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vodka suggestions (merged)


alphaiii
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Hey everyone, I stumbled on this site recently when reading some liquor reviews on the net.

Anyway, I've been sampling some different vodkas lately, but I'm getting kind of tired of buying entire bottles just to find out I'm not overly impressed.

So I was hoping you guys could give me a little input on what vodkas you think would be good.

First, I'm looking for a mixing vodka, since I enjoy vodka and cranberry. Obviously, it wouldn't make sense to spend alot on a vodka to mix it, so I figure a good middle of the road one would do fine. I tried Finlandia, and it works well as a mixer, but it even seems a bit pricey for this purpose ($18). I think Stoli is a good mixer, but I don't enjoy it straight, and it's even more expensive than Finlandia. I know Smirnoff is popular, but I think it's rubbing alcohol, and far from worth buying, regardless of what it's used for. What about Skyy, Luksusowa, or Wyborowa? The latter two seem to have some followers, and all are around $15.

I'd also like to have a better vodka around for chilled shots or the occasional martini. I tried Rain, and it's pretty smooth and thick. How does it stack up against say, Pearl, Glacier, or Van Hoo, all of which run about $20 a fifth? I really don't want to go much about the $20, since I'm not an aficionado, I just want a little better quality vodka for whenever I get the urge.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Also, in general, what should I keep in mind when comparing grain vs. rye vs. potato vodkas?

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If you're mixing, then obviously don't spend any extra $$$...my personal favorite, and very cheap, btw, is Burnett's. Normally, I do Burnett's vanilla with cola, but their unflavored is FINE for dirty martinis. Even in WA state, it runs under $10 a fifth...

Cheers! (where in the HELL did I put those damn olives???...)

In everything satiety closely follows the greatest pleasures. -- Cicero

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Pearl has gotten some good reviews in this thread.

For more information on vodkas (and infusing as well), click here for a long thread on the subject.

I've been buying Svedka for mixing and find it to be decent and a good value.

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I wouldn't spend the money on Pearl if you're going to mix it with cranberry. Sky is a good mixer vodka and is a reasonable price.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Perhaps it is being in the biz, but if I can't or won't drink it straight, I won't use it to mix.

Now there is a line that is drawn with regard to that statement. For instance, I'd never mix JWBlue. But I have no qualms with spending the extra baht for a decent vodka. The reasons that you'd not drink it straight are the exact reasons that your head will feel the next morning even though it was combined with juices.

Skyy is fairly economical choice. Luksusowa is a preference by my parents, but I really don't care for it.

And I trust if lovely Marlene wouldn't mix Pearl, I wouldn't either -- not having the pleasure of sampling same as of yet. :biggrin:

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I think Svedka is a very good vodka, maybe even an excellent one. I find it to be quite similar to Belvedere and, as such, will likely never purchase a bottle of "premium" vodka for my home.

Fris is also quite good.

Both Svedka and Fris are about $20 per 1.75l in Chicago. I use both in vodka martinis and have no complaints at all

I'm no expert but I've tried quite a few of the big names, Turi, Ciroc, Vox, Van Gogh, Chopin, et al., and, so far, I think Van Gogh is my fave. I think Skyy's okay, Absolut I like a little more. I once had a Smirnoff rocks with a lime that was tough to get down...

I strongly urge you to pick up a $10 liter of Svedka. You may not like it as much as I do but I'd be very surprised if you found it to be less than adequate for mixed drinks.

Your mileage may vary...

Kurt

“I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake--which I also keep handy.” ~W.C. Fields

The Handy Snake

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runninwithscissors, Burnett's is only $7.49 a fifth in PA. But I've had Burnett's gin, and if the vodka runs about the same quality, I can't see myelf enjoying it much. I tend to make my drinks strong, and not mask the liquor. So bottem shelf usually doesn't turn out too good, althought I haven't had Burnett's vodka, so it may not be all that bad.

