30 Best Top Shelf Vodkas

While cheap vodka might be the neutral-flavored hangover fuel of your college years, there comes a time when you have to step it up. Let's be real; feeling the burn might be great at the gym, but it's not the sensation you want to get from your booze. If you're going to put those plastic jugs of blackout brew behind you for good, this article is for you.

There are plenty of higher-end vodkas that you can stir into your drink or enjoy ice-cold on the rocks. As with all great top-shelf liquors, premium vodkas have nuanced flavor notes. They are easy to sip, and taste just as good on their own as well as in your favorite mixed cocktail.

If it's time to upgrade your vodka game, these 30 top-shelf vodkas are masterful creations that will fit the bill nicely. Plus, most of them look smashing on your liquor shelf or bar.

Original Cîroc

Although Cîroc comes in every flavor under the sun, its original blend is impressive. It's a smooth, easily drinkable blend with a crisp finish that won't compete with any other notes in your drink. It's also an excellent spirit for vodka purists. If you're craving a clean, bright, unmuddied vodka taste with just a hint of grapey goodness, this bottle definitely won't disappoint you.

According to Cîroc's official website, this vodka is distilled from French grapes, lending to its delicate grapey notes. You might also pick up a little licorice or anise in the mix, but these flavors never overwhelm your palate. Instead, they just linger on the tail end of the vodka to give it some depth. Although Cîroc is a smooth beverage, you'll still get a slight fiery burn, especially if you take it as a shot, reminding you that it's a gentle drink that does mean business.

Oxford Rye Organic Vodka

A product of England's Oxford Artisan Distillery, Oxford Rye Organic Vodka is a grain-based vodka with just a slight hint of caraway, nuts, and vanilla. The beauty is in the balance; although discerning drinkers will pick up the vanilla in the aroma and initial sips of this vodka, the authentic rye grain taste of the spirit shines through. It's never cloying, overwhelming, or too sweet; it's just right.

Oxford Rye Organic Vodka is an excellent sipping vodka. Serve this one ice-cold, neat, or over whiskey rocks to avoid diluting it with ice cubes. Since it has a light flavor and a luxe mouthfeel, this vodka pairs well with your favorite drinks, complementing rather than outshining the rest of your ingredients. Consider it the little black dress of your spirit collection, and trot it out on special occasions when only the best will do for you and your guests.

Hangar 1

According to Hangar 1 Distillery's official website, its classic vodka blends are crafted and perfected in the most unlikely of places; a retired airplane hanger. Even if you can't get to San Francisco to officially tour the aircraft hanger/distillery, you can still enjoy the crisp taste of its small-batch vodkas in the comfort of your own home. Hangar 1 Vodka has a simple, colorful label that looks chic and cool on your bar, with a refreshing flavor to match.

Its original vodka has some wine notes, as well as bit of citrus on the back end. One of the best aspects of Hangar 1 is the mouthfeel. Unlike some other vodkas, it's never too heavy or burning; just light, luscious, and totally fresh. Although Hangar 1 tastes fabulous all on its own, it's a great mixer, too. This vodka plays particularly well with Bloody Marys, thanks to its lemon notes and burst of black pepper.


Zyr is a lovely little vodka straight for Mother Russia, and if you're looking for something as crisp and clean as the driven Siberian snow, this is it. Although Zyr's official website specifically teases that its formula is proprietary and highly hush-hush, it does offer a few clues about why Zyr is one of the most minimally beautiful vodkas on the planet.

Zyr's distillers use an intricate and repeated filtering process and distilling their vodka to achieve the cleanest possible taste. According to Zyr vodka lore and their website, the formula is an homage to one of Russia's famous scientists, Dmitry Mendeleev. Whether a product of its systematic approach or Zyr's premium ingredients, one thing is for sure: this is a next-level vodka. You'll taste pure, unadulterated vodka tastes without too much burn and virtually zero after-taste. If you love your vodka neat or on the rocks, pick up a bottle of Zyr.

