We’ll let you in on a little secret. If you’re looking for a few bottles of vodka to add to your bar cart, there’s no need to gravitate toward the more expensive ones. (In fact, many bartenders consider moderately priced bottles Vodka on the top shelf). We know you cringe at the idea of cheap vodka, but this isn’t the bargain bottle that has more in common with rubbing alcohol than it does with quality spirit. We’re giving you the best bottles under $30 to add to your rotation whether you’re whipping up cocktails for a big weekend getaway or just looking for something affordable for your vodka.
Vodka is a neutral spirit. Unlike aged or more complex spirits (think gin) that have layered flavor profiles, vodka really has nothing to hide behind, says Brendan Bartley, chief bartender and beverage director in New York City. Gi . bathtubn. But if you have a trained palate or pay close attention when sipping vodka, you may be able to notice that some pills have a different mouth feel. He adds that rye gives you peppery notes, while some types of wheat are more creamy. Potato vodka is grassy and earthy, while corn lends a velvety feel to the mouth.
Instead of price, peek at the ingredients and pay attention to the base—if it’s grains, potatoes, or even fruit, Bartley suggests. This way, you can experiment with the rules you like, which are more important than the price tag or label.
“When I drink vodka, I look for what vodka is trying to tell me and how well it does,” Bartley says. “There are some amazing vodkas out there at very reasonable prices, it’s just about finding what works for you.”
Sure, Tito is a classic. But if you’re looking for another cheap vodka that gets high marks, here are eight recommendations from bartenders and spirits experts.
Bartenders name the best cheap vodka under $30
1. American Liquor Company Vodka
The foundation of vodka is everything, says Bartley, which is why he liked American Liquor Co. Vodka, which contains a harmonious blend of wheat, corn, potato and rye vodka. “There’s a lot going on in that spirit, and I think Master Blender Chris Montana does a great job finding the sweet spot that brings it all together,” he adds. “The flavor comes off with an elegant mouthfeel, some slightly peppery notes, and a vanilla-like finish.”
2. Prairie Vodka
Made with corn from the Midwest, Prairie vodka It is a bright and soft organic spirit. “They obviously don’t use pesticides or chemicals, but they even have a huge buffer zone to make sure other farmers’ chemicals don’t intrude on their farms,” Bartley says. “Love and care really show up in the vodka, giving off a slightly citrusy scent with some nice fruity notes.”
3. Vodka Smirnoff No. 21
For value, history and availability, you can’t beat it Smirnoff Vodka No. 21, says Anthony Caporal, Dean of Spiritual Education at Culinary Education Institute. “It is the most popular vodka in the world, and you can trace its lineage back to the Moscow distillery that opened in 1864,” he says. “The brand is responsible for creating the Moscow Mule and is rumored to have played a role in the origin of the Bloody Mary, so these are two of my favorite drinks to mix with No. 21”
Stolichnaya is the official name. But you know this vodka as jewelry. It’s a medium-bodied vodka with citrus peel and flavors of pastry frosting that has a clean, if not slightly sweet, finish. “A great vodka made of wheat from Russia, Stolichnaya is one of the best everyday vodkas,” says mixologist Timo Turner of Cocktail Association.
Luksusowa is one of the few widely available potato-based vodkas, and the best-selling among them, says Caporale. “Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of vodka is made from grains and not potatoes, and what vodka is made of can impart some of the most easily detectable attributes to the final product.” Luksusowa, a Polish vodka maker, has been turning potatoes into spirits for nearly a century. Try this smooth classic in classic bloody mary.
smoking Vodka is made with water from Icelandic glacial springs that run through a lava field. The lava rock is filtered and distilled on Borgarnes, a small peninsula where the main distiller Pórõur Sigurõsson also works as a police officer and firefighter. “I tried it for the first time because of the back story,” says Nicholas Fetta, the bartender at the hotel. Iron Oak Post In downtown Melbourne on the Florida coast. “I’m a huge proponent of green energy, Rica uses glacial water and the energy is distilled using geothermal energy from underground volcanoes.” Drink it on ice or try it in Moscow mule.
7. Vodka Century Haku
Prepared from Japanese white rice and filtered through bamboo charcoal, Haku’s Suntory Vodka He has a soft and gentle profile. When customers order fatta vodka on the top shelf, pour from this bottle, leaving them surprised at its affordability. “It’s one of the cleanest vodkas I’ve had,” says Fata. He suggests drinking this rice vodka over ice with a little lemon.
8. Single kettle
traditional, single kettle Made of wheat. It’s clean, fragrant and intricate, says Kim Hassarod, President of Bartenders Guild of the United States and the owner Garden Bar In Phoenix, Arizona. Keep a bottle of martini and cocktails on hand, she suggests. “It definitely has some texture and works well with delicious flavors,” she adds.
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