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A Little About A Lot of Vodkas – A Look Into 25 Different Vodka Brands

There are a few staples that are needed behind the bar when running a nightclub. One of these happens to be vodka. This is a key ingredient in an infinite number of drinks. If you’re trying for new drink ideas for nightclubs, this spirit would be where to start.

Though Russia and Poland both claim to be the birthplace of vodka, it gets its name from the Russian word for water. The word vodka literally means “little water,” and has been around for centuries. Originally used for medical purposes, it wasn’t until around the 14th century that people began to realize the intoxicating effects it had.

The following vodkas represent just a short list of popular vodkas requested in bars and nightclubs across the country.

– Stolichnaya

Commonly known as “Stoli” or “Stolis,” this is one of the most popular Russian vodkas. It delivers a smooth taste for the price and offers a variety of flavors.

Stoli mixes wheat and rye with pure glacier water from the Kalingrad region and is distilled four times. It is then filtered through not just charcoal, but also quartz sand and woven cloth.

Stoli Bluberi is the newest addition to the Stoli flavors. Other flavors include citrus, orange, cranberry, vanilla, raspberry, and strawberry.

– Absolut

Absolut vodka has been made in the small town of Ahus in southern Sweden since 1879. The wheat is grown there and the water that it is mixed with comes from a well there. It is known for its bottle, which was fashioned after an old Swedish medicine bottle.

Winter wheat is mixed with pure well water and is distilled using the continuous distillation method. It is distilled hundreds of times until all of the impurities are removed.

Chili pepper flavored vodka was the first flavor that Absolut Vodka came out with. Since then raspberry, citrus, mandarin, peach, pear, currant, vanilla, and grapefruit have also joined the ranks.

– Skyy

Skyy vodka is produced by Skyy Spirits in California and is known by its stand out, cobalt blue bottle. This vodka is made to have lower levels of impurities and is geared more towards martini drinkers.

Deionized water is mixed with ethanol made with American grain and distilled four times. It is then filtered through charcoal, rough cellulose, and fine cellulose. Each individual batch is then tasted for quality.

Skyy vodka flavors include spiced, vanilla, and berry. The Skyy Infusions lineup includes citrus, cherry, passion fruit, raspberry, and grape.

– Smirnoff

Smirnoff Vodka began in Russia by the son of illiterate peasants in the 1860s. Today it is one of the most popular brands in the United States, and claim to be the “best selling vodka in the world.”

Made form corn and pure filtered water, it is distilled three times. It is then filtered through charcoal for eight hours.

Their flavor line up includes a variety of fruit flavors such as Green Apple Twist, Vanilla Twist, Melon Twist, Passion Fruit Twist, Blueberry Twist, and White Grape Twist.

– Grey Goose

Made in Cognac, France, Grey Goose is relatively new to the vodka market, but has become a world favorite. Each bottle is corked and depicts three grey geese flying above the French Alps.

It is made from wheat and spring water naturally filtered through champagne limestone. It is then column distilled three times in small batches.

Flavors of Grey Goose include orange, vanilla, citrus, and pear.

– Three Olives

The production of one of the most popular vodkas, Three Olives, began over three centuries ago in England.

It is made from a 300 year old recipe and uses the finest English wheat, which is mixed with deionized water, then distilled and filtered four times.

When it comes to flavored vodkas, the popular Three Olives brand has three new interesting ones – tomato, root beer, and triple espresso. Nightclub operations carrying these flavors will rival any business around. Other flavors include berry, cherry, chocolate, citrus, grape, green apple, mango, orange, and passion fruit, among others.

– Sobieski

King Jan III of Poland ruled until his death in 1696. It is his name – Sobieski – that graces the bottle of Sobieski Vodka. They claim to have the “truth in vodka,” stating that other trendy bottles are not as important as what’s in them.

It is made from rye and pure spring water and distilled in a continuous distillation process, then filtered through charcoal.

Flavors of Sobieski include Cytron and Vanilla.

– Pravda

With a name meaning “truth,” Pravda Vodka is quite eye catching. It comes in a tall frosted bottle with a prominent violet jewel and is made in the Carpathian Mountains in Southern Poland.

