Everyone loves a good drink and wether you choose to burn your insides up with some certified tramp juice, such as Carlsberg Special Brew or White Lighting, or you hit the town every weekend to create a cocktail of Jagerbombs & cheap Vodka Redbull in your groaning stomach or simply spend your nights in your study room sipping on cognac and smoking fine cubans – we all love a good drink.
Its pretty safe to say that Vodka is the most consumed spirit in the world, from the paint thinner brews flogged for under £5 a litre in your local corner shop to the premium brands that dominate the shelves of the worlds best cocktail bars – its simple, versatile and unique in flavour.
Here at Faux, we love our Vodka (maybe not as much as we love rum, but it’s close) so we saw fit to compile a list of our top 10 Vodkas from the world over.
Number 10. – Absolut
Absolut Vodka is the worlds largest international spirit, available in over 126 countries, they ship over 98 million litres a year. This due in part to their clean swedish branding, a huge variety of flavours and tons of limited edition bottles & sleeves from commissioned artists and in celebration of key events. Flavoured vodka often gets a bad rap, for being gimmicky and a little pointless and some of Absolut’s latest flavours do little to correct that opinion – ‘Berri Acai’ or ‘Wild Tea’ anyone? Didn’t think so. If you venture in the flavoured vodka realm with Absolut, stick to ‘Vanilla’ & ‘Citron’. Overall Absolut have a very solid product, a very clean vodka, with very little aftertaste and little to no burn.
Number 9. – REYKA
Reyka comes from Iceland (the country, duh) and is strictly made with pure spring water and filtered through rocks from a lava field , because according to their in-house science crew – makes it free from impurity. Which in turn echoes the worlds vision of Iceland’s reputation for purity and uniqueness. A clean, crisps vodka that is favoured for cocktails.
Number 8. – Blavod
Often seen as a gimmicky vodka, suitable only for halloween parties or novelty cocktails, Blavod is actually a solid vodka. Marketed as the worlds only true black vodka, it’s certainly unique. The distinct black colouring doesn’t come from tampering after the batch is made, but is part of the distilling process; Blavod uses ‘Catechu’ a herb extract from the root of Acacia trees – it has no effect on the flavour and doesn’t tamper with what is an exceptionally smooth vodka.
Number 7. – Smirnoff
Often branded as a standard vodka, its easy to forget that Smirnoff is a premium product. Maybe not compared to some of the other vodkas on the list, but compare Smirnoff to the likes of Glenns or Red Square and you’ll quickly change your opinion. Also, it brings the opportunity to impart some vodka knowledge, Smirnoff is triple filtered right? So that makes it better? Not necessarily. The more times a vodka has been distilled, the worse quality the base ingredients are. That doesn’t however mean that this makes Smirnoff bad, Belvedere for example is distilled four times, because it comes from rye, which can be very bold and spicy – its about distilling it the appropriate number of times to gain the optimum flavour.
Number 6. – Stolichnaya
Originating from Russia, but now produced in Latvia, Stoli (as its known) is very similar in social stature to Absolut, a premium spirit often used as a house vodka for higher end chains and independents. With less of a focus on banging out flavour after flavour, Stoli is more focused on producing a clean, perfectly balanced vodka.
Number 5. – Grey Goose
You cant talk about vodka without mentioning the most name checked vodka in hip-hop. Produced in France, Grey Goose is the self proclaimed “worlds best tasting vodka”. A fresh and bright vodka, that has natural hints of citrus in the aroma and a slight almond aftertaste – making it a unique drinking experience from the two opposing flavours.
Number 4. – 42 Below
The worlds most awarded vodka. 42 Below was created in New Zealand out of anger that another top name brand was boasting the purity of its vodka & country of origin. Founder Geoff Ross decided to create his own in the country he thought represented purity the best – his country, New Zealand. Little did Geoff know, its nearly impossible to make vodka in NZ. 42 Below is an exceptionally smooth vodka, virtually free from impurity – and its two forays in flavoured vodka are unique – Kiwi & Manuka Honey.
Number 3. – Belvedere
One of the worlds first super-premium vodkas, Belvedere is produced exclusively in the Polish town of Żyrardów. It is truly an exceptional vodka that echoes the strength of Polands 600 year history of vodka production. When we talked about flavoured vodkas before, we weren’t too enthusiastic, but thats because 90% of the flavoured vodka on the market is made by using oils and flavourings post production. Belvedere however use only real fruit and a proprietary process of maceration, that creates unique flavours deeply infused in the vodkas production.
Number 2. – Crystal Head
Crystal Head is most famous for its mythological crystal skull design and its co founder been non other than Dan Ackroyd. But behind the unique bottle and celebrity connections Crystal Head’s distilling process produces an exceptionally smooth vodka. The vodka is quadruple-distilled, triple-filtered through charcoal and finally triple-filtered through Herkimer diamond crystals.
Number 1. – Ketel One
And finally we get to number one, the Faux recommended best vodka in the world. Ketel One in most peoples books is an exceptional vodka, but it maybe wouldn’t be their first choice for number one. In fact, alot of the vodkas on this list would maybe get ranked lower than some of the stuff we didn’t include, such as ultra premium productions like Kauffman Luxury Vintage. But this list is about overall quality, taste, diversity & branding – looking at which brands really influence our vodka drinking.
Ketel One vodka is the epitome of all those qualities. Simple traditional branding, an insanely smooth taste of impeccable quality and a balanced flavour that has made it the favoured vodka of choice for cocktails – as recommended by the esteemed Difford’s Guide. Produced in the Netherlands in small batches, its a product of 300 years of family tradition.
If you want a truly diverse and pure vodka, Ketel One is our recommendation for the worlds finest vodka.