This post about vodka producing countries was made possible by the generosity of another writer. It does not reflect my views and I do not endorse the content.
Top 5 Vodka Producing Countries
5. United States
I happened upon an ad for Tito’s Handmade Vodka in a magazine and was intrigued, partly by the dumb name (after a supposedly real person, Tito Beveridge) and more by the fact that it comes from the United States. Vodka is so rarely produced outside Europe that I would have thought there was some reason for it, but really you can distill grains anywhere.
Apparently the United States have begun making their own, characteristically out of corn. Tito’s brags about winning the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (also based in the United States). Americans have a thing for flavorlessness. Their SKYY brand aims to have no taste whatsoever and succeeds. This number 5 spot would belong to a Baltic country in a just world, but novelty is worth a mention.
Recommended: SKYY, in tiny bottles aboard a trans-oceanic flight
Russia is popularly seen as the native land of vodka. Even so, very few people have a positive view of Russian vodka. Smirnoff is perhaps the worst of so-called premium vodkas. Even the venerable Stolichnaya has quite a few detractors. Still, several respectable brands such as Zyr are holding up the national reputation.
Recommended: Русский Стандарт
French vodkas have become popular in nightclubs, perhaps attributable to Ciroc commerials starring Puff Daddy. Ciroc is derived from grapes and pushes other fruit flavors. Partiers who enjoy a vodka flavor are likely to choose Grey Goose. Everything in the nature of Grey Goose indicates its origin as a cynical marketing ploy from the guy who brought you Jagermeister and Crunk Energy Drink. It plays up boutique Frenchiness. It has a cork instead of a screw top to evoke a fine wine.
It’s overpriced to give the illusion of luxury. All this pretension belies the fact that Grey Goose is quite a tasty spirit. In a dive bar it is likely to be the best in the house. Jean-Marc XO does one better in maintaining an air of exclusivity, to the point that only a classier douchebag will have heard of it. Get a bottle of Jean-Marc XO and get on the phone with your Private Jet Broker.
Recommended: a table bottle of Grey Goose in a private booth.
I remember browsing a liquor store and looking at the beautifuly painted bottles of Van Gogh vodka and being struck with pity for people too cool to admire a bottle. Van Gogh offers a cornucopia of quirky flavors including mint, espresso, coconut, and peanut butter and jelly. The espresso makes a heckuva white russian. It’s nice as a plain vodka besides. Ketel One is the best among nationally known brands. Recently Holland has become famous for it’s Bong Spirit vodka, served in a bottle shaped like a bong. Pretty goofy.
Recommended: Bols. It’s nominally Dutch but has the piquancy of a Polish vodka.
Clear vodkas are dominated by the rye Belvedere and its potato brother Chopin. However, the true soul of Poland is in their dazzling array of yellow spiced vodkas: Zoladkowa Gorzkam is a wonderful example of said. The best of all vodkas is Zubrowka. It’s what God gets wasted on. The United States Department of Justice banned it for having small amounts of the slightly toxic compound coumarin, from the tincture of buffalo grass that gives Zubrowka its name. They’re less concerned with the high amounts of the very toxic substance alcohol. Zubrowka was immortalized in the classic novel The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham. They’ll try to serve it to you with apple juice and that is a damn fine concoction, but it would be a shame not to at least try it neat. Recommended: Zubrowka, Chopin, Sobieski, Wyborowa, Zoladkowa Gorzkam—line them up like Boleslaw the Brave’s troops along the Bug River