According to Skyy Vodka, the Skyy 90 is the world’s first 100% distillate vodka, it’s also bottles at 90 proof as opposed to regular Skyy Vodka which is 80 proof. Skyy vodka designed this vodka to “deliver exceptional purity.” It might distilled and pure, but it’s just not that good. Charcoal filtered and made with amber winter wheat, the Skyy 90 is designed to deliver the a “more luxurious martini.” The world’s most advanced distillery is still missing the mark on a martini vodka. We taste all of our martini’s with the in and out style so there is as little vermouth as possible and the Skyy Vodka martini just seems a bit average. A bit smooth and lacking bite with character, there seems to be a lack of flavor. Perhaps the vodka is overly distilled and the impurities in vodka are necessary to be there in minimal amounts. Either way, the $25 million research and development that went into this vodka was a complete waste. After all, even if it is good, or better than average, which it’s not, the money, research and perfect distillation are creating nothing exceptional in Skyy 90 vodka.
The Siku Glacier Ice Vodka is made from pure glacier ice from the 60,000 year old Qalerallit Sermia Glacier in Greenland. The ice from the glacier never even becomes water but actually is made straight into the vodka, a characteristic completely unique to Siku. Five times distilled and imported from the Netherlands, Siku is a small batch grain vodka. Meaning ice in Greenlandic, the Siku vodka makes a solid martini for experienced vodka drinkers. With a grainy and complex taste, Siku is a very flavorful vodka. Full bodied, full flavored, sharp and crisp but smoother as you sip, the Siku works very well with the vermouth and olives, complimenting each other. At times, the Siku vodka can be a bit too sharp for the amateur drinker, but it’s a solid vodka for the experienced and those looking for real vodka flavor. As always, we taste the vodka with an in and out style of martini, using the least amount of vermouth as possible.
The newest vodka out of Sweden, Rokk Vodka, won a double gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition and costs about $13 per bottle. Rokk vodka is made with glacial water from Sweden and with a unique “freeze filtered” process. Through freeze filtration the Rokk Vodka is filtered through frozen charcoal which Rokk claims removes more impurities than the average filtration process. According to Rokk, “freeze filtration” raises PH Levels, reduces acidity, which makes the vodka smoother. Forget all that. We don’t even like vodka’s that are too smooth. Rokk vodka though, has a great flavor, especially for the price. Smooth but also crisp, this vodka is solid all around and worthy for sipping straight in a martini. Why spend ridiculous amounts of money on premium vodka’s when Rokk vodka’s and others like Svedka, Tanqueray and Pinnacle are just as good for under $15. It’s a no brainer. We absolutely recommend Rokk vodka. Go Vikings!
THE RÖKK RUNESTONE
(Swedish: Rökstenen) is the most famous runestone in Sweden, featuring the longest known runic inscription. It is considered the first piece of written Swedish Literature and therefore marks the beginning of recorded history in Sweden.
PURE SWEDISH SPRING WATER
RÖKK is made with clean water from glacial sources in Kalby, Sweden – the picturesque countryside five hours west of Stockholm. The spring is adjacent to the distillery and is renowned for its ultra-crisp, clean water.
Normally at the Whiskey Goldmine we try not to come off overly critical because we don’t want to be complete dicks, but that stops here. KRU 82 Vodka from Holland is simply one of the worst vodkas we have ever had, and we have had them all. Other than KRU being distilled from grain, we don’t know much about it because the bottle and website lack any real content or description of the product. One good thing about KRU is its metal bottle, which can be recycled or used as a water bottle. But this metal bottle might also be the downfall of KRU 82. The metal bottle could be affecting the shelf life and taste which is absolutely terrible. It’s simply one of the worst vodkas we’ve ever had and insanely harsh going down. Normally, we love a vodka with good bite, as smooth isn’t necessarily the best when it comes to vodka. However, with KRU, the insane amount of bite is harsh, unbearable and undrinkable. This is no martini vodka and we do not recommend drinking this straight or even buying it in fact. There are so many other good vodkas in the $15 price range, don’t waste your time with KRU 82 vodka. As always, when tasting vodka we use the In and Out martini method with the least amount of vermouth.
