6 unique types of vodka that will raise your spirits
These craft versions are worth making room for in your liquor cabinet.
Vodka, synonymous with long Russian winters and hip Swedish advertising campaigns, is a popular spirit, with 923 million gallons sold globally last year.
Traditionally, it's made by distilling fermented grain or potatoes. Today, however, much to the chagrin of some purists, it's made with grapes, sugar and an assortment of other ingredients. Then there is the choice of flavors, which seems to have no end. There is bacon-flavored vodka, waffle-flavored vodka, cotton candy-flavored vodka ... you get the point.
The craft vodkas below aren't as eccentric, but definitely not what you'll find at a traditionalist's vodka soiree. So whether you like your vodka straight or on ice, mixed, shaken or stirred, here are six unique vodkas worth trying.
Old Fashioned English Toffee Vodka
The English love their toffee pudding, so it was only natural for the English Vodka Company to figure out a way to get that flavor into a bottle of vodka. The alcohol by volume (ABV) is low, 26.1%, compared to 40% you'll find as the minimum ABV of most other vodkas, which makes this perfect for a nighttime tipple. For adults with a sweet tooth, the makers of this fine spirit also advise it can be "drizzled over vanilla ice cream, served alongside a sticky pudd, with a layer of double cream on top, or plopped into a coffee or mocha."
Square One Organic Vodka Bergamot
Flavored vodkas can taste, well, cheap. Square One is not a cheap vodka, though it is flavored, in this case with Bergamot. Perhaps more familiar with the public because of its presence in Earl Grey tea, here Bergamot's citrus notes are combined with ginger, coriander and juniper botanicals. Unfiltered, the essential oils from the citrus peels and botanicals leave behind a natural texture that is an integral part of the vodka's pure appeal.
Aviv 613 Vodka
It took master distiller Yossi Gold three years to come up with the exact formulation for his Israeli vodka, no surprise considering the final product has seven ingredients. He begins with wheat and barley distilled three times. To that he adds thrice-distilled alcohol from a mash made from olives, figs, dates, grapes and pomegranates. The hard work is paying off. Multiple medals have been bestowed upon Aviv, experts are raving about its quality, and sales are reportedly booming in places as far-flung as Minnesota.
250,000 Scovilles Naga Chili Vodka
This one will keep you warm at night and possibly up all night as well. The 'Hot Enough' Vodka Co's vodka is billed as the world's hottest, and at 250,000 scovilles, it's about 250 times hotter than a jalapeno. For more context, consider this: The chili used in the vodka is the Naga Jolokia, which is known to be one of the hottest chillis and rates higher on the Scoville scale than most law-enforcement grade pepper sprays. But you probably won't be drinking this one straight: The drink is recommended as a mixer, with expert mixologists suggesting it can be used in a classic Bloody Mary for a drink with extra kick.
The vodka purists may not buy into high-priced hype, but Napa Valley Distillery's Napa Vodka has enthusiasts head over heels. It's handcrafted from American Winter Wheat and Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, and only about 5,000 bottles are made each year. This means it's more expensive than your average bottle (or premium bottle, for that matter), but if you're in the market for a copper pot distilled and triple charcoal filtered ultra smooth vodka, this is the one for you.
Y town Vodka
William Candella launched his eponymous distillery in 2012 hot on the heels of the micro-distillery boom sweeping the U.S. Made with pure cane sugar, it was awarded a Gold Medal in 2014 by the American Distillers Association in the "Vodka – Other Class" category and also named "Best in Class." Not bad for a spirit that Candella makes on his own and which wasn't even on the market until late 2013.
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