You don’t really hate vodka—you just haven’t had one that you really loved yet. If you’re willing to take the risk, we guarantee that we can deliver a vodka that will sway your feelings about the crystal clear spirit. Here, five exceptional vodkas for people that “claim” they hate vodka.
Made in Cherkasy, Ukraine from locally sourced rye and wheat, Zirkova is one of the best new vodka brands to hit liquor store shelves. Their black-labeled One bottling is specifically designed for sipping—and savoring. Unlike a lot vodkas we’ve tasted, this spirit lacks any astringency or alcoholic burn on the finish. It is a luxuriously smooth spirit, with undertones of minerality, wet earth, birch and almond butter. As the vodka sits in your mouth it has a textural weight and a lasting creaminess that leaves a silky finish. We recommend drinking this vodka neat, with a cube of ice, or in an unparalleled Vodka Martini.
If you have a problem with vodkas being nothing more than boozy water, Woody Creek’s potato vodka proves how flavorful the clear spirit can be. Made from 100-percent locally-sourced potatoes, Woody Creek is distilled only once (rather than being passed through the still numerous times to strip the spirit of any flavor or texture). As a result, this vodka actually tastes like something: There are notes of wet earth, ash, mushrooms, instant mashed potatoes, sweet cream and melted butter. Incredibly savory and complex, this vodka can be sipped straight without ice like an eau de vie.
Produced in upstate New York, this small batch, craft vodka is made from locally grown apples; it takes roughly 60 pounds of fresh apples to make one bottle. Triple distilled, this singular vodka is then filtered for clarity (the distillery claims that no charcoal was harmed during the filtration process) before being bottled. Almost like an extra-smooth, unaged Calvados, Core Vodka retains a whisper of the fruit from which it was produced. On the palate, the spirit is floral (think fresh jasmine), dry and tannic, with an undertone of baked apple pie—crust included. Vodka “haters” will appreciate the spirit’s less refined qualities and complex range of appley flavors.
To make this “All Purpose” vodka, a name that stems from the brand’s claim that the spirit is a bartender’s ubiquitous vodka, St. George distillery blends their flagship pear brandy with a neutral, non-GMO spirit. The blended distillate is then filtered to further remove any impurities. The resulting vodka truly lives up to its name: It’s luxuriously silky (almost like licking velvet), extremely floral and fruity (the pear is there, but it’s the ghost of a fresh pear), and extremely drinkable. This vodka is good enough to drink straight, especially when served with food—no ice needed here—and extremely versatile behind the bar. We wouldn’t argue with a Martini, Bloody Mary or Gimlet made with this exceptional spirit.
This vodka is truly unique and special. Produced by Todd Hardie in Vermont, Barr Hill vodka is distilled from 100-percent raw honey extracted from Hardie’s hives (before the distilling bug bit him, Hardie was a famed, local bee keeper for over 40 years). To preserve the honey’s inherent floral flavors, Hardie cold ferments the honey over three weeks and never passes the spirit through the still more than two times. Raw and flavorful, with an viscous texture, Barr Hill Vodka is unlike any other that you’ve tasted. It has flavors of fresh cut grass, wildflowers, sunshine (if it had a flavor) and, of course, creamed honey and honeycomb. You really can’t say that you don’t like vodka until you try this singular spirit.