The 6 Best Handles of Vodka to Buy for a Party
Contrary to popular opinion, a “handle” of liquor doesn't imply that the bottle of booze you’re buying literally comes with a handle attached to it—though this is how many of the bottles are designed. A handle of alcohol actually refers to the size of the bottle, which is typically 1.75 liters, the largest format in which liquor is sold. Handles are not only the perfect size for a party, but they’re also generally the best price by volume of any bottle in the liquor store (unless you purchase by the case). To find out which handles of vodka are the most delicious, we dug deep at the liquor store to determine which brands are best bought in this large format option. Here, the six best handles of vodka to buy for your next party.
If you’re using your handle of booze for a big batch of Jungle Juice or in a punch where the flavor of alcohol is well hidden by other ingredients, this bottle is one of the best values you can find. Word of warning: even though Georgi claims that their vodka is quadruple distilled for smoothness, the vodka has a really sharp ethanol heat on the finish. It is not an ideal liquor for shots or anything alcohol-forward like a Vodka Soda.
Smirnoff is simply one of the best tasting bottom-shelf vodkas, no matter what size you buy. Distilled from corn (it’s passed through the still up to 10 times) and charcoal filtered for smoothness and clarity, Smirnoff can be enjoyed straight, over ice or with just about any mixer. Synonymous with the Moscow Mule, Smirnoff is the perfect handle of vodka for fans of the gingery classic. All you need to concoct a party sized Mule is a 192-ounce copper mug (or two), a handle of Smirnoff, a big bag of mint, a six-pack of extra spicy ginger beer and a pack of bendy straws.
Russian Standard ($30)
Distilled from the finest Russian winter wheat, birch charcoal filtered, and brought to proof with local glacier water, Russian Standard is the pinnacle of Russian vodkas. Best served ice cold, this vodka is exceptionally smooth, crisp and clean on the palate. A step above Smirnoff, this handle is ideal for shots, Highballs or Martinis. Russian Standard is also the perfect accompaniment to food—especially smoked meats (or fish), cheeses, olives and pickles. Serve it at your next cheese and charcuterie party.
Produced in Åhus, Sweden, Absolut vodka is distilled from winter wheat. Because it’s left unfiltered, Absolut is brought to proof with local water from an aquifer that’s been filtered through Swedish bedrock for thousands of years. Almost creamy on the palate, this vodka has a distinct fruitiness and malty, peppery finish. It’s sippable neat or over ice, but Absolut works best when mixed with tonic water or seltzer. If you choose to use it in a Highball, add either fresh fruit garnishes (like apricots, peaches or berries) or fresh herbs (like rosemary and thyme) to bring out the inherent flavors in the vodka.
Produced and distilled in Austin, Texas, by Tito Beveridge, Tito’s vodka is made from a corn mash on pot stills. Sweet, creamy and moonshine-esque, this vodka is extremely versatile in cocktails, especially anything effervescent or with fresh citrus. Use the spirit for a round of chilled shots, in a bubbly vodka-based Tom Collins, or mixed in a Gimlet. One of the most beloved vodkas, this handle is guaranteed to be a hit at any party—particularly if you come provide mixers as well.
Ketel One ($40)
If you’re not familiar with Ketel One vodka, you’ve either been living under a rock for the past 30 years or were cryogenically frozen. Produced by the Nolet Distillery in Schiedam, Netherlands, Ketel One is the highest quality vodka on this list. Using 100 percent wheat for the mash, this vodka is distilled on copper pot stills and charcoal filtered to further remove impurities. Lucious and extra silky on the palate, with flavors of citrus and honey, Ketel One’s long lasting finish highlights its singular quality. Bring this handle of vodka when you have people to impress or a more formal event to attend.