Many people would say that vodka tastes like nothing. This is because vodka is a distilled spirit, and the taste of the grain or fruit that it is made from is removed during the distillation process. However, some vodkas do have a slightly sweet or fruity taste, or a touch of bitterness.
But that's not to say that a sip of vodka is like drinking water!
A more appropriate question to ask is perhaps: what does it feel like to drink vodka?
And the answer to that is "smooth". Vodka is a very smooth spirit, with a slight burn on the way down. This is because vodka is usually around 40% alcohol by volume, or 80 proof.
However, many vodkas have flavors added to them, so they can taste however you like. From citrus to spice and everything in between, there is probably the perfect-tasting vodka for you out there. And for those who are looking for a more interesting drink, vodka is also often made into cocktails.
In this article, I'll discuss the many different tastes of vodka and you can decide for yourself whether or not it is the drink for you!
How I Would Describe the Taste of Vodka
Because vodka in its purest form of ethanol and water is essentially tasteless (at least in terms of flavor), it's popular to add different flavors to it. Usually, chemicals are added to reproduce the desired flavor profile once the distillation process has finished.
Popular Vodka Flavors Around the World
There are many popular vodka flavorings including honey and pepper, citrus, fruit, ginger, chili, vanilla, and chocolate. Vodka flavor preference is strongly linked to where you grew up and the customs and traditions of your country.
Russia & Eastern Europe
If you are from Russia, a favorite vodka flavor is pertsovka, which is honey and pepper. If you are from a little further west such as Poland or Belarus, locals use bison grass to produce a slightly sweet vodka with a delicate amber color. In Poland, this is called żubrówka and in Belarus it is zubrovka. In Lithuania, their world-famous krupnik vodka is honey-flavored.
Vodka with natural flavors such as herbs, fruit, and roots are also popular in Poland and Ukraine. Distilling vodka is a popular pastime in these countries and many people love to make their own.
The people from Estonia seem to prefer their vodka with sweet flavors, and there you’re likely to find vodka flavored with vanilla, watermelon, lemon, apple, blackcurrant, barberry, and cherry.
If you’re from the Nordic countries a little further north, vodka is a popular drink during Christmas and the cooler seasons of autumn and winter. They like to flavor their vodka with spices, herbs, and fruits – anything to keep that winter chill at bay.
Swedish people love herb-flavored vodka (kryddat brännvin) and there are over forty varieties of that type alone!
Popular Vodka Colors
The color of or vodka also changes depending on what has been added to it after the distillation process. In its pure form of ethanol and water, vodka is clear and colorless—whereas vodka with color usually means that it has been flavored.
For example, pink vodka might be flavored with strawberries, cranberries, or rose wine, while black vodka might get its dark hue from the extract from the Uncaria Gambier trees of Asia.
Right now, whiskey is a popular spirit and some vodka manufacturers have started producing brown vodka to fit in with the crowd. Whether storing their vodka in whiskey barrels, mixing it with cognac, or adding caramel-colored flavoring, it's now possible to get vodka in these darker colors.
The Price of Vodka
Some vodkas are more expensive than others. But the adage that ‘you get what you pay for’ is not necessarily true when it comes to vodka. Many people argue there's no true difference between cheap and expensive vodka, especially in the quality of your drink—it’s all about the distillation process.
Some vodka producers will charge more because they distill their spirits more than their competitors, but that does not necessarily mean that this produces a better-tasting vodka.
Ultimately, it comes down to your own taste preferences. If you like a vodka that has been distilled multiple times, then you should be willing to pay more for it. But if you don't mind a vodka at the cheaper end of the price range, then there's no need to spend more money.
Why Do People Like Vodka?
Vodka was first developed in Eastern Europe, in countries like Russia, Poland, and Sweden. They love their vodka and are most likely to admit that it is their favorite alcoholic drink. Much of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and Ukraine also rate vodka highly.
But we live in a globe-trotting and multi-cultural society and there is no reason why people outside of these areas can’t enjoy vodka too. You may just need to find the perfectly-flavored vodka to suit your tastes.
Vodka is considered by some to be healthier for you than colored spirits like whiskey and cognac. When in its purest form of ethanol and water, it has no sweeteners or additives and is also one of the lowest calorie alcoholic beverages.
If you like the idea of a versatile spirit that you can drink straight, on the rocks, or with any mixer your heart desires, then vodka is for you. However, if you don’t like that particular taste of ethanol (the alcohol in its basic form) then drinking vodka on its own might not be for you.
Who Might Not Like Vodka?
Like most things in life, vodka is a preference and while some people like it, others do not. It is a strong alcoholic drink and, depending on the brand, it could contain around 40% alcohol. For some people, that is just too much to bear in one drink.
Bear in mind though, you can always make vodka drinks weaker if you are making them at home.
If you're looking for something a little less potent in general, you might want to stick to a beer or wine instead of a spirit like vodka.
How Is Vodka Usually Served?
There is no right or wrong way to drink vodka. You can have it ‘neat’, which is how it comes out of the bottle. The best way to do this is to chill it in the freezer (this concentrates its flavors) then serve it without any ice or water in a regular, chilled shot glass.
For those who like a cocktail, you can drink your vodka in a Cosmopolitan, Screwdriver, Sex on the Beach, Vodka Martini, Bloody Mary, or Moscow Mule.
And for those of you who like simple, bold flavors, you can create your very own mixed drink and add it to orange, juice, lemonade, cranberry juice, or even milk!
When Do People Usually Drink Vodka?
Vodka is one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in the world and for people in some countries, it is a drink they have every day.
For others, however, the alcoholic content of vodka is too high for their preferences and they are more likely to consume it on special occasions, such as in cocktails during a night out or in a mixed drink at a party.