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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What We’re Drinking Now: A New Crop of Premium Vodkas

Think that if you’ve tasted one vodka you’ve tried them all? Not anymore. Vodka is in the midst of a modern-day makeover thanks to a growing number of bartenders and distillers daring to revamp the spirit’s image. We recently tasted a number of newer premium vodkas that had made their way to our sample table here at Imbibe HQ—here are five of our favorites:

Has a vodka ever generated as much buzz as this recent release from Absolut? A big-brand entry into the “handcrafted” spirits category, this vodka is copper-pot-distilled from winter wheat grown on a single estate in southern Sweden, with an equally impressive flavor profile to match. It’s soft and subtly sweet up front, with a bit of black pepper spice and toasted grain mid-palate, followed by a clean, mellow finish. A vodka worth sipping and savoring? Definitely. ($50/1 liter SRP)

Texas is grapefruit territory, and perhaps no one knows that better than Austin-based distiller Deep Eddy. Fusing fresh-squeezed flavors of ruby reds with their supremely smooth classic vodka, this citrus-spiked sipper is plump and juicy from start to finish—we’re seriously impressed by how well they’ve preserved the freshness of the fruit flavor. A splash of soda and a squeeze of lime and our summertime porch sipping is set. ($18 SRP)

The Michigan-based spirits company beloved for its freshly flavored liqueurs (think blood orange, cucumber and even yumberry) recently launched its first plain vodka. Distilled from organic grains, it’s sweet and creamy (we found it reminiscent of ice cream and sweetened condensed milk) and left us with a hankering for a White Russian. ($20 SRP)

Bloody Mary, meet your vodka match. Made from distilled grains and soaked with a bouquet of bay seasonings (think crushed bay leaves, celery, paprika and loads of red pepper spice), each sip starts out salty as the sea, before the hit of mouthwatering spice. ($26 SRP)

What do you get when you combine potatoes, water and yeast? If you’re Colorado-based Woody Creek Distilleries, you end up with some delicious vodka. Three varieties of potatoes get washed and mashed at the distillery before a single fermentation, leaving lots of subtle nuances in tact. It’s sweet and creamy with a balance of fresh fruit flavors and a backbone of earthy spice. ($40 SRP)