If I could aspire to be anything in this world, it is the vodka aunt. I know, I’m a man, but I’ve been told my entire life that I should never let go of my dreams. And all I want in this world is to drunkenly coach from the sidelines at my future niece’s soccer game with a martini disguised as a Dunkin’ Donuts hot coffee.
For those of you who don’t know, today, October 4, is National Vodka Day, so I am taking off work. As somebody who has been drinking vodka for far longer than his age would make it seem, I would consider the bitey, cold-hearted spirit a long-time friend. A buddy. A groomsman at my wedding. But, here’s the thing: because I have been drinking vodka for so long, I’ve become way pickier in recent years.
I started my passion for vodka as a wee teenager sneaking whatever my father was using for Sunday pasta vodka dishes into a crumpled-up water bottle I’d take to the park down the street with my friends. I have a theory that every county in the United States has its own brand of bottom-shelf vodka that no one crossing the county line will know about, and in my area of northern New Jersey, her name was Majorska. And she was filthy.
Majorska turned into Smirnoff which turned into Svedka which turned into Kettle One and eventually turned into Tito’s, but as an adult that tends to pride himself on what’s inside his cup, I simply need a little more these days. And you deserve more, too.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll slug a Tito’s club with three limes like it’s my job, but I’ve recently become a little more passionate about different vodka brands that you really need to know about. From the best cheap vodka to pricier bottles currently sitting at the very top of my bar cart, here are 5 vodka brands I’m sipping today to celebrate National Vodka Day.
1. Humboldt Organic Vodka
Humboldt has become my favorite vodka this summer for any and all purposes. It’s got a super smooth taste that mixes vanilla and citrus together that makes a fine martini or, for you chaotic folks out there, a scrumptious shot. Out of every vodka I’ve sunk down solo this season, this is the easiest to drink straight in my Humboldt opinion (hah, get it?) and it goes down as easy as water. Okay, that’s a lie. But you know what I mean. It’s smooth and I’m a serious fan.
2. The Community Spirit Vodka
I’m the type of person that walks around the liquor store and thinks, “oh, I love this bottle.” That’s how the majority of bottles end up on my bar cart these days. Just because it’s pretty. The Community Spirit Vodka has that exact look I seek out when placing a new bottle of booze on my cart. And, thankfully, it’s got a taste that matches. This vodka has a light and bright taste to it that makes you open your eyes a little more after each sip. Think of it as the wake-up call of flavorless vodkas and something that pairs way too well with your go-to mixer.
3. YoCo Vodka
There’s something about the words “distilled in Tennessee” that makes me a little tingly inside. If any US state knows alcohol, it is Tennessee. I’ve made way too many drunken mistakes in Nashville that can agree. This is the kind of vodka that you drink when you want one that both tastes great and allows for bad decisions. This is a country music festival in a bottle, a backyard fall barbecue done right, a cabin retreat con hot tub, a wild ride of a night you’ll never forget. For all my partygoers out there, YoCo has your name written all over it.
Best part? YoCo is currently selling this stuff for 15% off in celebration of National Vodka Day. Just use code YOCO15 at checkout and you should be good to go!
4. St. George Green Chile Vodka
Looking for a little bit of flavor? Turn up the heat with St. George this season. Let me get something straight here: I love flavored vodka, but I almost always hate chile-flavored vodka. Something about it for me tastes way too much like food and I’m unable to stomach more than just a few sips. For folks that are missing out on that spicy vodka lifestyle like myself, St. George’s Green Chile Vodka is 100% for you. This vodka makes for an excellent cocktail (or shot straight-up, if you’re ballsy) because of how well-flavored it is. It’s not overbearing, it’s not too foody — it’s essentially the Goldilocks of chile-flavored vodka. A simple 10 out of 10 from me.
5. American Harvest Vodka
Bloody Mary gang, wya? Screwdriver girlies? Anyone drinking vodka in the morning for brunch-related purposes? Open your eyes to American Harvest Vodka. American Harvest has created some of my favorite brunchy beverages this past season for a wide-eyed late-morning cocktail accompanying any $18 avocado toast. It’s got a clean taste that doesn’t feel too aggressive and is made 100% from US products. You can’t beat that!