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
Clear color. Aromas of sweet mascarpone, nut brittle, and flint with a satiny, crisp, dry light body and a smooth, buoyant lemon custard and hint of herbs and pepper finish. An outstanding silky-soft vodka for martinis and more.
97 points $49.99
Jean-Marc XO Vodka
97 points
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
Nemiroff Vodka
96 points
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
Russian Standard Platinum Vodka
95 points
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
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
VOLK Vodka
95 points
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
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
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
PUR Vodka
94 points
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
Till American Wheat Vodka
94 points
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