A decent shot of vodka doesn’t just taste good—it’s also cheap, smooth and respectable (don’t be that dude calling for Georgi in a social situation of any kind). These affordable bottles go down easy, both on the esophagus and on the wallet. Here, the five best vodka brands for taking shots.
This Bubble Tea Is Set on Fire
Cheap enough for the proletariat and strong enough to drown their sorrows, this egalitarian vodka lives up to its name. The straight shooter should be taken without a chaser, save for maybe some traditional zakuski like herring or pickles. As far as vodka shots go, it checks all the boxes: it’s booze, and it doesn’t burn too much. If it’s good enough for Mother Russia, it’s good enough for you.
There’s a reason Tito’s appears on pretty much every vodka list on the internet: It’s universally beloved and enjoyable in just about any form. The vodka’s natural corn sweetness quickly endears it to any drinker—including the habitual shot taker—while its price tag and downhome American origin are pretty hard to beat in terms of brand appeal.
Birthday cake flavored vodka is a favorite shooter among newly minted drinkers and anyone who hates the taste of booze, but Aermoor makes it easy for these flavor dependants to graduate to the true vodka category. One of our favorite bottlings of 2017, this vodka is distilled using water vapor from clouds, but its molasses base shines through, giving the spirit a creamy, frosting-like sweetness. This is the adult dessert shot the world needed.
Most cheap as heck vodkas make you wonder what ungodly substance you just threw down your throat. Not so with Prairie, which is certified organic (and kosher). Each batch is fine-tuned (i.e., not subject to some random required number of filtrations), meaning the distillers consciously craft the vodka to balance its corny base, spicy-sweet overtones and boozy kick.
Kirkland French Vodka ($20 for 1.75L)
If you plan to indulge in rounds of vodka shots with friends at home, you better be prepared for seconds and thirds. Kirkland French Vodka is the broke drinker’s Grey Goose (it’s frequently rumored to be the same spirit repackaged), so you can afford to buy that huge 1.75-liter bottle of high quality booze—all of which you’ll need when your guests realize the nearly limitless supply of totally quaffable vodka. Yet again, Costco helps you get fancy on a budget.