Vodka on a budget

Look, let’s face it: vodka is probably the most popular and certainly the most versatile of all distilled spirits. While people who are unaccustomed to stronger flavors like tequila might not be ready to belly up to the bar for a shot of a strong drink, the more neutral qualities in vodka make it a much easier transition into the world of liquor.

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Cheap Vodka, Great Vodka: The Best for Your Budget

The unintrusive flavor can add enough bite to make for an interesting evening without overwhelming unprepared taste buds, whether you shoot it down straight or blend it with a favorite mixer. But as with all things, there are really great vodkas, really mediocre vodkas, and let’s face it — really bad vodkas!

Now you might think that vodka falls into the “you get what you pay for” trap when it comes to cost. We don’t blame you if you automatically feel that you have to pay premium prices to enjoy a really fine bottle. But that just isn’t the case at all! There are plenty of awesome cheap vodkas that won’t break the bank and still scratch that booze itch with flavor and style.

Artisanal Excellence

For all of the mystique that comes with spirits, at the end of the day, they are just like any other food or drink product: they are only good when they are made with a good recipe using quality ingredients. That can sometimes be hard to get with the big-name brands that produce vodka using large-scale factory methods. Fortunately, several artisanal vodka distillers are making really great products, especially in the United States. And a lot of these bottles can come in for under $25 or even under $20.

Check out cheap vodka labels that look like they aren’t being branded at an industrial level. Artisanal producers will proudly post their creed right on the bottles. One sign that it’s made with superior methods is the use of locally sourced grains for production (corn is a popular staple due to the lower price). Another telltale sign is if a distiller uses a limited amount of pot stills to make the stuff. Labels that talk passionately about carefully crafted processes can often mean it’s worth a try!

Distillation Derby

When it comes to creating smooth liquors, many factors come into play. How long they are aged will play a role, as will the material used to store the spirits. Vodka doesn’t tend to rely upon this as much as whiskey, for example, as the flavor profile tends to be less pronounced, and taking on too many of the characteristics from a barrel can damage the taste.

But there’s another critical production element that can really improve the quality of cheap vodka, and that’s distillation. Typically, the more times you distill a liquor, the more of its impurities you will filter out, leaving behind the cleanest and smoothest drink possible. Check out labels for multiple distillations. There are brands out there that go through distillation up to three or four times and then are filtered four or five times more. Affordable brands that employ this method will be able to deliver a superior sip that you can relish as much as the more expensive stuff.

To Your Health!

Remember when we talked about quality ingredients being a key factor in creating a superior distilled product? Well, there’s another element to keep an eye out for, which can make all the difference when it comes to cheap vodka. And it comes into play right at the ground level — straight from the very soil from which the basic ingredients sprout!

Organic potatoes and grains can ensure that right from the get-go, your vodka distiller is enhancing the experience you will find in your cheap bottle. Unlike other organic produce, grains and tubers aren’t exorbitantly expensive. That means producers can avoid impurities like pesticides and artificial fertilizers without impacting cost. Not only will the flavors come through nicely, but many of the harsher elements that require filtering aren’t there in the first place.

And speaking of clean flavors, the very water cheap vodka producers use can impact the quality as well. You can find some fantastic bottles for under $20 that use spring water instead of pouring straight from the tap to make their spirits. Again, this means fewer impurities to worry about, like chlorination or minerals leached from piping. Labels will speak proudly of using spring water, so give that a shot if one speaks to your budget.

Flavor Profiles

Not everybody is into the taste of straight vodka. For many people, flavored varieties can be far more appealing. Whether you’re looking for sweetened brands with infusions of tropical fruits or just straight-up additions like mint or lemongrass, there are many cheap vodka bottles out there that can readily agree with your palate without killing your wallet! The trick is to find the products that appeal to your sense of taste.

Martinis, Mixers, and More

There are a lot of ways to enjoy cheap vodka, and understanding just how you are going to use the stuff should give your final clue as to what to keep an eye out for. For people looking to relish a delicate Martini or perhaps even just do shots or enjoy a glass on the rocks, chasing down some of the tips listed above is super important. After all, you will be tasting the vodka as vodka and not masked under juices or soda pops.

Now, if you’re mixing your vodka with, say, some soft drink, or maybe you’re just making a classic Greyhound, now your cheap vodka options can open up a bit. But a super harsh product will still interfere with your enjoyment. The best solution? Check for multiple distillations. That will keep the burn and bad aftertastes away. There are plenty of ways to enjoy cheap vodka, and now that you know how to find them, belly up to the bar and savor some of the good stuff!

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JJ Smoak

Brooklyn native, accent-having, travel lover, wordsmith and bud enthusiast. Versed from the streets of NYC, mixed with some world influence, writer/editor and medical user extraordinaire, JJ is here to tell you like it is and guide you to the finest. Brooklyn's favorite feminine stoner, your neighborhood contributor, wrapping leaves like a bandage and bringing you along for the ride.

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