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 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 cost premium especially for a nightly drink? Vodka is only wheat and water. How hard can it be to find a good tasting cheap vodka?
Best Cheap Vodka
I spent the weekend sipping on vodka sodas and martinis reviewing three off brand vodkas. Trader Joes’s Vodka Of The Gods ($10.99 Half Gallon), Prestige Edition Vodka (find at QFC), and UV Pink Lemonade ($11.49 Fifth) flavored vodka.
The Trader Joe’s variety 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 may have pushed this one to last place. The fact that it has been sitting in my liquor cabinet for the last few years probably didn’t help.
What I look for when buying cheap Vodka?
- 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?
Trader Joe’s Vodka Of The Gods Review
There is speculation online that Absolute makes the Trader Joes’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) and 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 most of the costs involved with high end liquor is the marketing, especially vodka a neutral spirit. It doesn’t matter if the water used comes from some exotic source in Maui, or Iceland, it is freaking water. I toured a distillery once on vacation and was told about how the water 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 to hear this?
UV Pink Lemonade Flavored Vodka Review
The smell is the first thing you will notice. It is toxically strong, with a hint of the flavoring. It doesn’t necessarily smell like lemonade, but you can tell something else is there. The initial taste isn’t all that bad, but the after taste is horrible, which I believe to be the pink lemonade flavoring. Maybe mixed in red bull or a sugary cocktail like a lemon drop or cosmopolitan, this would be less noticeable. And these things drinks are great on a special occasion, but too sugary with too many calories for regular drinking.
Prestige Edition Vodka Review
A true off brand, as there is nothing prestigious about the bottle and logo design. Overall, this would be fine enough for recipes and cooking something like a vodka sauce. The smell isn’t bad, but less welcoming than the Trader Joe’s variety. And unlike the UV pink lemonade that goes down well at first, and then gets worse with the aftertaste. The prestige edition is pungent and harsh from the first taste following through to the aftertaste. I get the sensation it is killing my taste buds upon impact. I mean I would still drink this if I was out of everything else, and I actually prefer it to the flavored vodkas.
Trader Joes’s Vodka Of The Gods is the Off Brand Guys choice for cheap vodka. I am a big fan of Trader’s Joes products, and Traders Joe’s alcohol is no exception. Definitely one of Traders Joe’s best finds!
*Check our Trader Joe’s online for a great Blood Mary recipe! Keep looking to find a White Russian or Moscow Mule recipe.