Most people can agree there isn’t a more divisive brunchtime cocktail than the Bloody Mary. You either crave that savory experience upon arrival or gag at the thought of drinking something that looks like Gazpacho. Whether you love or hate it, the Bloody Mary has proven it’s here to stay. The first step in making a good one is of course, finding the right vodka.
These vodkas are not only complementary to this famous drink but enhance the flavor as well.
THE POLISH PACK
The top of the list for favorite “Bloody” vodkas is Luksusowa. With a surprisingly low retail cost, this classic Polish potato vodka proves luxury doesn’t have to be expensive. Luksusowa, is surprisingly flavorful. Only triple distilled and charcoal filtered, the grainy texture of the potatoes really comes through. This texture works well with the hearty nature of the drink while elongating that salty finish.
Family owned and operated; Chopin is another example of an exquisite Polish vodka. This one will elevate your Bloody to a top shelf experience. The potatoes used are closely supervised within 20 miles of the distillery and the artisan well is on site to ensure consistency. Chopin is a “full circle vodka.” It starts off slightly grainy then transitions into a slight sweetness on the top of your tongue and then back to grainy in the finish. It’s delicate yet present and will smoothly melt into your cocktail.
Although huge fans of Polish potato vodkas, we’d be remiss without a Polish rye on this list. Sobieski, made with a 100% Polish Rye and spring water, has a viscosity that is creamier than most. This helps the flavor coat your whole tongue and prevents the Bloody mix from tasting too thin. It finishes almost like silk as the bite dissipates but the flavor remains.
When you think of flavored vodkas, Absolut is the KING of variety. In 1986 Absolut released “Peppar” which was its first flavored vodka as well as the first clear flavored vodka ever to be imported into the United States. “Peppar” was created in response to the BOOM of Bloody Mary bars that were popping up on the East Coast. With hints of green bell, Chili and Jalapeno peppers, this vodka makes for an incredible base. It’s safe to say Absolut led the way for the flourishing movement of flavored vodkas that followed.
HANGAR ONE MARKRUT LIME AND BUDDHA’S HAND CITRON
Hangar One Vodka got its name from its distillery, which was in an old airplane hangar in Alameda, Ca. Using California grapes, Midwest grains and a very close monitored distillation process they have managed to perfect the balance of aromatic, fruity and earthy all in one. Two flavors are perfect for Bloody Mary’s, you just must choose whether you prefer lime or lemon in your drink.
Both the Makrut Lime and the Buddha’s Hand Citron are clean, bold, and sour in all the right ways. This vodka sufficiently takes the place of adding either fruit to your drink. In the Markrut Lime the limes as well as the leaves are used because they hold the most flavor. As a shot, this flavor will hit you with a punch right away. In a Bloody Mary, it perfectly blends in with the other bold flavors.
The Buddha’s Hand, which looks like a lemon with little fingers, is less sharp than your traditional American lemon. Hangar one has captured the soft yet sour citrus flavor without the chemicals or additives used in a lot of citron vodkas.
THREE OLIVES “TOMATO”
Since its conception in 1998, Three Olives Vodka hit the ground running with interesting and fun flavors. You can find anything from Loopy, which tastes like Fruit Loops to “S’mores” in its flavor line. Deviating from its traditionally sweet vodkas, Three Olives created a Tomato vodka specifically for Bloody Mary’s. The combination of fresh tomatoes, pepper, horseradish, and spices makes this a Bloody Mary straight from the bottle.
You can’t talk about corn-based vodkas without talking about one of the most popular vodkas in America. Tito’s vodka is the trailblazer when it comes to small- batch handmade corn vodkas. When I first met Tito, he told me his goal was to create a vodka that was “so smooth it disappeared into your drink.” I’d say he accomplished what he set out to do. Tito’s vodka takes on the flavor of whatever you mix it with, making it versatile for any cocktail.
Deep Eddy’s popularity has steadily grown over the years, making it known that Tito’s isn’t the only great corn vodka from Austin. Distilled ten times in small batches, there is a strong focus on quality control. Most corn-based vodka tends to be slightly sweet on the top of the tongue and then dissipates clean. This vodka absolutely follows the trend with a crisp finish perfectly suited for a Bloody Mary. The slight sweetness plays well with the tomato leaving no burn behind.
With Prairie vodka one word keeps coming to mind, buttery. When we think of corn-based vodka, we usually think of light and crisp, but Prairie has an almost velvety viscosity. This creamier texture only enhances the already hearty flavor of the drink. Like the rest of the vodkas in this category, Prairie is distilled from 100% USDA certified organic yellow corn that’s non-GMO. There is a concentrated focus on sustainability and working with nature to provide the best product. Prairie proves you can’t sleep on the Midwest when it comes to vodka.