Editor’s Note: My father drank a vodka martini with KRU 82 Vodka and about 1/2 ounce vermouth and said the vodka wasn’t bad. To be fair, we will try this vodka again. (We tried this vodka again on Thanksgiving and it just wasn’t good. This vodka is terrible. KRU 82 is way too harsh and should be used for a mixer only, or to clean a wound.)
A Natural and Authentic Antique Polish Vodka Recipe
By Matt Goldstein and BJ Smith
Vodka has been made in Poland for more than 600 years and Belvedere Intense Unfiltered is an attempt to create the natural antique Polish vodka flavor. Combining local source 100% “single estate” Dankowskie diamond rye baker’s grain with pristine artisan water from Belvedere wells, the Intense Unfiltered 80 Vodka is distilled four times. Although we were expecting this vodka to be strong and have a big kick, it was actually smooth and flavorful. As always, we taste vodka with the in an out martini style with 2 olives.
Belvedere Intense Unfiltered 80 Tasting Notes:
Having a heavy rye and grain flavor, smooth a light kick, the Belvedere Unfiltered Intense 80 compliments the olives and vermouth well. Lightly oily, good and flavorful this vodka is smooth more than intense. While we were hoping for more of a kick and bite from an intense vodka, this is still a beautiful beverage. If you’re looking for something smooth but still flavorful, this could be the vodka for you.
Made With Pure Glacier Water and Winter Wheat from the Russian Steppes
The Russian Standard Vodka was created when the Tsars of the Imperial Court in St. Petersburg ordered their famous national scientist, Dmitry Mendeleev to set the Imperial quality standard for Russian Vodka. In 1894 the Russian Standard vodka was born. Using pure glacial water from Lake Ladoga and winter wheat from the Russian Steppes, The Russian Standard is crafted strictly to the rules of Mendeleev. This is the vodka that set the standard for the entire world, Russian vodka. As always, we taste the vodka using the in an out martini style.
Russian Standard Vodka Tasting Notes:
The Russian Standard is very smooth, almost too smooth, but grainy, lightly oily with no bite. There is a little bite in the finish towards the end of the martini and this vodka definitely gets better as you sip. If you like smooth vodkas, you won’t find much better for $20.
History of the Russian Standard Vodka
It was in the 14th century that vodka was first described as “Russia’s national drink”.
Some 500 years later, in 1894, after centuries of unregulated production, Dmitri Mendeleev, Professor of Chemistry at St. Petersburg University and creator of the Periodic Table of Elements, established the absolute standard for vodka distillation.
Mendeleev’s perfect balance of 40% alcohol by volume gave Russian vodka a precise formula for what had been, until then, a process closer to alchemy than chemistry.
Today, Russian Standard vodkas take Mendeleev’s 19th century ideas and distillation to 21st century levels of quality by combining the finest hand-selected wheat from the black soil of the Russian steppes with the pure, soft waters of Lake Ladoga to create a classic Russian spirit with an exceptionally pure, smooth taste.
This outspoken original has set the benchmark for authentic premium Russian vodka—unmatched heritage honed for today’s connoisseur.
Recognized in its homeland as a benchmark for excellence, Russian Standard Original owes its name and quality to Dmitri Mendeleev’s classic formula, commissioned by Tsar Alexander III for optimum balance and purity.
Its combination of traditional wheat taste—from the hardy winter wheat of the Russian steppes—and remarkable clarity—from the soft glacial waters of the frozen north—make Russian Standard Original a perfect vodka to sip neat or as your preferred spirit for a long drink. Russian Standard has come to epitomize vodka in the spirit’s motherland, and in the process become an iconic symbol of modern Russian life and dynamism.
The dramatic bottle design, inspired by the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in the heart of Moscow, evokes Russia’s Imperial past, and the vital role that vodka plays in Russia’s most elegant traditions. Striking a balance between Russian heritage and the energy of modern life, Russian Standard Original is a masterpiece of technology, passion and craftsmanship.
Bloody Mary, Long Island Iced Tea & Kamakaze Cocktail Recipes
By Matt Goldstein
Tucked between Romania and Ukraine near the Black Sea, Moldova spent almost 200 years under Russian rule. Independent since 1991, the country’s rich agricultural landscape affords it a world-renowned reputation for some of the finest spirits Eastern Europe has to offer. It’s Russian heritage has given Moldovan distillers with high standards for vodka production – using only the best quality winter wheat and finest distilling processes.
