Drinks

We Found the Flavored Vodkas That Won't Make You Dry Heave

Cotton candy did not make the cut
The Best Flavored Vodkas
Photo: Brooklyn Republic Vodka via Facebook

Vodka gets a bad rap. People call it tasteless, dub it rubbing alcohol or simply shudder at the thought of it. Especially when it comes to flavored vodkas. Some, like peaches and cream or cotton candy, are indeed true nightmare fodder and more often than not end up in sickly sweet cocktails or water bottles at music festivals.

Thankfully, there are exceptions. Craft vodka distilleries all over the world are getting more adventurous with the notorious spirit, tinkering with flavors and putting out surprising takes that are worth a shot. Here are five vodka flavors that may just convert the hater in you.

  • Elderflower

    If you've ever tried St-Germain, then you know the taste of elderflower. Derived from the small white blossoms of the elderberry plant, elderflower flavor is fragrant, floral and well suited to alcohol. Distillers have taken notice, putting the plant to good, boozy use. New Yorkers can enjoy Brooklyn-based distillery Brooklyn Republic's elderflower apple vodka, while Midwesterners can savor a glass of White Blossom—vodka infused with elderflower and beet sugar—from the masters at Valentine Distilling Co.

    Photo: Brooklyn Republic

  • Tomato

    If you're looking to amp up your savory cocktail game, tomato vodka may just be what you're looking for. Everyone's favorite garden vegetable is lending us its fresh, tangy flavor, so grab yourself a bottle of Spud Heirloom Tomato vodka and make yourself the best Bloody Mary you've ever had. And, no, it does not count as a serving of vegetables.

    Photo: Spud Potato Vodka

  • Maple

    Maple syrup is stepping into the vodka game, as showcased in Vermont Spirits' high-end Vermont Gold vodka. Distilled entirely from maple tree sap, Vermont Gold isn't just flavored like maple syrup; it's rich, nuanced maple sweetness to the core. When you're ready for something a bit more boisterous, pick up Rogue Ales & Spirits' Voodoo Maple Bacon Vodka and throw your taste buds for a real loop.

    Photo: Rogue Ales & Spirits

  • Old Bay

    With its signature blend of herbs, salt and spices, Old Bay has been the go-to seasoning for crab boils ever since man, well, has been boiling crabs. But spicy seafood wasn't enough for the maniacs at Philadelphia Distilling. They've managed to get the cherished spice blend into a vodka, and it's begging for a home in your liquor cabinet. Add The Bay to a batch of Bloody Marys or enjoy it on the rocks as the perfect pairing for your next seafood binge.

    Photo: Philadelphia Distilling

  • Barreled

    We've seen barreled gin, barreled beer and even barreled tea, so it was only a matter of time until vodka ended up in a barrel, too. In a truly out-of-character moment for the spirit, barreled vodka boasts a brilliant amber color, looking more like whiskey or rum than anything else. Those looking to try this new take on the style should look no further than Middle West Spirits' OYO Barrel-Finished Honey Vanilla Bean vodka. Smooth and spicy, it's vodka far from its comfort zone, and we're all for it.

    Photo: Middle West Spirits

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