August is Vodkaaaah month. You know you want it.
You hear it from vodka companies all the time: “Our vodka—distilled 47 times and made from the purest spring water in the world—is the best vodka in the world.”
Okay, that precise example is a bit of an exaggeration. But the gimmick is real, and you’ve likely noticed the hyperbolic advertising on TV, in magazines and billboards. Hell, Smirnoff even launched a new ad in April that pokes fun at the exaggerated claims. (“It’s made only from potatoes that look like famous people’s faces.”
Even if you’re a little weary of the vodka game—or if you flat out think you don’t like this “flavorless, odorless” spirit—there are definitely bottles worth paying attention to.
There are some “all-purpose” uses we wouldn’t suggest using this vodka for. But in cocktails? It can be used in pretty much anything. Distilled from a combination of Bartlett pears and corn, this vodka has a distinctive flavor. The pears give it a hint of fruitiness. Try suggest trying it in a classic vodka cocktail, like a Martini or a Mule.
It’s not clear if it’s the rice this Japanese vodka is distilled from or the bamboo it’s filtered through after the distillation process—or a combination of the two—that gives Ao a super-clean, crisp taste. In the end, who cares? Ao, which means “blue” in Japanese, makes a mean Martini at 80-proof and true vodka enthusiasts should consider sipping it over ice.
When a vodka craving rears its head, you’ll want this New York–distilled bottle at the ready. Distilled from orange-blossom honey, Comb doesn’t rely on multiple distillations to achieve its faintly fruity aroma and robust flavor. Mix it with a little tonic—or serve it over ice with an orange slice—for an end-of-summer treat.
Cute and tasty? Count us in. Sure, this vodka is distilled six times, but the vodka, made from spelt, has little bite and a pleasant aftertaste. Plus: 15 percent of all of Snow Leopard Vodka’s profits go toward conservation projects for the critically endangered cats. Pass a bottle and some ginger beer!
Though many of the other vodkas on this list have limited distribution throughout the States, you’ve probably seen—or at least heard of—Absolut Elyx. The higher-end version of the brand’s classic vodka offering, Elyx is distilled from Swedish wheat and made in copper column stills (hence the metallic packaging). Mix it in a summery vodka cocktail or dress up your brunch Bloody with a measure or two. Either way, this stuff will look pretty on your bar.
Think you know the booze?
Let’s start with some basics.