Trying a new flavored vodka is always risky. While there’s a chance it will deliver on the flavor it promises, more often than not it disappoints—dramatically. Often excessively sweet and artificial tasting, flavored vodka is extremely popular in the U.S. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Americans purchased more 180,000 bottles (750 ml) of the stuff in 2016—that’s almost as much as the total amount of tequila sold in the same year.
To capitalize on this trend, many companies go for shock value when creating new vodka flavors, tapping into the most unexpected foods and things they possibly can, from smoked salmon to whipped cream to PB&J to fresh cut grass (seriously). And while those gimmicks may inspire chatter and garner attention, they certainly don’t guarantee a good product. Other distillers, though, are going full craft, sourcing the freshest ingredients they can find and infusing them into a quality spirit. From the hot and spicy to the fruity and herbal, we tracked down brands producing truly impressive flavored vodkas. Here are our 13 favorite flavored vodkas, ranked from pretty darn good to ridiculously delicious.
Combining Valencia oranges, Seville oranges and bergamot—all grown in California—this citrusy vodka has a lot going on. It smells fruity and floral. Instead of leaning on the fruits’ sweeter flavors, it comes out with a slightly bitter touch of citrus rind, as well as twinges of tart and herbaceous notes—all while remaining plenty juicy.