Grey Goose

For most of us, Grey Goose is the granddaddy of all premium bottles, and no posh party or special occasion was complete without a trademark bottle of the Goose. There's a reason why Grey Goose is the first vodka that most newbies reach for when they want to trade up; it's exceptionally good and relatively affordable. Grey Goose is a smooth vodka with a sweet and soft mouthfeel.

Grey Goose is very drinkable both on the rocks and stirred into your favorite fancy drink with neutral flavors and a silky finish. Although you can get flavored versions of Grey Goose, its original formula stands on its own. Since it has such a gentle mouthfeel, it's an excellent option for people who don't usually care for harsher vodkas or spirits, making it a great addition to your next party or even as a fantastic birthday celebration or housewarming gift.

Haku Vodka

While Japan might not be the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of premium vodka, Suntory's Haku Vodka could change your mind. This delicious drink comes from the finest white rice and has a beautiful clear color complimented by its minimalist vodka. It's even bamboo filtered for a clean taste that is impurity-free and gives you a refreshing experience sip after sip.

Since it's made of white rice, you could even pick up some sake notes in the blend, although its prominent flavor is definitely vodka. This marrying of traditions means that Haku Vodka isn't an ordinary spirit, but its flavors hit close enough to home to satisfy even the staunchest vodka aficionado. In addition to the sake, you might get a slight hit of citrus that's not overpowering but will pair beautifully with your next screwdriver. Whether you sip it neat or as a mixer, Haku Vodka deserves a place at your bar.

OYO Vodka

According to OYO Vodka's official website, this draught aims to celebrate the bounty of rural Ohio, thanks to its prominent notes of red wheat. It's a heartier, deeper vodka that strikes an exciting note between vodka and whiskey. This unique combination makes it ideal for people who want to sample vodka but aren't sold on that characteristic vodka flavor and burn.

Since it's robust without being "too much," OYO Vodka is a fantastic sipping spirit. Pour it over whiskey rocks to fully enjoy the bounty of the blend. You'll get hints of spice and just the right amount of sweetness in each taste. Since it's got some subdued honey notes, you can certainly add it to fruit punches or even mulled wine for a fiery kick that blends well with the muskier flavors of autumnal beverages. If you want a variation from your typical vodka, get your hands on a bottle of OYO Vodka today.

JCB Vodka

The gold and caviar standard of vodkas, JCB Vodka, makes a statement the second you pull out the bottle. With a ruby-red, golden, ornate design and a prominent logo, you'll know that you're cracking open the good stuff. The first sip will tell you that your first impression is absolutely correct. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes make up the base of this vodka, and it's got a touch of oak on the backend, thanks to its fermentation process.

Its crowning glory has got to be the caviar. JCB's distillers lace the caviar flavor throughout their original bottles for a touch of extra sophistication and class. They also do a black truffle version, so you can choose what particular luxe flavor you want to sip on. From the art-deco bottle to the decadent flavors of wine grapes, caviar, and truffles, JCB Vodka is a drink that would be at home at one of Jay Gatsby's famous bashes.

Ocean Organic

Coming straight from the sun-drenched shores of Maui, Hawaii, Ocean Organic Vodka is a silky creation that starts smooth and ends in a tidal wave of classic vodka burn and flavor. Never overpowering but consistently robust, Ocean Organic Vodka is a drink made explicitly for people who know their vodka. It's got a few different things going for it. First, you have the punch of mineral water, complemented by the round sweetness of fresh local sugarcane. The combination is surprising and pleasant.

Although this vodka doesn't pull any punches, it still finishes nice and smooth, with a big burst of clean flavor that's never too cloying or heavy. Even though it's meaty, Ocean Organic Vodka marries well with other flavors. It's an excellent martini vodka, pairing beautifully with salty olives and vermouth, or you can mix it up in your classic Bloody Mary. Straight, on-the-rocks, or stirred (or shaken) into a martini, Ocean Organic Vodka is a winner.


As the name suggests, you'll want to kick back and sip this vodka. Sipsmith is an endlessly versatile spirit with a nice, neutral flavor that reminds drinkers of a little bit of vanilla. It's also got some warm oaty elements, like cookies or freshly baked bread. According to Sipsmith's official website, its vodka is wheat-based, explaining the yummy bakery notes. It's also copper-distilled, so there are no lingering additional flavors. Instead, you just get warm wheat, a little sweetness, and crisp vodka flavor.

