe pineapple, whipped cream, mint jelly, and dried strawberries finish. A clean, nuanced and graceful vodka that hits the spot.
96 points $14.99 Best Buy
FASHION VODKA Luxury Collection
96 points
$31.99
Clear color. Muted aromas of grain, nuts, and citrus pastry with a supple, soft, dryish light-to-medium body and a warming, interesting, medium-long chalk, cream, fig bread, and pepper finish. A great combination of precision and liveliness.
96 points $31.99
VOLK Vodka
95 points
$17.99
Best Buy
Clear color. Aromas of talc, salt, and white pepper with a round, crisp, dryish light-to-medium body and a tingling, delightful, long mineral water and lemon gelee finish. An extremely clean and refreshing vodka for stately martini’s, rocks pours, or any manner of cocktail.
95 points $17.99 Best Buy
Nemiroff LEX Vodka
95 points
$20
Best Buy
Clear color. Aromas of tuberose, italian lemons, lime peel, and underripe pear with a silky, vibrant, dryish light body and a tingling, carefree thin mint cookies, sea salt, and raw almond finish. A clean, sophisticated vodka.
95 points $20 Best Buy
Fire Oak Vodka
95 points
$22.99
Best Buy
Clear color. Aromas of fresh cotton balls, sea salt, and cassia bark with a satiny, bright, bone-dry light-to-medium body and a warming, breezy licorice, allspice, tomato pomace, and mocha milkshake finish. A savory spice-flecked, creamy vodka that will do wonders for your bloody mary game.
95 points $22.99 Best Buy
Stalinskaya Silver Filtered Vodka
94 points
$12
Best Buy
Clear color. Aromas of fresh cotton and fondant bon bon with a velvety, vibrant, dryish light-to-medium body and a tingling, medium-long spring water, silica, and lemon pepper finish. An incredibly neutral vodka with classic style and appeal.
94 points $12 Best Buy
Till American Wheat Vodka
94 points
$24.99
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of ethanol, limestone, lemon oil, and fresh papaya with a velvety, crisp, dryish light body and a smooth, breezy finish. An uplifting, smooth, fantastically clean vodka for impressive martinis.
94 points $24.99
Czar’s Original Vodka
94 points
$19
Best Buy
Clear color. Clean aromas of expressed lemon oil, dried leaves, cucumber seeds, and shredded wheat in milk with a creamy, soft, dry medium body and an effortless, stimulating, medium-length papaya, vanilla coffee creamer, sugared figs, and ginger and ginseng gum finish. The perfectly creamy flavors in this vodka show what vodka should be.
94 points $19 Best Buy
Straw Boys Irish Vodka
94 points
$19.99
Best Buy
Clear color. Aromas of gravel, bamboo, tap water, and birch beer with a soft, crisp, bone-dry light body and a tingling, interesting, medium-long orange peels, anise, white tea, and menthol finish. Crisp, clean vodka full of sophisticated nuance.
94 points $19.99 Best Buy