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October 4 is International Vodka Day. No doubt you already have your calendar marked, your vodka wishlist ready, a wee note left out for the Vodka Santa in the hopes he’ll leave you what you want on this most hallowed of holidays.
We kid, obviously, and yes, there are too many ‘International Day of’s dreamed up as a cheap means of pushing product, we know. That said - the nights are drawing in. It’s getting cold. The news, which hasn’t been great for a while, is getting even trickier to take. We’re happy to have a convenient excuse to enjoy a great drink.
Thankfully, the experts at The Bottle Club have collated a list of the hottest vodkas on the market at the moment, to wet your whistle, warm your cockles, ease your troubled mind.
What is vodka, anyway?
If you want to skip straight to the actual gallery of vodkas, fair enough - we would. However, if you’ve even been curious, here’s a potted history of the spirit.
Vodka is a Russian word, derived from ‘voda’ - their word for water. It’s a distilled spirit, made from water and ethanol. It’s manufactured by fermenting, distilling, then filtering almost anything that can be transformed into alcohol. While traditionally, vodka was made using rye, these days there are plenty of alternative base materials that undergo the alcoholic alchemy.
That means grain, potatoes, fruits, roots, sugar - if it can be fermented, it can be used to make vodka. Once fermented, the solids are strained off, then the remaining liquid is distilled - initially to 90% - to eradicate undesired smells and tastes. The more times you distill the liquid, the ‘cleaner’ or more ‘pure’ it is. Finally, the spirit is diluted to make it both more palatable and less lethal (literally) - then filtered again for balance and taste.
While straight vodka is in essence tasteless and odorless, it tend to have distinct textures in terms of mouthfeel. It’s flexibility is it’s selling point - you can add flavours to it ahead of bottling, or for standard vodka, you can choose to serve it neat, on the rocks, or mixed into a delectable cocktail.
What’s new in the world of vodka for International Vodka Day?
Online premium drinks retailer The Bottle Club has put together a list of the best vodkas of the moment, from fruit flavoured to pure and traditional. Looking ahead to Christmas, these tipples will be perfect either as a gift or for your own delectation over the festive season.
Consider one of these excellent drinks trolleys for holding your spirits
Best rums 2022: the best rums for making classic rum cocktails, from mojitos, Mai Tais, daiquiris and more Best gins UK 2022: from Plymouth Gin to Whitley Neill, the best gins for cocktails, G&Ts and Negroni’s
There are celebrity vodkas, and then there are celebrity vodkas, and this is the latter.
CÎROC Passion is the latest release from Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs stylish range of premium French vodkas. But it’s glitzy associations aren’t the selling point: this is a tasty drop.
Made with French grapes and distilled five times, this vodka has been infused with passionfruit and citrus - it’s ideal for a fruity caipiroska or Porn Star Martini.
Delicious -and great for getting the party started.
Crystal Head Vodka is a damn fine drop - a pure, tradtional vodka with no additives, as smooth as you can imagine. But it’s arguably more notable for the bottle it comes in - inspired by Aztec crystal skulls, which were believed to have mystival powers.
This gorgeous Pride edition is cut from iridiscent rainbow glass - it would make a spectacular gift or look fabulous in your drinks cabinet.
The weather may be turning, but this is summer in a glass, and ideal for a sundowner that will lift your spirits even if it’s dark and cold outside.
Juicy watermelon notes are combined with garden-picked peppery basil, resulting in a light, refreshing vodka - ideal for sipping or pairing with soda.
Made with natural botanical essences and the brand’s world-famous vodka, it’s a delicious, unique tipple.
Ooo, you smoothie. This London-distilled vodka is as pure as driven snow - distilled five times and filtered through gold. Au is is clean, smooth, and proudly British.
An award-winning vodka, it’s made with British black grapes and natural spring water from the South Down hills.
Terrific on the rocks or paired with lemonade.
Everything you need for a merry, cosy night in. Including a bottle of Belvedere Organic Infusions Pear & Ginger Vodka made with fresh, organic pears and fiery ginger root - a tipple both warming and refreshing.
The bundle also comes with Belvedere high ball glasses and a bag of Proper Corn’s Sweet & Salty popcorn - so chill the ice, pick a movie, and get ready for the ideal night in with someone you love.
Love a chocolate orange at Christmas? Of course you do - they’re the best. Tiptree has taken the festive confectionary and improved it - missing small-batch craft English Vodka with Tiptree Chocolate Orange Spread to create this rather perfect liqueur.
Sip over ice, add your favourite mixer, or use as the base for a Chocolate Orange Martini. Two measures of Vodka Liqueur, one teaspoon of Tiptree Chocolate Orange Spread, shaken with ice then strained.
Sweet, smooth, candy cane flavoured vodka ideal for adding frivolity to a Christmas party or gifting to a loved one on Christmas morning. Delicious for a sweet kick in cocktails - just lower any sugar measures to accommodate the extra sweetness. Or if you’re a fiend for candy, use as a great base for a Snowball.