Sipsmith Vodka is an excellent blend of purists. Its whimsical label makes it a lovely centerpiece for any home bar, and it's a perfect gift for the vodka-lover in your life. Enjoy Sipsmith with just the tiniest amount of fresh, ice-cold water or a few ice cubes if you want to draw out the wheat. This will cut back on the burn a bit and mellow out the spirit.

Beluga Noble Russian Vodka

Beluga Noble Russian Vodka is another fantastic gift from our friends in far-away Russia, and it's precisely what a vodka ought to be: robust, clean, and slightly wheaty. This vodka tops the charts for premium spirits because of its versatility. While vodka-lovers can certainly sip Beluga Noble Russian Vodka all on its own, it makes a phenomenal mixer, especially with citrus-heavy drinks like mimosas. It's also great with tonic if you're looking for an alternative to your standard G+T.

According to Mariinsk Distillery's official website, the secret to its vodka's success lies in the origin of its ingredients. This Siberian distillery specializes in using cold Siberian water, a meticulous filtration system, and delicious regional barley. Then, the vodkas go through a maturation process before reaching your local store shelves. The result is a refined and delightful product that stays true to its authentic roots that you'll be sure to enjoy.

Square One Organic Vodka

Let's go back to square one (sorry, we couldn't resist)! While Square One Vodka comes in a variety of different flavors, its original blend is every bit as delicious as some of its off-the-wall and excellent taste concoctions. This vodka proves that you can do just about anything when you start with a fantastic basic formula. Unlike lesser vodkas that bowl you over with burn, Square One has a consistent, fiery flavor that starts at your first sip. It's never too much, always pleasant, and lets you know that you're sipping on the serious stuff.

Square One Vodka is made of rye, with extra-distilled water and a sophisticated fermentation process that gives it a pleasant mouthfeel. The first thing you'll notice when you drink it is how mellow it is, with a beautiful round texture that's smooth and rich. Drink it straight, or stir it into a Moscow Mule for a tasty treat.


Regardless of whether you're new to the world of premium spirits or a certified vodka-lover, there's a good chance that you have heard of Chopin Vodka. Its smooth blends are either potato, wheat, or rye-based, multiple distilled, and go down like silk. Although Chopin is a more commercial vodka, it has all of the loving characteristics of a small-batch brew, thanks to its meticulous process and typical taste.

According to Chopin's official website, it appreciates the nuance of each vodka, taking a hard detour from the prevailing notion that vodkas are meant to be one-note add-ons. Instead, it celebrates its ingredients, and it shows in every sip. Its vodkas are robust with complex notes and pleasantly surprising tones of vanilla and apple. The result is a farm-fresh feel packed with quality and a nice, mellow mouthfeel. Drink Chopin straight or over ice for an excellent, bright beverage that will wow even the staunchest non-believers.

Karlsson's Gold

Karlsson's Gold is an excellent vodka with premium ingredients and a middle-of-the-road price tag. Coming straight to your table from Sweden, this premium spirit is potato-based and summery, carefully crafted to preserve all of the ingredients' notes. While many vodkas are successfully distilled several times for clarity and taste, Karlsson's takes a bit of a rouge approach. Its vodka is singularly distilled, allowing you to taste more notes and have a new experience.

As such, the best way to drink Karlsson's Gold is over whiskey rocks, a little bit of ice, or neat. You can also add in a touch of black pepper to balance off the creamy mouthfeel of the vodka with a shot of spice. Even if you think that you've tasted all of the best vodkas in the world, if you haven't sampled Karlsson's Gold, you're truly missing out on a unique, unapologetic gem.

Broken Shed

Broken Shed is a classic vodka with a slightly off-the-wall name. This New Zealand-based spirit only has a few ingredients, including whey and 2 types of water. The simple, straightforward approach puts it well within the running for the world's best premium vodka and will satisfy even the harshest vodka critics. The water is vital: there are 2 types, mineral water and freshwater, paired in a super-secret ratio.

