aristocrat and taaka. when i can find those, i prefer chopin.
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Debowa - Polish Oak Tree Vodka (very exquisit taste - think, Johnny Walker Blue Label. Silky smooth.)
Chopin if low on Belvedere.
Zubrowka - Bison Grass flavored Vodka (If you try Debowa Vodka and liked it, try this one as well)
.....and remember to keep your shot glasses frozen as well as your vodka.
.... enjoy sampling new stuff but stay away from the steering wheel.
Several years ago when all the currently trendy 'boutique' vodkas came around a friend who managed a restaurant poured every vodka he had on ice and six of us tasted them all blindly. 5/6 chose Kettle one, with the beer drinker choosing Smirnoff. I still stock Kettle one in my home, though I must agree with Ghosthouse, Lukasawa is a great vodka, and it is dirt cheap.
I am fond of Grey Goose. And while we are in the vicinity, so to speak, Plymouth gin is very pleasant. The New York Times published a study some time ago, and they maintained that Plymouth (made in Plymouth, England) is the best gin for martinis. I trust New York Times reviews more that I trust Stereophile reviews.
Stoli elit and Jewel of Russia Ultra are both worth trying, but extremely expensive. Believe it or not, Tito's (texas) is extremely good as well, well worth trying (I always have a bottle in my freezer). Since restaurants carry none of the above, my preference is Kettle One.
And in fairness to Popov...it's as good as stoli elite in a bloody mary or a screwdriver :) I keep a bottle of whatever interesting is on sale...most recently, I've been using three olives in mixed drinks because they had a great deal going.
Austrian potato vodka in the generic-looking white-labelled bottle with "Vodka" in plain blue letters. Used to be very expensive until their distribution got a little better.
Makes a smooth, easy-to-drink martini - doesn't taste like if you coughed near a candle you'd shoot a flame out of your mouth (like so many of the grain vodkas do).
Check it out - very inexpensive to boot.
Vodka fans, very interesting so far, and thanks for responding. A few new ones I've never heard of and intend to investigate. A lot of Ketel One fans (it is spelled Ketel) which is a superior vodka. For those of you who don't know, Ketel One is old time pot distilled, as is Tito's. Both, along with Belvedere, Monopolova, 360 Vodka (my new fav), and others for sale CHEAP at Trader Joe's. There's a great liquor store here in Pasadena, Ca. named Mission Wine and Spirits with a huge selection, all available on line. Browsing the aisles there is a gas. As far as the Popov goes, I don't see myself putting Belvedere in a Bloody Mary anyway. What a waste. Keep it up vodka fans, I'm putting together a little shopping list.
I'm with you on the vermouth...just wave the bottle over the glass. Practically speaking, if you must, add a capful to an empty glass, swirl and dump. Add vodka next (preferably at cryogenic temps) + 3 great, fat skewered Queen size olives...pimento, jalepeno, garlic (I ain't fussy). Never tried blue-cheese though. Sounds interesting. This is a fun thread.
I tried the Debowa Polish oak vodka that Mariusz brought to a meeting once and it was superb. There's a little piece of oak floating in it that gives it a nice golden color.
If you live in NY, NJ or Chicago it is an easy find.
If not, order on line.
Debowa Vodka costs between 23$-27$ in most liquor stores that sell it.
Zobrowka Bison Grass Vodka might be a little cheaper but not by much.
If you like your Vodka straight up, these two go down VERY smooth.
I do not care much for Vodka mixed in drinks as long as it doesn't make me sick like a dog. There are few which I simply do not touch for that reason.:)
I dunno. Maybe behind the iron curtain it was what there was, and so became iconic among Eastern block loyalists. Maybe some is better than others. Maybe there is a kind of connoisseurship to the subtleties of tastelessness. Or maybe the idea is not to leave a trace (they say a man who drinks vodka has something to hide). But vodka, however clean a drunk the "good" stuff might provide, is, as gustatory interest goes, for pussies. Not sober ones, mind you; it'll get you off. But a real drink is for tasting and getting sent -- not how little it tastes, but how much it tastes, and how good it tastes given how much it tastes. Scotch, Bourbon, wine (the real king of connoisseurship for dead sure), grappa, hell, even gin and beer (that's a whole world too). But vodka? Booze for people who might as well inject.
Suckers too, the prices they got for the "premium" hot water. "Have a little Grey Goose to go with your $1000/meter cables? Though you can't taste it (hear them) all the most successful advertising campaigns agree it is (they are) the best available. Yes, you say? Well, then, very good sir. And thank you. (Now let me just makes this deposit of funds.)"
Just my opinion. Let everyone enjoy his or her own poison!!!! I just wanna taste mine goin' down.
hi, believe it or not the smoothest vodka I have ever tasted is dan ackriods ? new vodka that comes in a Cristal skull bottle. at a friends house i did a blind taste test with it against grey goose and two other very expensive vodkas , sorry I dont remember the others, but the first sip of the first shot of four , I looked at my friends and said , this must be the Cristal skull vodka, they said , way to fast buddy, taste the others first before you make that call ! so I did, and I still liked the first vodka best, it was just way smoother than the rest, and to my friends surprise I had indeed called out the Cristal skull on the first sip. well worth checking out !
A new contender. I heard about Sobieski Polish vodka and read up. It was given a 95 rating in taste tests by the Tasting Institute, better than my favs, Belvedere and 360 Vodka. I hadn't tried it because it seemed too cheap, $10.95 at Mission Spirits in Pasadena. I saw it at a store on sale for $7.95 and figured what the hell. Oh man is it tasty, smooth, clean, variegated hints of different flavors, non astringent. Top drawer, as good as I've tried yet.
As I sip some Ciroc while writing this, I will say that I am very fond of the French grape vodka. I also love Ketel. It doesn't get enough respect in my opinion. Haven't seen any Zyr posts. Used to love it, but been going with the Ciroc lately. As far as the Svedka goes, I use it in my vodka tonics and that is as far as I will go....don't see what all the hype is about, frankly. I'm getting a lot of ideas from you guys though. Thanks.
There was a blind tasting at an avant garde vodka lounge in Chicago. The participants boasted confidently that they could distinguish between premium and well vodka. Grey Goose (the consensus favorite before testing) finished last, while Smirnoff (the vodka that most claimed they would never order) finished first. When mixers were used, nobody could discern any differences.
I'm not trying to be captious, I'm just tossing this out there for everybody's amusement.
Tubeking is correct.
I am not a vodka enthusiast, but I defer to the Russians.
Russian Standard Platinum was recommended as the best to me by very, very, very rich Russian friends.
For the longest time, it was impossible to find in the US, but now seems to be a bit more widely distributed.
Beware - many of the candidates mentioned above are the vodka equivalent of the B&W Nautilus speaker - mediocre performance in pretentious, overpriced, silly packaging.