JAZ, is Svedka along the same line as Absolut? Both are Swedish vodka, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. I think Absolut is a very harsh vodka, so if Svedka is similar I may not like it too much. Although, at only 10.99 right now, it is tempting to pick up a bottle.

stephenc, I can't drink Banker's Club. Like I said, I like to make my drink strong, so I can taste the liquor. I'm not claiming to be able to discern between all brands in mixed drinks, but it usually isn't too difficult to tell the difference between a bottom shelf vodka and a decent, middle of the road vodka. But also, cheap liquor typically equals worse headaches. I just have this aversion from anything that comes in plastic bottles. Too many college parties with cheap cheap liquor.

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I wouldn't spend the money on Pearl if you're going to mix it with cranberry. Sky is a good mixer vodka and is a reasonable price.

I wouldn't buy Pearl for mixing. I was askin about it for shots out of the freezer or for in martinis. Its a little pricey to be mixing.

Skyy is reasonable price for mixing, so if it works good as a mixer it'd be a suitable choice.

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Perhaps it is being in the biz, but if I can't or won't drink it straight, I won't use it to mix.

Now there is a line that is drawn with regard to that statement. For instance, I'd never mix JWBlue. But I have no qualms with spending the extra baht for a decent vodka. The reasons that you'd not drink it straight are the exact reasons that your head will feel the next morning even though it was combined with juices.

Skyy is fairly economical choice. Luksusowa is a preference by my parents, but I really don't care for it.

And I trust if lovely Marlene wouldn't mix Pearl, I wouldn't either -- not having the pleasure of sampling same as of yet. :biggrin:

I tend to agree with your first statment, somewhat at least. For a mixing vodka, I don't expect to want to drink it straight, but I do expect to be able to do a shot without my throat melting and me cringing. So while I dont need premium vodka for mixing, I just can't make myself buy the cheap stuff. And I hear you on the cheap liquor headaches. Although, it's easy to give yourself a headache with any liquor if you're not careful. But typically, yes the cheap stuff is worse in that regard.

Do you perceive Luksusowa as being hot? Alot of people/reviews say that about potato vodkas, but then others say they are creamier and smoother.

Another vote for skyy....seems to be a safe bet then.

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I think Svedka is a very good vodka, maybe even an excellent one. I find it to be quite similar to Belvedere and, as such, will likely never purchase a bottle of "premium" vodka for my home.

Fris is also quite good.

Both Svedka and Fris are about $20 per 1.75l in Chicago. I use both in vodka martinis and have no complaints at all

I'm no expert but I've tried quite a few of the big names, Turi, Ciroc, Vox, Van Gogh, Chopin, et al., and, so far, I think Van Gogh is my fave. I think Skyy's okay, Absolut I like a little more. I once had a Smirnoff rocks with a lime that was tough to get down...

I strongly urge you to pick up a $10 liter of Svedka. You may not like it as much as I do but I'd be very surprised if you found it to be less than adequate for mixed drinks.

Your mileage may vary...

Kurt

I may have to try Svedka, since some here seem to like it and it's inexpensive.

As for Fris, I found it on par with Absolut, harsh with a strong alcohol smell. Not one I'd get again, when I can get Finlandia for the same price, depending on what sales are running.

I guess everyone has different tastes is all. While I dislike Fris and Absolut, you like them both better than say Skyy. I do feel Absolut and Fris are suitable for mixing, but I just think there are others that I would probably find less harsh that are also cheaper.

I do agree about Smirnoff though. The stuff is just not good. I'd definitely give Sevdka a try before spending a little more on Smirnoff.

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Just curious if anyone has tried 3 Olives flavored line, or the original for that matter.

The flavored only run $12.99 a bottle in PA right now, so I thought about picking up a bottle of the raspberry. I normally don't get flavored stuff, but since I'd only use it to mix with cranberry, it could make for a good cran-raspberry drink.

I've never had original 3 Olives so I don't even know how good of a vodka that is.