The other element is whey, which lends this vodka an exceptionally silky mouthfeel and a unique flavor. One thing that Broken Shed does really well is avoiding overpowering the vodka with too much whey. Instead, the intricate balance of a touch of whey and distilled water makes it sing. By pairing non-traditional ingredients with more standard methods of vodka-making, the creators of Broken Shed hit on a winning formula that's guaranteed to impress the guests at your next dinner party.

Death's Door

Any vodka called Death's Door is bound to give you a run for your money, and this spirit lives up to that promise. Deceptively smooth, Death's Door is a sneaky spirit that's easy to drink and also easy to overindulge in. On the other hand, if you're judicious with your consumption, you can fully enjoy the beautiful bounty that this vodka has to offer. It's made out of malted barley, wheat, and corn for a strong flavor with the perfect viscosity. It goes down smooth and doesn't have too much burn on the end.

In addition to the warm, delicious flavors that you get from the combination of grain and corn, you'll also get a few hints of sweetness. It's not overpowering whatsoever, so stir this spirit into your next martini or Moscow Mule to give it a strong backbone that will meld nicely with the other flavors of your drink.

Ketel One

Vodka fan-favorite Ketel One is a renowned spirit from the Netherlands, known for its clean flavor and excellent finish. Its distillers strive for a crisp flavor from start to finish, and you see that meticulousness in the distillation process. Ketel One is made in copper stills and charcoal-filtered for an unadulterated taste that vodka lovers will appreciate neat or on the rocks. Thanks to its streamlined taste and lack of burn, it's also a good vodka for mixed drinks.

The finish is pillowy-soft and never jarring. This quality makes it an excellent vodka for people who think the spirit is too harsh. There's a reason why Ketel One continues to be perennially popular. Its flavor is near-universally palatable, and although it has a kick, it's not too much. Ketel One is also a mid-priced premium vodka, so there's no reason why it shouldn't have a prominent place in your bar.

Chase Vodka

Chase Vodka is straight-up one of the most handsome vodkas on our list. Everything about this spirit simply screams sophistication, from the whimsical and decidedly British packaging to the slim bottle. It's a good vodka to gift, especially around the holidays, as this potato-based spirit is bound to bring a little bit of extra holiday cheer to any occasion.

Although it's packed with potatoes, Chase Vodka has a balanced and even understated flavor. What you'll get is creaminess in each and every sip. Even though you can certainly enjoy this vodka neat or on the rocks, it's the ideal partner in crime for your next Bond-style martini. You can also stir it into party punches for a slight kick that's never too fiery or in-your-face. Chase Vodka just might be the closest thing on our list to a celebration in a bottle, and we are 100% here for it.

Harridan Vodka

According to Harridan's official website, its company is powered by women and takes steps to ensure that women are not only elevated but celebrated in the world of fine spirits. The name itself is a spunky reference, meaning bossy or belligerent older woman. While this vodka certainly makes waves, its taste is anything but jarring. Take one sip from the beautiful, handmade bottle with the old-school label, and you'll understand why Harridan Vodka is undoubtedly one to watch.

If there's one word that defines Harridan Vodka, it's "smooth." This spirit is a drinkable joy. Put it into an ice-cold glass and savor it straight. Although it's a heavy-hitter at 88 proof, Harridan doesn't have too much of a burn. Its velvety consistency and melt-in-your-mouth feel are both nuanced and layered. Enjoy it straight, with a touch of black pepper, or just the tiniest squeeze of lime or lemon.

Copper Rivet Distillery Vela Vodka

From its deep blue bottle design to the crystal-clear goodness inside, Copper Rivet Distillery Vela Vodka makes a huge splash. If you want to break out the best at your next soiree, get yourself some of it. As with many of the best vodkas on our list, Vela Vodka has perfected the art of balancing complex flavors with a silky finish. As a result, every sip is full of texture and flavor without being overpowering. It's versatile, tasting delicious on its own, or paired with the mixer of your choice.

