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.
Jean-Marc XO Vodka
97 points
$55
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of coconut flakes, bison grass, anise, grilled sweet corn, vanilla latte, and fruit cup with a satiny, crisp, fruity light-to-medium body and a polished, engaging, breezy finish that exhibits elements of anise cookie, marzipan, and white flowers finish. A playful vodka with a welcoming attitude; exceptionally clean and well-structured.
Awards: 2019 Best Unflavored 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
Absolut Elyx
95 points
$34.99
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of lemon bar, cut grass, and dried orange with a supple, prickly, dry light-to-medium body and a tingling, long finish with elements of olives and powdered sugar finish. A finely textured, luxurious vodka for superb martinis and more.
95 points $34.99
PUR Vodka
94 points
$39.95
Clear color. Aromas of pink peppercorn, cream of wheat, and carnation with a round, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, engaging, medium-long buttery pastry crust and herb focaccia finish. Fantastic texture and a lengthy, evolving palate; enjoy this stunning vodka on the rocks or in carefully crafted martinis.
94 points $39.95
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.
Ketel One Vodka
93 points
$18.99
Best Buy
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of hints of fresh cream, glacial ice, and vanilla pod with a silky, crisp, light body and a tingling, breezy finish manifesting notes of lemon pepper on water cracker finish. A clean, crisp, smooth-sipping vodka for a great martini.
93 points $18.99 Best Buy
Russian Standard Vodka
93 points
$25.71
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of marshmallow, chalk, lemon custard, wax paper, and cream of wheat with a silky, crisp, dry-yet-fruity light body and a smooth, delightful, medium-length finish. A mild and creamy vodka with touches of sweet citrus notes; easy-to-love.
93 points $25.71
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
Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka
93 points
$18.99
Best Buy
Clear color. Aromas of vanilla cream, royal icing, sea salt, and birch with a round, vibrant, light body and a smooth, medium-length sweet rolls, cocoa-dusted yogurt and hint of licorice finish. A round and willing vodka suited to all manner of cocktails; a smooth choice for martinis.
93 points $18.99 Best Buy