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I haven't tried many vodkas and would like to try Luksusowa after reading these posts, but I expected someone to mention Grey Goose. I find it to be very good for mixing and never have had a headache the next morning. So, I'm wondering what take you guys have on it. I've had Absolut, will never buy it again.

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I haven't tried many vodkas and would like to try Luksusowa after reading these posts, but I expected someone to mention Grey Goose.  I find it to be very good for mixing and never have had a headache the next morning.  So, I'm wondering what take you guys have on it.  I've had Absolut, will never buy it again.

I think Grey Goose is very good for mixing, but at $26 a bottle, I won't be buying it anytime soon for that purpose.

I drank Goose and tonic or cranberry at a wedding reception all night (hey it was free, why not ask for it over Absolut or Stoli) and felt great the next day - no headache. I know this fits in that alcohol abuse discussion, but when it's open bar and I have my pick of the shelf, I'll go for the best available.

Edited by alphaiii (log)
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Just curious if anyone has tried 3 Olives flavored line, or the original for that matter.

The flavored only run $12.99 a bottle in PA right now, so I thought about picking up a bottle of the raspberry. I normally don't get flavored stuff, but since I'd only use it to mix with cranberry, it could make for a good cran-raspberry drink.

I've never had original 3 Olives so I don't even know how good of a vodka that is.

First, pardon my manners for not welcoming you to eG. Always happy to see new discussion. :cool:

Three Olives is a decent product. Currently we sell more Three Olives Cherry than our well vodka or our other huge seller, Jäger. I don't find the flavouring as overpowering as Absolut's flavours. Bombs are all the rage in Cleveland, most unfortunately. Me, I really don't care for drinks containing energy sodas....

I'm surprised Sam hasn't piped up with a suggestion of Brilliant. I understand it is a very clean vodka at a fairly good price.

I reside in draconian oHIo whose liquor laws are a thousand times more awful than our neighbouring friendly state of PA, thusly limiting my tastings to when I travel elsewhere.

There are far too many vodka choices! :raz:

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As for Fris, I found it on par with Absolut, harsh with a strong alcohol smell.  Not one I'd get again, when I can get Finlandia for the same price, depending on what sales are running.

I guess everyone has different tastes is all.  While I dislike Fris and Absolut, you like them both better than say Skyy.  I do feel Absolut and Fris are suitable for mixing, ...

Yep, different strokes... I don't find Fris or Absolut remotely harsh but I find Skyy to be slightly so and with the faintest smell of rubbing alcohol that you find in Absolut. Weird.

I agree that Finlandia is a better choice than Fris, Absolut and Skyy if the price is roughly the same but Finlandia is several dollars more in Chi so Svedka is an easy choice. I'm very interested in trying Luksusowa sometime soon.

I've had the 3 Olives raspberry and liked it quite well. I think the Stoli raspberry is as good but slightly different. I don't know that I would pick one over the other except by price. It was interesting to note just how superior both were to the Smirnoff raspberry.

A Cosmo-style drink with raspberry vodka is a nice change of pace. Somewhere in the 'hood of 2.5 oz rasp. vodka, 1 oz cranberry juice, .5 oz Roses, shaken, strained and garnished with lime should work well enough.

Rasp. vodka, and soda (or 7up or tonic) with a wedge of lime is a refreshing summer drink.

Kurt

“I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake--which I also keep handy.” ~W.C. Fields

The Handy Snake

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You can't really beat Wyborowa for a quality (good value) house pour... A vodka with character and credibility that shines both with a mixer and frozen.

Ketel 1 and Ketel 1 Citron are also great frozen shots, especially for those extra dry martini fans. It has a kind of slatey dryness and is lush when chilled.

Cheers

Vist Barbore to see the Scottish scene.

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I agree that Finlandia is a better choice than Fris, Absolut and Skyy if the price is roughly the same but Finlandia is several dollars more in Chi so Svedka is an easy choice.  I'm very interested in trying Luksusowa sometime soon.

I've had the 3 Olives raspberry and liked it quite well.  I think the Stoli raspberry is as good but slightly different.  I don't know that I would pick one over the other except by price.   It was interesting to note just how superior both were to the Smirnoff raspberry.

