One of the main questions we get asked over and over is, is there a difference between cheap and expensive vodka? In short, yes. But also, no. To the average swigger, vodka is vodka. But to the seasoned connoisseurs, there are a plethora of variables that affect and determine the quality and taste of the vodka. So before you buy vodka online, make sure to learn the differences between cheap and premium vodka.
Firstly, lets dispel some myths. Some of the common vodka-based misconceptions are:
- Limited edition spirits and vodkas give less of a hangover.
- The more times distilled, the better the taste.
- The high-quality products are distilled more times.
- Expensive or ‘Premium’ vodka doesn’t burn your throat.
Does expensive vodka give less of a hangover?
Hangovers are caused due to low water and sugar levels in the blood, caused my excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol causes dehydration no matter how expensive the product, so anyone that believes they won’t be hungover if they spend more money when buying vodka, will just end up with extra-strong ‘hangxiety’ when they check their banking app the following morning.
The more times distilled, the better the taste…
Vodka is defined as ‘…a neutral spirit so distilled, or so treated after distillation with charcoal or other materials, as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or colour’. Therefore, all non-flavoured vodka, doesn’t actually have a flavour so regardless of the price, the theoretical ‘taste’ shouldn’t change. In terms of the distillation process, once the liquid has been distilled 5 or 6 times, no matter how many times after this point it is distilled, the taste will not differ.
The high-quality products are distilled more times…
Vodka’s that are distilled more times may be more expensive, with a need to cover the extra distillation costs or higher quality raw materials, but the actual product will be no better than that which has been less distilled. Don’t fall in to the marketing trap.
Expensive or ‘Premium’ vodka doesn’t burn your throat…
All vodkas will produce a slight burn but this largely depends on the temperature of the liquid. If people choose to drink vodka on its own without a mixer or juice, they will always have ice in the drink. This is because the lower temperatures of the vodka suppress the burning sensation which enables a less traumatic drinking experience altogether. This is the same with whisky, gin or any other alcoholic spirit in general.
So, which one do you buy (Is expensive vodka worth it?)
Well, as is the same with everything in life, its all a matter of preference. There really is a huge variety of vodka’s available but again, it’s a matter of context, style & strength. Some of the good quality UK vodka’s such as Au, Boe & Sipsmith are as superior as the European brands such as Stolichnaya, Skyy & Ciroc. If you want a vodka that pairs well with mixers or juices, you’re going to want to veer towards the unflavoured products. Again, in this category there are expensive products and cheap products. Smirnoff is an excellent benchmark, good quality, good price. If you want to go a little fancier you could opt for a Grey Goose or Belvedere.
If you’re looking to make cocktails – the vanilla, citrus and berry tasting vodkas are extremely popular. Absolut, Ciroc and Smirnoff all have an amazing range of flavours, at a very reasonable price.
If you’re trotting off to a house party or buying a bottle as a gift, and you’re looking for something to wow the other party-goers, you’ll want something that looks amazing, tastes reasonable but doesn’t cost a bomb. Crystal Head, Mamont or DQ all have bottles designed to shock the eyes and will always go down a storm at communal drinking affairs.
If you’re in the 18-25 category and you’re either pre-drinking before a night out or are looking to take drinks to a party, the flavoured, coloured and ‘insta-famous’ brands are perhaps more for you. Au & Ciroc have an extremely good range of coloured and flavoured vodkas that are very popular among the younger demographic.
We hope that this article has dispelled some of the common myths surrounding vodka and that you feel more informed when you next come to purchase. Most of them taste the same unless they are a particular flavour, your hangover still depends on consumption levels and the distilling process is only relevant if its less than 5 times. Having said all of that, the only major difference between cheap and expensive vodka is, well…. the price. We have listed some of our favourites below to help you decide which one to go for, don’t worry – there isn’t any from the bottom shelf…
- Au Pineapple Crush – excellent for summery weather, outdoor events or pre drinking with friends.
- Boe Azzurra – But Boe make gin, don’t they? Not anymore, check out their range of vodka’s now!
- Grey Goose La Poire – Fruity, light and ‘pears’ well with tonic, soda or lemonade.
- Sipsmith Sipping Vodka – for the well-educated vodka connoisseur.
- Belvedere – Classic, elegant, supreme.
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