Vela Vodka has a solid base of rye, wheat, and barley. Although you'll certainly taste the warmth of these premium ingredients, they act as a sophisticated backdrop to the spirit itself. What you'll really get is a round, lovely mouthfeel with just a little bit of burn on the end. Vela Vodka is best over a pinch of ice in a chilled glass.


While Poland's Belvedere Vodka might rouse images of Mr. Lynn Aloysius Belvedere from 1980s sitcom fame, it's actually a reference to Warsaw's palace Belweder, according to the distillery's official website. Even so, Mr. Belvedere would feel perfectly at home sipping on this acclaimed spirit. If chicness was ever distilled into an alcoholic beverage, Belvedere Vodka would be it. It only has a few ingredients, including pure water and rye. It's also kosher and additive-free.

The distillers who make Belvedere Vodka rely on legacy techniques that date back over 600 years, so you know that they've had a long time to perfect their skills. The result is a slightly-sweet, beautifully rich vodka that is a beloved brand both here and across the pond. Although it's fantastic with orange juice, try your Belvedere Vodka with some grapefruit juice for a lovely, balanced Greyhound. Garnish it with a wedge of citrus, and you have the perfect drink.

Christiania Vodka

Christiania Vodka is the ultimate minimalist draught. This Norwegian gem is made out of 2 very humble ingredients: potatoes and water. You get a clean, additive-free drink that won't leave you with too many unpleasant sensations the next day. In addition, Christiania's distillation process is as streamlined as its classic bottle design. This vodka is filtered through charcoal and put through 6 distillations before it's bottled and sent worldwide.

The end product is crisp, super-clean, and has a beautiful traditional taste. You get a nice burn from this vodka, and although it's neutral, it's anything but boring. Ultimately, one of the things that vodka lovers will notice most is how silky it is. It's a clean, perfectly nice experience from beginning to end. While Christiania Vodka is certainly thicker than some of the other offerings on our list, it's not overly heavy. It's substantial, making it excellent for enjoying around a fire on a cold winter's night.

Crystal Head

Dan Aykroyd's Crystal Head wins all of the points for unique design, and the vodka is pretty darn good, too. This corn-based drink gets its crystal-clear namesake from an intense filtration process. Crystal Head vodka undergoes 7 filtrations before it reaches your grubby little hands. The kicker is that at least 3 of them are through Herkimer diamonds. While diamond filtration might seem like a savvy marketing ploy to add a little extra glitz to the product, it's hard to argue with the results. Crystal Head is some of the smoothest stuff on the planet.

While you certainly can't go wrong with the original Crystal Head, the company offers a few variations on its tried-and-true formula, too, like Pride, John Alexander, Onyx, and Aurora. Also, let's be totally honest: a cool crystal skull full of super-filtered fine vodka is just aching for a prominent place on your home bar.


Cowcohol walks a brilliant line between having one of the best gimmicks in the alcohol industry and turning out an excellent product. This premium vodka is actually made from whey. While we have 1 other whey-based vodka on our list, Cowcohol celebrates its not-so-secret ingredient with a clever label and a tell-all name. Cowcohol is a labor of love — took the farmers-turned-distillers more than 12 months to get the formula down. It does seem like their hard work paid off because Cowcohol is one of the creamiest vodkas on the market.

Although there's no doubt that many people bought Cowcohol because of its unconventional ingredients, it's no exaggeration to say that vodka enthusiasts will fall in love at first taste. Cowcohol might be a little odd, but it's got all of the flavors of your traditional high-end vodka, plus a beautiful satiny finish that will make you believe in moo-ricles.

Hanson of Sonoma Organic Vodka

Sonoma Valley might be known for its premium wines, but Hanson of Sonoma Organic Vodka is carving a substantial hard liquor niche in the region. This classic, small-batch organic vodka has many complex layers and a robust flavor that tastes impressive straight-up. Of course, you can also drink it with a small amount of ice, but don't water it down too much if you want to enjoy that authentic vodka flavor.

It's made from grapes, filtered and distilled multiple times, and has a bit of a sweet element to it that counterbalances the burn. You might even get a subtle burst of florals on the nose and a honeyed taste. If you do decide to mix it, choose your ingredients wisely. This vodka is no push-over, so make its natural flavors sing with just a citrus twist or the smallest amount of crushed black pepper.

