I love vodka sodas. The work day comes to a close, I grab a glass, a few ice cubes, pour in some Safeway Signature Select Seltzer Water, squeeze in some bottled lime, and pick my affordable vodka of choice. No wonder vodka’s versatility makes it American’s spirit of choice. Most folks may by default gravitate towards Grey Goose or Titto’s. But are these worth the premium cost especially for a nightly drink? Vodka is only wheat and water. How hard can it be to find a good tasting cheap vodka? Look no further than Trader Joe’s Vodka Of The Gods.
One of Trader Joe’s Best Finds
I spent the weekend sipping on vodka sodas and martinis reviewing three inexpensive vodkas. Trader Joes’s Vodka Of The Gods, Prestige Edition Vodka (find at QFC), and UV Pink Lemonade flavored vodka.
So what is the pricing for Trader Joe’s Vodka Of The Gods? It use to be $10.99 for a half gallon. Now with inflation it is closer to $13 for a big jug. Still cheap!
The Trader Joe’s product clearly came out on top. And it was also the best bang for the buck. The two other fiercely fought for the bottom spot. The lemonade flavoring to the UV brand pushed this one to last place. Thee fact that it has been sitting in the back of my liquor cabinet for the last five years probably didn’t help.
What I Look For In A Good Cheap Vodka Brand
- Tolerable smell
- Neutral taste
- Minimal after taste that would prevent me from using soda water as a mixer
- How many times has it been distilled (the more the better)
*Do you know some people run cheap vodka through a homemade filter? I have never tried this. And I don’t necessarily recommend it. But it is sort of interesting.
My Cheap Vodka Taste Test List
- Trader Joe’s Vodka Of The Gods
- UV Pink Lemonade Vokda
- Prestige Edition Vodka
Review Of Bottom Shelf Cheap Vodka Brands
1. Trader Joe’s Vodka Of The Gods
Trader Joe’s Vodka Of The Gods has been available since 2006. It is a traditional 80 proof, 40 ABV vodka. It is produced in Fairfield, California and distilled from grain spirts. The aim is a neutral flavor profile to make a perfect vodka option for mixed drinks.
There is speculation online that Absolute makes the Trader Joe’s vodka, though the taste is different. Overall, I agree with one of the commenters on Trader Joe’s 365, “it is the best vodka for the money”. Some reviewers are critical and for some reason expect the taste and quality of a $50 bottle for a $10 handle. I accept that there is going to be a sacrifice with a cheaper bottle (significantly cheaper in this case). If it doesn’t taste like nail polish remover than it is mostly a win.
Zach at UPROXX wrote an insightful article on The Best Affordable Bottles On The Market. And you know what, Vodka Of The Gods is the only plastic half gallon that gets a mention!
It is well known that a big chunk of the costs involved with high end liquor is the marketing. Especially since vodka is a neutral spirit. It doesn’t matter if the water used during production comes from some exotic source in Maui or Iceland, it is freaking water. I toured a distillery once on vacation and was told that the water used during production was acquired deep beneath the ocean through some ridiculous technique with some expensive equipment. Are you willing to pay twice as much for your vodka just to hear this story?
Why Is There A Burn?
The producers go for a greater yield during the production process with cheap vodka. This means there are more impurities left behind. This has an impact on the clarity, taste, and texture of the drink. The website Trader Joe’s Reviews (unaffiliated with Trader Joe’s) described this product as a “totally drinkable budget liquor”. We agree!
Trader Joe’s Vodka Of The Gods Review
2. UV Pink Lemonade Vodka Review (A Cheap Flavored Vodka)
The smell is the first thing you will notice about UV Pink Lemonade vodka. It is toxically strong, with a hint of the flavoring. It doesn’t necessarily smell like lemonade, but you can tell there is something else in there. The initial taste isn’t all that bad, but the after taste is horrible. I believe this is the pink lemonade flavoring. This would be less noticeable maybe if it was mixed in a sugary cocktail like a lemon drop or cosmopolitan. These types of drinks are great on special occasions, but too sugary and too caloric for regular drinking.
3. Prestige Edition Vodka
There is nothing prestigious about this bottle and logo design. A true off brand. Overall, this stuff would be fine enough for cooking something like a vodka sauce. The smell isn’t bad, but less welcoming than the Trader Joe’s variety. Unlike the UV pink lemonade that goes down well at first, and then gets worse with the aftertaste. The Prestige Edition Vodka from QFC is pungent and harsh from the first taste following through to the aftertaste. It feels like it is killing my taste buds upon impact. I think I actually prefer it to the flavored vodkas and I would still drink it if I was out of everything else.
Best “Cheap But Good Vodka” Discussion On Reddit
Trader Joes’s Vodka Of The Gods is the Off Brand Guy’s choice for cheap vodka. I am a big fan of Trader’s Joes products, and Traders Joe’s alcohol is no exception. It is definitely one of Traders Joe’s best finds!
For a robust discussion on good tasting bottom shelf vodka check out our discussion on Reddit. Also, check out Trader Joe’s online for a great Blood Mary recipe! Keep looking to find the White Russian and Moscow Mule recipe.
Is This The Best Trader Joe’s Vodka?
No, this is not. Trader Joe’s has a pretty good liquor selection. For one thing, Texas vodka has became a big deal over the last few years. Trader Joe’s got behind the trend and released TX Vodka. It is produced in Texas and according to their website it is “made with corn to give it a lightly sweet, easy-going profile, then distilled six times to give it an impeccably smooth texture”. The current price is $9.99 for a 750ml bottle. Do you prefer even more distillation? Then check out the Trader Joe’s Small Batch Vodka. It offers a clean, crisp, and smooth flavor profile that comes from being distilled ten times.