The best spirits for vodka martinis and more — Photo courtesy of bhofack2 / iStock Via Getty Images
Vodka has changed. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as the neutral spirit has consistently proven as versatile as the ever-changing market itself.
But when vodka was once reserved for a flawless martini, now vodka brands are experimenting with infused and flavored options, while others are going grain-free and prioritizing sustainable messaging. That’s to say: There are more vodka brands than ever, ranging from premium sipping vodka to complex infusions that add depth and dimension to vodka cocktails.
Instead of reaching for your favorite vodka this season, try these 10 nontraditional vodkas for your next party, or to give as a great host gift. Or just sit back and sip a new craft spirit for yourself.
Kástra Elión vodka is distilled from Greek olives — Photo courtesy of Kástra Elión
If you love a dirty vodka martini, Kástra Elión vodka should be your new go-to. The premium spirit is distilled from hand-picked Greek olives and blended with curated grains and natural spring water. The result is a full-bodied, smooth vodka with a hint of olives and pepper.
The striking white decanter, crafted from Italian glass and decorated in Greece with minimal navy branding, is a statement bottle for the bar cart.
Kástra Elión also offers cocktail olives and olive brine sourced from the Nafpaktos region in Greece for an ultimate gifting bundle.
St. George Green Chile Vodka
St. George Green Chile Vodka has some kick — Photo courtesy of St. George Spirits
From Alameda, California, St. George Spirits is a craft distillery that offers flavorful varieties of the classics, like this green chile vodka.
The profile of jalapeños, serranos, habañeros, and bell peppers might be something you’d see with tequila, but master distiller Lance Winter showcases how the spicy herbaceous notes and vodka are a pair to be reckoned with.
Traditional vodka soda drinkers will love swapping this in to appreciate the complexities of the spirit — soft layers of sweet heat and a kick of cilantro and lime — but it also effortlessly elevates a Bloody Mary.
Barr Hill Vodka
There are four pounds of raw honey in every bottle of Barr Hill Vodka — Photo courtesy of Caledonia Spirits
It’s no secret that distilling alcohol presents environmental implications, especially for a spirit that’s historically reliant on grains like rye and wheat. Barr Hill Vodka leads the pack on a more sustainable future for vodka by using honey.
Distilled in Montpelier, Vermont, Barr Hill uses four pounds of raw honey in every bottle. The honey is never distilled more than twice by head distiller, Ryan Christansen, which allows for a viscous and velvety mouthfeel. The succulent finish can undoubtedly be traced back to the wild botanicals of the honey.
Serve Barr Hill vodka in a cosmopolitan to add a slight sweetness to the tangy cocktail, or in something like this Montpelier Mule mixed with ginger beer.
Belvedere 10 is as stunning as the bottle it comes in — Photo courtesy of Belvedere
The newest iteration from the luxury Polish vodka brand commemorates Belvedere’s origins, dating back to 1910 when the distillery was first established.
It’s not just about the year. Belvedere 10 vodka is created by a 10-step process, including a 10-month rest to allow flavor maturation and textural development. The modular bottle, which is meant to look like cut diamonds, stands 10 levels tall.
The deliciously silky vodka is produced from a single harvest of organic diamond rye grown in a single field in northeast Poland. The creamy mouthfeel has notes of caramel and green coffee on the palate (some coconut and lemon on the nose).
There’s no better way to indulge than a bone dry martini with a twist of lemon or simply, on the rocks.
The premium Haku Vodka is made from white rice — Photo courtesy of House of Suntory
This premium Japanese craft vodka from House of Suntory fuses tradition and innovation. Made from Japanese white rice, Haku Vodka is filtered through a bamboo charcoal system. This allows the charcoal to absorb the distillate’s impurities while the minerals from the bamboo add a softness to the liquid.
The result is a lovely rounded texture with a hint of sweetness and complexity. It’s just the thing to try in an espresso martini with an orange twist.
The Community Spirit Vodka
This ultra-smooth vodka is five-times distilled and filtered with activated coconut carbon — Photo courtesy of The Community Spirit Vodka
The Community Spirit Vodka starts with 100 percent American corn that’s distilled five times and filtered with activated coconut carbon. It’s ultra smooth and a joy to drink.
The Community Spirit is more than just another vodka; purpose has been at the forefront of the vodka brand. In 2022, the company contributed 24 percent of revenue and resources to underrepresented and marginalized communities, including LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC.
In March 2023, the company achieved B Corp certification, meaning it meets high standards of performance, accountability, and transparency. Drinking a cocktail with purpose never tasted better.
Ketel One Botanical Vodkas
Ketel One Botanical is a thoughtful host gift — Photo courtesy of Ketel One
Flavored vodkas have come a long way. Where once they were heavy handed with artificial flavors, Ketel One’s Botanical vodkas are more nuanced. Distilled with natural botanicals and infused with fruit essences, these vodkas are clean, crisp, herbal or citrusy.
Available in Grapefruit & Rose, Cucumber & Mint, and Peach & Orange Blossom, you need little more than ice, a spritz of sparkling water, and a fruit garnish. The bottles themselves are beautifully labeled, making this a useful and thoughtful gift for hosts who may not be experienced mixologists.
JCB Caviar-Infused Vodka
JCB Caviar-Infused Vodka takes the classic pairing to new levels — Photo courtesy of JCB Collection
Caviar and vodka have long been a favored pairing, but JCB Caviar-Infused Vodka blends the two together in one.
First the spirit is distilled from pinot noir and chardonnay that was barrel-aged for six months. It’s then distilled seven times, charcoal-filtered four times, and infused with sturgeon caviar from southwest France.
Lush and savory, sip this ice cold for the ultimate indulgence alongside extra caviar and blinis. But it’s also great on its own.
Anytime Farmhouse Vodka
Anytime Farmhouse Vodka is the first Regenerative Organic Certified vodka on the market — Photo courtesy of Anytime
Making sustainable spirits their mission, Anytime Farmhouse Vodka crafts their vodka from regenerative organic wheat grown in Hudson, New York. It’s even the first Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC) vodka on the market.
All the grain is milled, mashed, fermented, and distilled on-site at the distillery. The terroir-driven vodka presents vegetal notes against a soft texture that harmonizes delightfully in vodka cocktails like vodka tonic, gimlet, or a classic vodka martini.
Dirty Devil Vodka
Dirty Devil Vodka is made with hyper-oxygenated water for an ultra-smooth texture — Photo courtesy of Dirty Devil Vodka
There’s nothing dirty about the pristinely smooth Dirty Devil Vodka. Made with Canadian corn and hyper-oxygenated water, a process that creates nano-bubbles to change the density and viscosity of the water used, this vodka has a satiny texture that’s hard to beat.
Try this vodka in one of the brand’s signature cocktails, like the Orange You A Devil with vermouth, triple sec, and a dash of orange bitters.