NEFT Black Barrel Vodka

Although many premium vodkas pay special attention to presentation, it's hard to beat NEFT. This vodka comes in a miniature oil barrel with stark white lettering. You know right from the beginning that you're about to drink something extraordinary, and after the first sip, you'll be a true believer. NEFT is a strong, thick, Austrian vodka made of rye that balances the burn with deeply nuanced flavors for an incredible experience.

NEFT is premium vodka at its finest, with a rich, warm aroma that's reminiscent of freshly baked bread. Plus, it's got an excellent finish. Although you will undoubtedly know that you're drinking the strong stuff, you won't be overpowered with too much fire. NEFT's formula is inspired and created for true vodka lovers. Although the barrel looks a little small, don't be fooled. There's plenty of vodka just waiting for you to enjoy it inside.

Tommyrotter Small Batch Vodka

Buffalo, New York's Tommyrotter Small Batch Vodka has a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired label with whimsical lettering and a sunny color pattern that will look amazing on your home bar. This artisanal spirit is corn-based and filtered through charcoal. The distillery prides itself on making sure that each bottle is absolutely perfect, conducting the whole process totally by hand.

Although Tommyrotter Small Batch Vodka is good all on its own, the distillers created it to be a great backdrop for your favorite beverages. The vodka is perfectly creamy, neutral, and plays perfectly with both sweet and savory drinks. None of the traditional flavors compete or overpower. Try this vodka in a Moscow Mule or as the base for your next screwdriver or Bloody Mary. You'll find that it's a rich, pleasant, premium backdrop to your drink. If you do drink it straight, add a touch of black pepper or citrus to open up the flavors.

Barr Hill Vodka

Take one sip of Barr Hill Vodka, and you will immediately understand what all the buzz is about. This honey-based spirit balances tasty Vermont honey with classic vodka flavors for an inspired drink that tastes like pure summer in a glass. According to Barr Hill's website, honey is a prized ingredient, and it makes sure that it's at an optimal temperature until the fermentation process begins. As a result, you'll get all of the nuanced notes of sweet, local honey paired with that iconic vodka burn that we know and love.

Barr Hill's distillers are also expert beekeepers, and their appreciation for the vodka's signature ingredient is evident in every sip. The true beauty of this drink is that it never tastes overly sweet, so you can mix it into your favorite martini without worrying that it's going to compete with olives or vermouth. If you like your vodka straight, pick up a bottle. You'll love the interplay of honey and authentic vodka.

Russian Standard Vodka

The name of this vodka is not hyperbole — it's definitely the standard to which local vodkas and those from across the pond should be held. Although Russian Standard Vodka comes from a major distiller, you still taste the love in every sip. It's a clean, beautiful drink with a nice light finish. If you prefer your vodkas to taste authentic with a signature burn, this spirit is for you.

Russian Standard Vodka is grain-based, so you get that warm, bready feeling from the first sip onward. Still, it's not overpowering. Aside from the grainy aroma and taste at the beginning and a surprising burst of pepper on the end, Russian Standard Vodka is devoid of other notes. This characteristic makes it a true vodka for those who love an unmistakable cold taste. As a result, Russian Standard Vodka makes an excellent backdrop from just about any mixed drink, or you can enjoy it traditionally: ice-cold around the table with friends.

ZU Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka

ZU Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka is a Polish specialty that recently made its way to the United States. It's an entirely unique beverage that gets its trademark sweetness from a single piece of bison grass. If you love a flashy presentation and want to shake up your spirit routine, it's a good pick for you. The vodka is mellow, naturally sweet, and makes an excellent after-dinner drink or aperitif. It's great with sweeter mixtures like orange juice. You can also make a killer White Russian out of it, as the light vodka plays well with Kahlua.

Although ZU Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka is best ice-cold, never pop it into the freezer. Instead, serve it in chilled shot glasses or rocks glasses if you want to enjoy it straight. It's also a wonderful, unexpected gift for the vodka-lover in your life as there's a good chance that they've never sampled this particular type of vodka before.