Exclusiv Vodka Tasting Notes:
Exclusiv Vodka is smooth with medium bite slightly metallic and tangy. With a good all around grainy vodka flavor, but thin and light. Exclusiv is smooth and stays smooth but gets better and more complex the more you sip. This is a solid vodka and a solid buy for $12-14. As always, we taste vodka using the In an Out martini method with the least amount of vermouth possible.
Bloody Mary Cocktail Recipe
When it comes to vodka based cocktails, Bloody Mary is a quintessential favorite. Made with exclusiv vodka and spicy tomato juice, this drink is loved by all. You just cannot go wrong with Bloody Mary at a party, everybody loves it.
1 ¼ oz exclusiv vodka
A dash of Worcestershire sauce
Mix it up. Garnish with a wedge of lemon and celery stick.
Long Island Iced Tea Cocktail Recipe
Another classic favorite, this drink is a big hit with people of all ages. For a summer party, this is a great drink for your guest to cool down with.
¼ oz exclusive vodka
¼ oz tequila
¼ oz gin
¼ oz triple sec
½ oz lemon juice
Mix all ingredients other than coke. Take a tall glass filled with ice and pour the mix over ice. Top it with coke. Garnish with a wedge of lemon.
Kamikaze Cocktail Recipe
Kamikaze is a tasty cocktail that can mixed in no time and is a sure crowd pleaser. You can sweeten the lime juice if you desire.
1 oz exclusiv vodka
1 oz triple sec
1 oz lime juice
Shake it all up over ice. Strain and pour into a chilled cocktail glass garnished with a lime wedge.
Handcrafted & Seven times Distilled: A Martini Review and other Recipes
By Howard & Matt Goldstein
The Rain Organics Vodka is an organic vodka handcrafted by white corn and distilled seven times. Made by the Sazerac company, one of the largest and most decorated distillers in the United States, known for their Sazerac Rye and Buffalo Trace bourbons. We would tell you more about this vodka but there’s not much we know. Made from white corn, it’s probably left over from the 20 bourbons they distill. Doesn’t sound good? You’re wrong. The Rain Organics is a very solid vodka.
Rain Organics Vodka Tasting Notes:
Flavors of grain with good bite and warmth. Rain is crisp, clean with slight hints of vanilla and an overall good vodka flavor. A long aftertaste, slightly oily and blends with vermouth very well. Below are some Rain Organics vodka recipes.
Classic Martini Recipe
5 oz. Rain Organics Vodka
1 oz. Vermouth
In a shaker, add Rain Organics Vodka, vermouth and ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an olive.
1 oz. Rain Organics Vodka
3 oz. Tomato Juice
Juice of One Lemon
7 drops Worcestershire Sauce
2 drops Tabasco Sauce
1 pinch Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 pinch Celery Salt
Celery Stick and/or Lemon Wedge
In a shaker, add Rain Organics Vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco Sauce, black pepper and celery salt. Shake and pour in a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with a celery stick, lemon wedge or both.
2 1/2 oz. Rain Organics Vodka
1 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1 oz. Mint-Infused Simple Syrup, recipe follows
2 Mint Leaves
MINT-INFUSED SIMPLE SYRUP
1 cup Water
1 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Chopped Mint
Mint-Infused Simple Syrup: Combine water, sugar and chopped mint into a saucepan and bring to a boil for one minute. Remove from heat and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain out mint using a cheesecloth or an extra-fine strainer.
In a shaker, add Rain Organics Vodka, lime juice and mint-infused simple syrup. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with mint leaves and a lime wheel.
Effen Vodka is made from premium wheat from Northern Holland. Through a process of continuous rectification, Effen claims that their vodka is distilled “hundreds of times.” Most vodkas are distilled anywhere between 1-5 times. Effen also distills their vodka at lower temperatures compared to other vodkas. Filtered five times by using a “bottom-up” filtration process, Effen also uses pure spring water which is filtered through reverse osmosis.
