10 New Flavored Vodkas to Try
Just two years ago, it seemed like the flood of flavored vodkas would never end. Every week another new flavor hit the shelves, often eye-catching variations like smoked salmon or pickle (yes, both are actual vodka flavors).
Today, the flood hasn’t quite stopped—but the rushing waters seem to be shifting. Judging by the latest crop of new flavored vodkas (and by “new,” we mean new to the U.S. market in the last couple of years), fewer confected cake- and candy-flavored vodkas are rolling out, while spicy and “spiced” flavors are enjoying a modest uptick. Fruity flavors remain stalwart contenders.
That said, vodka—including flavored vodka—remains a robust category. Vodka remained the number one-selling spirits category in 2013, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, with flavored vodkas driving a significant portion of sales.
But when the rush to novelty subsides, that leaves room to focus on craftsmanship. Some of the most pleasant surprises among this month’s offerings came from Seattle microdistiller Oola. Although Contributing Editor and Washington resident Paul Gregutt has sung Oola’s praises before, this was the first time their “grain-to-glass” spirits have come up for review—and their vodkas flavored with
rosemary, citrus and chili pepper lived up to the high billing.
Built on a base spirit distilled from organic Washington State wheat, the Oola line overall had slightly higher alcohol levels (42% abv, in a category where most range from 35–40%), but across the board these were the flavored vodkas that most closely resembled freshly-infused spirits made at the bar or at home. If this is an example of what flavored vodka can be, then it’s easy to support opening the floodgates for more flavored vodkas to come.
(USA; Chatham Imports, New York, NY). A must-have for autumn cocktails, this amber-hued vodka is redolent of pumpkin pie and baking spices, and has a slight vanilla sweetness. Rich and full–bodied, some might mistake this for pumpkin-flavored whiskey rather than vodka.
abv: 35% Price: $28
(USA; Campari America, San Francisco, CA). Coconutty and lightly sweet, with just a hint of lemon and a clean finish. A top pick for breezy variations on pina coladas and other tropical drinks. It’s surprisingly sippable straight up too. Best Buy.
abv: 35% Price: $19
(Holland; Van Gogh Imports, Orlando, FL). Give this ode to a childhood favorite a chance. Clear in the glass, it has an enticing scent that evokes an actual peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s very sweet on the palate, dominated by the peanut flavor, though the grape flavor comes through on the finish. It’s addictive and makes for wonderfully campy cocktail ideas, including dessert drinks.
abv: 35% Price: $27
(USA; Devotion Spirits, Bridgeport, PA). The succulent aroma, like black cherries in syrup from a can, ready for cherry pie, makes this vodka remarkable. The flavor is almost completely neutral, with just the faintest suggestion of cherry in the brisk finish. Best Buy.
abv: 40% Price: $20
(USA; Oola Distillery, Seattle, WA). A refreshing addition to the summer drinks arsenal, this vodka could be mistaken for an infusion just made in the kitchen. The fragrance and flavor are true to fresh rosemary, plus a kick of ginger on the palate. Splash in grapefruit juice and simple syrup, or add tonic water, since this herbal vodka bears a passing resemblance to gin, for a modified G&T.
abv: 42% Price: $35
(Poland; Imperial Brands, Palm Beach Gardens, FL). Clean, light and relatively sweet, this lemony vodka evokes refreshing lemon sorbet and candied lemon peel. A little white-pepper heat on the finish adds delicacy and cuts the sweetness. Best Buy.
abv: 35% Price: $11
(Poland; Moët Hennessy USA, New York, NY). The bouquet offers aromas of mango and orange segments. On the palate, expect just a suggestion of fruitiness, with mango juiciness around the edges and into the gentle finish, rather than full-on fruit. As a result, it’s well-structured for sipping (if you don’t have a sweet tooth) or mixing (if you do).
abv: 40% Price: $35
(France; Diageo, Norwalk, CT). This bold vodka has a big marzipan aroma and a sweet, lingering almond flavor, with touches of maple and baking spice, and a surprisingly elongated finish for a vodka. It reads almost like amaretto liqueur because of the sweetness, smoothness and weight.
abv: 35% Price: $30
(USA; Philadelphia Distilling, Philadelphia, PA). Made with Chesapeake Bay Seasoning from Maryland, this clear vodka has a surprisingly sweet, herbal aroma, hinting at dill and rosemary. The palate tells a more savory story, with a salty burst followed by cayenne and black pepper, and a clean finish. Mix up spicy bloody Marys, or follow the producer’s cue to try oyster shooters.
abv: 40% Price: $25/1 L
(Poland; Spud Partners, New York, NY). Light, mouthwatering and flavorful, this vodka features a fleeting sweetness at first, though it’s soon taken over by a woody lemongrass note, followed by spicy ginger on the finish. Use for Asian-inspired drinks, or pair alongside Asian dishes.
abv: 35% Price: $23
- 294 Crop Organic Spiced Pumpkin Vodka
- 393 Skyy Infusions Natural Coconut
- 493 Van Gogh PB&J Vodka
- 592 Devotion Vodka Wild Cherry
- 692 Oola Rosemary Flavored Vodka
- 792 Sobieski Lemon Meringue Vodka
- 891 Belvedere Mango Passion
- 990 Ciroc Premium Vodka Amaretto
- 1091 The Bay Seasoned Vodka
- 1190 Spud Ginger Lemongrass Flavored Vodka