Pravda vodka is made from late harvest sweet rye and pure mountain spring water. It is then distilled five times and then distilled an extra time in a copper still. Extensive charcoal filtration follows the distillation process with charcoal made from French birch wood.

– Tito’s Handmade Vodka

Tito’s Handmade Vodka is made in Austin, TX by a geophysicist. It began in 1997 in the first legal, licensed distillery in the state of Texas. Tito’s doesn’t rely much on outlandish advertising campaigns to sell it’s vodka, but on word of mouth and quality.

It is micro distilled six times from corn. Distillation takes place in old-fashioned copper pots.

– Finlandia

As the name suggests, Finlandia is from Finland. It was introduced to the United States in 1971, and in 2002, it became the new James Bond vodka.

It is made with six-row barley and pure glacier water, using a state-of-the art continuous distillation process. This process has over two hundred steps and requires no filtering.

Currently, Finlandia offers eight different flavors. They are cranberry, lime, mango, wild berry, grapefruit, tangerine, and black current.

– Rain

Made in Frankfurt, KY, Rain Vodka claims that it is “the organic vodka.” It is, in fact, certified organic by the USDA. Production began in 1996, and it was one of the first organic spirits.

Rain Vodka is made from 100% organic white corn and distilled seven times. The vodka is then allowed to “rest” in stainless steel tanks for several months before pure limestone water is added.

This vodka boasts some interesting flavor combinations, including Lavender Lemonade, Cucumber Lime, Red Grape Hibiscus, and Honey Mango Melon.

– Belvedere

Belvedere Vodka was introduced to the United States in 1996. It is named after the presidential palace in Poland and has a picture of the palace on the bottle.

Dankowskie rye and purified well water are the ingredients in this vodka. It is distilled four times and then filtered through charcoal and cellulose before being bottled.

Belvedere flavored vodkas are made using only real fruit, and when looking at the flavors, one will find the expected – pink grapefruit, orange, black raspberry, and citrus. In addition, they also produce Belvedere IX, which is a combination of guarana, ginger, ginseng, jasmine, cinnamon leaf, sweet almond, eucalyptus, black cherry, and acai juice.

– Vox

The word vox is Latin for “voice.” It certainly speaks volumes in its tall, dimpled bottle sitting on the shelf.

It is distilled five times from wheat and deionized water, then filtered.

In addition to regular Vox Vodka, green apple and raspberry flavors are also available.

– UV

Know for its bright colors and low price, UV Vodka has become popular with the college crowd. Though it is relatively new, it is rapidly gaining popularity.

Made from wheat and purified well water, UV vodka is distilled four times. It then undergoes a rigorous filtration.

UV flavors include Apple, Citruv, UV Lemonade, Blue, Grape, Vanilla, and Orange.

– Ketel One

In 1691, Joannes Nolet opened a distillery in Holland. The family is still making vodka today after eleven generations. Each batch is still tasted by the family to ensure the best quality, and the first and last one hundred batches are thrown out.

It is distilled in small batches from wheat. The family still uses copper pot stills. After distillation, it is then filtered through loose charcoal.

Citroen and Oranje are the flavors produced by Ketel One.

– Pinnacle

There has been new competition for Grey Goose on the shelves lately. Pinnacle vodka has been thought to be a much less expensive version of Grey Goose. Perhaps it’s because they are both made in France, or perhaps there is some truth in these claims.

Pinnacle Vodka is also made from wheat and spring water. It is distilled four times and filtered through charcoal.

Pinnacle has an extensive flavor line up. In addition to the classic vodka and the typical fruit flavors – orange, berry, mango, melon, grape, kiwi strawberry, green apple, pomegranate, citrus, and tropical punch – they also have a few more unique flavors. Cotton candy, whipped cream, root beer, butterscotch, and chocolate are also part of this collection.

– Ultimat

The hand blown blue bottle is eye catching with its beautiful and unique bubble in the base. It is more expensive than other vodkas, and unlike most other vodkas, which are made from either grains or potatoes, Ultimat is made from both.

Wheat, rye, potatoes, and pure well water are put through an advanced and unique distillation process called hydro-selection distillation. It is then filtered through ceramic filters shaped like candles; this is appropriately called carbon candle filtered.

In addition to the classic vodka, Ultimat offers two other flavors – black cherry and chocolate vanilla.