Effen Vodka Tasting Notes:
We tasted Effen vodka in 5 separate in and out martinis. Thin, smooth, excellent. Beautiful vodka grains, flavorful after a few sips, dry, medicinal mouth feel, perfect martini flavor. Perhaps a bit thin on the first sip, but gets better sip after sip. Grainy, oily, gets crisper the more you sip. Very good all around vodka.
Crystal Head Vodka Crushes Competition in Double Blind Taste Test
By Team Goldmine
The Vodka Trials were a double blind taste test featuring premium grain vodka’s going head to head with vodka’s that cost as little as $10 a bottle. The vodka’s were randomly selected from different price ranges, ratings, fame, popularity and respectability. Although the expensive and premium Crystal Head stole the show, some more less expensive vodka’s performed very well compared to other premium vodka’s such as Grey Goose, which finished dead last. The vodka’s finished in the order as follows:
1. Crystal Head Vodka:
Crystal Head Vodka was the clear winner of the 2011 Vodka Trials and was voted #1 by the majority of tasters. Legend has it that the 13 crystal heads have been found in regions around the world, from the American southwest to Tibet. They’re dated between 5,000 and 35,000 years old, and were supposedly polished into shape from solid quartz chunks over a period of several hundred years. This legend is completely full of crap, but hey, the vodka is no joke. It’s a bit pricey and gimmicky and also owned by Dan Akroyd. Crystal Head Vodka is made with pure glacier water from Newfoundland Canada, purified through quartz crystals, also known as Herkimer diamonds and four times distilled. This is simply one of the best vodkas available. Priced at about $50.
Tasting Notes: great even flavor and balance, dry, light kick but smooth and very drinkable with a little aftertaste.
2. Tanqueray Sterling Vodka:
Who knew Tanqueray made a vodka? Guess what! This vodka is a flat out stud. Two times distilled, once in a 220 year old copper pot, and made with pure grain, Tanqueray Sterling is a perfect martini vodka, perfect for drinking it straight or a mixer and its only $14. We love it!
Tasting Notes: great kick, all around well balanced vodka flavor, spicy, light to medium warmth.
3. Belvedere Vodka:
Belevedere vodka is one of the world’s first premium vodkas. Quadruple distilled and made with Danowski gold rye and zero additives, Belvedere is made with water from Belvedere’s own artisan well. Let us reiterate, this was a double blind taste test and Belvedere vodka almost tied for 2nd place. This premium vodka proved to be real when it comes to a martini.
Tasting Notes: Excellent! Tasty with a kick, extra smooth, great aftertaste, well balanced, distillation very evident and medium warmth.
4. Pinnacle Vodka:
Pinnacle is a small batch quadruple distilled vodka made with spring water from Northern France. Made with wheat from the Brie region, and purified through charcoal after distillation. This is an excellent vodka for $10. Yup, you can get a full 750ml for just $10. Pinnacle beat out a couple of vodka legends in our double blind taste test so it can’t be a bad move.
Tasting Notes: Little kick, light flavor, smooth, crisp with a light aftertaste and medium warmth.
5. Tito’s Handmade Vodka:
Tito’s is produced in Austin at Texas’ first and made in small batches in an old fashioned pot still. Tito’s is simply one of the best vodka’s available for just under $20 and one of America’s best vodkas.
Tasting Notes: Slightly smooth, A bit heavy, strong with a strong aftertaste, a well balanced strong and heavy flavor.
6. Stolichnaya Vodka:
Made from wheat, rye and glacier water, Stolichnaya is considered to be the classic Russian vodka. Stoli is solid in a martini, straight or in a mixer but was simply out was simply outgunned in the 2011 Whiskey Goldmine vodka trials.
Tasting Notes: Dry but flavorful with a great finish and light warmth.
7. Grey Goose Vodka:
Grey Goose is made from fine French wheat, and water naturally distilled through champagne limestone. Grey Goose vodka is distilled according to the traditions of the Cognac region and a full flavored medium bodied vodka. We were always a fan of Grey Goose be it martinis, on the rocks, a shot or in a mixer, but there is no doubt that Grey Goose got crushed in the 2011 Vodka Trials finishing dead last. What else is there to say?
Tasting Notes: heavy warmth and burn but smooth, and intense.