Kurt

Yeah Finlandia is usually a couple bucks more than Skyy and Fris, which run the same price ($16), but it's on sale fairly often, and ends up being the same price as the others. So in that case I would grab a bottle of the Finlandia.

But with Luksusowa running $12 on sale, or Svedka running $11 on sale; if they are suitable or better yet quality mixers, then why spend more on something else. I'll likely give both of these a try due to some recommendations from folks here and the inexpensive price tag.

I am definitely gonna pick up a bottle of the 3 Olives Raspberry. It's pretty inexpensive too. I got to try the vanilla and was actually pretty pleased. The vanilla tasted fairly natural, and was kind of subtle. I don't know that I'd buy the vanilla, since my typical mixed drink with vodka is a vodka and cranberry, and I see a raspberry vodka fitting better for that. And I prefer mixing spiced rum with coke over vanilla vodka and coke. But I wouldn't turn it down if it was offered to me.

The 3 Olives is way better than Grey Goose vanilla, which tasted very medicinal, almost like robitussin or something, and is about 1/2 the price. It's also much better than Smirnoff vanilla (but then again most are).

Edited by alphaiii (log)
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The 3 Olives is way better than Grey Goose vanilla, which tasted very medicinal, almost like robitussin or something, and is about 1/2 the price. It's also much better than Smirnoff vanilla (but then again most are).

I am not a fan of Grey Goose, and never have been. I still encourage you to try the Pearl. Just don't mix it with Cranberry. It is perfect straight from the freezer or with some vermouth for a marvelous martini :smile:

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I still encourage you to try the Pearl. Just don't mix it with Cranberry. It is perfect straight from the freezer or with some vermouth for a marvelous martini :smile:

I do plan on trying Pearl. But since I still have about a 1/3 of a bottle of Rain in the freezer that is satisfactory for chilled shots, I'll probably wait until I finish that.

I just want to pick up some vodka for mixing, since I hate to waste the Rain on that, even though it's not terribly expensive.

BTW, which vermouth do you prefer? Vya and Noilly Prat seem to be popular. I can't get Vya in PA though. Is Martini & Rossi a safe bet also? That the only big name vermouth I knew of before taking interest in martinis or finding this board.

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I like Noilly Prat when I can get it. However, in the maze that is the LCBO in Ontario, it seems that I can only ever find Martini & Rossi, so that's what I use most of the time.

Edited to add: Upon a search, it appears the LCBO may in fact be stocking Noilly Prat now. I shall have to drop by one today and see!

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I made the trip to the LCBO today to aquire some Noilly Prat. Of course, then I had to try it with the Pearl vodka for a martini as I had not had a chance before to pair this vermouth with Pearl.

What can I say? I'm in heaven. I may even throw out my bottle of Martini Rossi. Crisp, clear, some citrus notes, but way way better than the Rossi in my opinion. :smile:

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Well, today I stopped by the liquor store and grabbed a bottle of 3 Olives Raspberry and a bottle of Svedka, and I grabbed one of the little 50ml Ketel One bottles to try it out.

I definitely like the 3 Olives, both with cranberry and a chilled shot. It's not a smooth as some, but better than more and has a pretty good flavor to it. For the price I'll probably make it a staple around the house.

The Ketel One is pretty good stuff. I can see why it has so many followers. I don't plan on buying a fifth anytime soon, since I would like to try Pearl next. Nonetheless, Ketel gets my approval.

The Svedka I wasn't too thrilled with. I only tried a chilled shot of it. It'll be fine for mixing, but that is the only thing I'll use it for. Since it is so inexpensive, I will probably end up buying it again.

One vodka I would like to see in PA is Pinnacle, the "new" vodka out of France. I was in NY in June visiting my brother, and I grabbed a bottle on the way home for $11-something. For that price, I would be content using it as my "house" vodka. It was actually a decent vodka, and it mixed very well.

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