– Chopin

Chopin is a Polish potato vodka that boasts seven pounds of potatoes in every bottle. It is named after the composer, Frederic Chopin, and was introduced in Poland in 1993 and later in the United States in 1997.

Made from potatoes, Chopin is distilled four times. It is also distilled in small batches, and each batch is tasted for quality. If any defect is found in a batch, the whole thing is thrown out.

– Russian Standard

Looking for Russian Standard Vodka may be a little difficult – if you can’t read Russian. Although it was introduced to the United States in 1998, Russian Standard Vodka follows an 1894 recipe reserved for Russian czars. It claims to be the #1 premium vodka in Russia.

Regular Russian standard is made from wheat and pure glacier vodka and is distilled four times and filtered four times.

Russian Standard Platinum is filtered an additional two times through silver, while Russian Standards Imperia is distilled an extra four times and filtered another two times through quartz.

– Svedka

If you haven’t seen the advertising for Svedka Vodka, one may start to believe that you’ve been living under a rock lately. Instead of the typical “traditional vodka” approach, Svedka’s advertising focuses on more of a futuristic angle. Their female “spokesbot” has been just about everywhere lately, and they claim to be the best vodka of 2003.

It is made from wheat and spring water and distilled five times.

Svedka has a variety of flavors including cherry, raspberry, clementine, citron, and vanilla.

– 42 Below

A vodka from New Zealand may seem a little odd, but the maker’s of 42 Below didn’t see why they couldn’t compete in the global vodka market. It gets its name from where it was produced – exactly 42 degrees below the equator – and is 42% alcohol by volume.

It is distilled three times from non genetically engineered wheat and then water from a volcanic spring is added. A fourth, and final, distillation is done before the vodka passes through thirty five different filters.

Kiwi and Manuka Honey are the two flavors of 42 Below Vodka in the United States. In addition to these two flavors, they also have Feijoa and Passion Fruit.

– Blavod

Blavod Vodka is an interesting addition to any Halloween party. It’s black and looks pretty cool layered. One such drink, the Black Widow, is Blavod layered on top of cranberry juice.

The black color of this vodka is attributed to the Asian herb, catechu. This not only makes the vodka black, but it is also supposed to make it smoother. In addition to this herb, Blavod Vodka is distilled from molasses three times and filtered twice.

– Medea

Whether its good or bad, there are some liquors that one would buy just for the bottle. Medea vodka may just be one of these. It has a programmable, LED label on its bottle. The company encourages you to unleash your inner poet, inner philosopher, and inner flirt. Six messages of 225 characters each can be store in this bottle, and it will stay lit up for three minutes at a time. Bar and club owners can program it to display messages about specials, events, or anything else that strikes their fancy.

It is distilled in small batches from wheat and natural artesian water. Unlike many of the vodkas today, Medea Vodka is only distilled once.

– Crystal Head

Following his steady success in the wine industry, Dan Akroyd has moved on to vodka. His Crystal Head Vodka bottle (sometimes referred to as Crystal Skull) is crafted around the ancient, mysterious crystal skulls that have popped up all over the globe. The skulls are said to have magical properties and emit positive energy, prosperity, and good will.

Even though at around $50 for a bottle it does cost considerably more than most vodkas on the market today, the bottle and fancy packaging isn’t all you’re paying for. It is certified kosher, and made from wheat, sweet corn, and glacier water. It is distilled four times and then filtered three times through charcoal. After the first filtration, it is then filtered an additional three times through “Herkimer diamonds.”

– Black Death

The label on a bottle of Black Death Vodka comes with a grinning skull wearing a top hat, and it is sometimes housed in a miniature, wooden coffin. In 1992, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms tried to ban Black Death Vodka on two grounds – misleading advertising and the fact that it mocked the health risks of drinking alcohol. Apparently, the company promised poison and plague, but only delivered vodka. The judge ruling over the hearing dismissed the case.

Unlike most vodkas, Black Death Vodka is distilled from sugar beets, which is said to give it a sweeter flavor and a smell of cooked sugar.

Vodka isn’t the only spirit made by Black Death. Tequila and gin are also produced by this company. Although it would be pretty difficult to find a bottle of this on the shelf at the liquor store, one may be able to pick up a bottle online.

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