When we first sat down to taste our way through vodkas that cost less than $10, we were skeptical. We have had some truly delicious vodkas over the years, and while most of them were fairly affordable, it’s safe to say none of them approached the $10 mark. But, aside from a couple of bottles that induced college party PTSD, we were pleasantly surprised. It turns out, if you’re mixing a cocktail, you absolutely do not need to spend more than $10 on a bottle of vodka. (When it comes to Martinis and even Vodka Sodas, though, it’s still best to splurge a little.) Here are five of our favorite under $10 bottles of vodka.
Baltic Mist Vodka
With its sweeping romance novel font and a galleon in a compass printed on the bottle, this potato vodka is sending a lot of messages—it also advertises itself as gluten free, which, as we all know, all non-flavored spirits are. But behind these many motifs lies a sweet, smooth, weighty vodka that tastes much more expensive than a ten-spot. With a touch of peachy flavor and a creamy texture, it is supremely drinkable.
I Spirit Vodka
Sold in a black-to-clear ombre bottle, this Italian vodka is made with grapes and grains, and, as the bottle proudly advertises, water from the Dolomites. It smells lightly of lemon zest on the nose with a touch of powdered sugar. It’s floral, mild and extremely easy drinking. You could even get away with making this one into a Vodka Soda, perhaps with a spritz of lemon.
Crystal Palace Vodka
This bottle might look like a fake prop from a movie set thanks to its generic red label, but the spirit that’s inside of it is totally real—and extremely neutral. Like, really, really neutral. It’s the textbook definition of vodka: odorless, flavorless and clear. If you’re looking for something to booze up mixers and add nothing more, this will work well.
Old Eagle Vodka
Mellow with some sharp, acetone notes on the nose, this vodka opens up to flavors of apples, frosting and annise. It has a quick finish, though, so you won’t be tasting anything for long. It’s a perfect, reliable bottle for fruity vodka drinks like Vodka Cranberries, Screwdrivers or even Gimlets.
Easy to find and often costing even less than $10, Voda has some grainy notes and a full body. While you wouldn’t want to sip this vodka straight, it works well in mixed vodka cocktails and also is a great base for homemade flavored vodkas. It completely takes on any flavor you throw at it, from grapefruit to cucumber to vanilla. Make a quick infusion, then mix it with soda water for a DIY spiked seltzer that practically costs you nothing.