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

elit Vodka
97 points
$49
Clear color. Clean aromas and flavors of ice, lemon zest in cream, hints of rice milk, and Cream of Wheat with a velvety, crisp, dryish light body and a smooth, medium-length finish with notes of elegant white pepper and acacia. A smooth, clean Vodka that exudes luxury.
Awards: 2021 Best Vodka
Russian Standard Platinum Vodka
95 points
$30.35
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of corn silk and fresh grass with a supple, bright, dry light body and a warming, brisk finish. A highly neutral vodka that offers an easy-sipping experience; a clean canvas to color with creative cocktail ingredients.
95 points $30.35
Beattie’s Distillers Sweet Potato Vodka Batch 8
94 points
$17
Best Buy
Clear color. Aromas of butternut squash, sweet potato, and cracked peppercorns with a supple, bright, dryish light body and a smooth, interesting, medium-length hints of vanilla, sweet almond, caramelized veggies, and marshmallow finish. A tasty, savory Vodka for creative cocktails and autumnal vibes.
94 points $17 Best Buy
Archipelago Lava Rock Vodka
93 points
$15
Best Buy
Clear color. Aromas of soft white bread and sweet corn with a round, crisp, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, brisk hints of sweet stone fruit and lemon pepper finish. A round and undulating vodka that’s perfect for martinis.
93 points $15 Best Buy
Russian Standard Vodka
93 points
$22
Best Buy
Clear color. Creamy, minerally aromas and flavors of wet pavement, creme anglaise, and toasted almond with a silky, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a subtle, very long finish manifesting impressions of dried papaya and pear in cream, fine wheat flour and pastry dough, and wet stone. A superbly balanced, subtle and elegant, neutral vodka that will excel in any application.
93 points $22 Best Buy
Dirty Devil Vodka
93 points
$27
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of cumin seed, anise, rye crisps, and creme fraiche with a round, vibrant, dry medium body and a peppery, intriguing, long finish that presents touches of spicy ginger. A spicy, grain-centric vodka with robust, pure flavor.
Purity Connoisseur 51 Reserve Organic Vodka
93 points
$30
Clear color. Confected aromas of iced tea, spumoni, and ruby red grapefruit with a supple, crisp, dry light body and a peppery, medium-length white pepper and buttered corn bread finish. A sweet nose and peppery palate make this a solid option for fruity cocktails. Try this silky-smooth stunner in Cosmos, Vespers, Martinis and beyond.
Pristine Vodka
93 points
$27
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of zested lime, hints of ginger, and lemon grass with a supple, bright, dry light body and a brisk finish. A super fresh vodka with hints of citrus; a rock-solid go-to for cocktails or sipping on the rocks.
Nova Vodka Vodka
93 points
$39
Clear color. Clean aromas and flavors of marshmallow, hints of fresh cut grass, and orange with a supple, soft, dry light body and a tingling, medium-long finish that presents notes of cream. A clean and crisp vodka with an elegant style; great for any vodka cocktail, shots or sipping on the rocks.
Member’s Mark Vodka
93 points
$13.98
Best Buy
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of powdered sugar, lemon tea, dried herbs, and hint of black licorice with a satiny, crisp, dryish light body and an even, brisk finish that exhibits overtones of fresh cream finish. A rich, smooth vodka perfect for sipping chilled neat, on the rocks, or in an extra-dry martini.
93 points $13.98 Best Buy