Want to save the world? Drink vodka. There seems to be a vodka to benefit every charitable endeavor. Want to help the environment? Look to Good Vodka. Care about LGBTQ+ issues? Live Proud and Supergay benefit that demographic. Animal rights, political causes, local community outreach. There’s a vodka for that.
Why vodka, and not, say gin or whiskey or rum? First of all, because vodka sells. “Vodka is the most consumed spirit within the category,” explains Danny Lafuente, CEO/cofounder, Simple Spirits Company, which makes a potato vodka that raises funds to benefit hunger relief organizations. “As opposed to changing consumer behavior, and in order to maximize impact, we wanted to meet them where they already were.”
Second, the seeming neutrality of the spirit means that consumers often are less attached to specific brands. “People will call for a Jack and Coke on one hand but then ask for a vodka soda on the other,” Lafuente notes. In addition, vodka is quicker and less expensive to produce, particularly compared to spirits that require space and time to age.
“As women and members of the LGBTQ+ community, our goal was to provide as much support to civil and human rights organizations as possible and as quickly as possible,” explains Beth Hohlier, CEO of Live Proud Spirits. “Thus vodka being our first spirit. It doesn’t require any aging and is able to go to market quicker.”
The amazing thing about vodka is that it can be distilled from nearly anything. Of the recent batch of spirits reviewed, you’ll find examples made from spent coffee fruit, mesquite beans, olives and even agave, a material usually reserved for Tequila.
But perhaps the most innovative was from upstart Air Co., distilled solely from carbon dioxide and water—not grain, fruit or any of the other usual suspects. The end result: a carbon-neutral vodka, ideal for those seeking to help the environment—through drinking vodka, of course.
Airem Organic Vodka; $35, 94 points. Light, crisp and complex, this is an ideal vodka to mix into Bloody Marys, thanks to echoes of celery leaf and fennel seed. It finishes on a grapefruit peel note. Made from wheat.
Purity Vodka Super 17 Premium; $25, 94 points. Clean and pristine, this polished vodka finishes with bracing lemon astringency and a white pepper sizzle. It’s made from Swedish winter wheat and barley.
Beluga Allure Vodka; $35, 93 points. Released as a special edition to celebrate the brand’s own polo team, this vodka is rested for 60 days before bottling. The aroma is mostly neutral, with a faint whiff of almond. The featherlight palate shows hints of charcoal and white and black pepper sparks. It’s packaged in a brown leather label secured with tiny gold buckles.
Prairie Organic Vodka; $20, 91 points. Distilled from organic corn, look for nuanced vanilla-tinged sweetness on nose and palate of this vodka. The crisp finish is brightened by sparks of white pepper and ginger. Best Buy.
Chase English Potato Vodka; $33, 90 points. A faint almond note leads the nose and palate. This soft, earthy vodka layers a wisp of vanilla, leading into a clove-accented finish.
Crystal Head Onyx Vodka; $55, 90 points. Packaged in a black, skull-shaped bottle, this vodka is distilled from agave. Expect faint honey notes on nose and palate, leading into distinct accents of coconut and clove on the finish.
Good Liquorworks Vodka; $30, 90 points. A sustainable-minded newcomer designed to reduce waste and support farms, this vodka is distilled from discarded coffee fruit sourced in Colombia, though the product is distilled and bottled in New York State. The warm aroma suggests cocoa and tropical fruit. Those notes are echoed on the robust palate, which finishes with a fruity tang and a white pepper tingle.
Kastra Elion Vodka; $55, 90 points. A mix of Greek olives and grains are distilled into this smooth, slightly buttery vodka. Each sip opens with mild almond sweetness and winds into a faint, mouthwatering touch of salinity.
Live Proud Vodka; $25, 90 points. Distilled from corn, this vodka has a neutral aroma and relatively sweet palate. Mild vanilla and almond tones segue into a brisk, citrusy finish, bright with peppery spice and a hint of lemon peel. For every bottle sold, $1 benefits nationally recognized civil rights charities.
Oncore Vodka; $15, 90 points. Distilled from beets, this vodka has a light, peppery palate and a flinty undertone. Finishing crisp, this will please those who prefer neutrality in vodka. Best Buy.
Supergay Craft Vodka; $29, 90 points. A percentage of profits from this “farm to disco” vodka benefits LGBTQ organizations. Distilled from corn, look for mellow butterscotch sweetness on nose and palate. A mouthwatering saline hint on the finish fleetingly evokes salted caramel. Mix into White Russians and other rich drinks.
Air Co. Vodka; $65, 89 points. This is a truly innovative vodka that’s distilled solely from carbon dioxide and water. The result is a faintly floral aroma and a surprisingly weighty feel. Overall, the palate is neutral, showing only subtle hints of vanilla and graphite. The finish is drying, with an unusual lingering, puckering feel, and a hint of white pepper on the tip of the tongue.