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Our favorite vodka you can get under $25 is legitimately good (we promise)

This isn't the cheap vodka you drank in college

Shelves of vodka
Carlos Irineu da Costa / Unsplash

In the spirits world, vodka really doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Many drinkers believe that vodka literally tastes like nothing at all. It’s bland and flavorless when made well and harsh and tastes like hand sanitizer when it’s not. These ideas are not only misguided and outdated, but they are also patently wrong.

Vodka is not flavorless. While many distillers craft their vodka to taste neutral so that it can be used as a base for your favorite cocktails, depending on the terroir, the ingredients used (wheat, potato, and other grains), and the distillation and filtering can have a major impact on the aroma and flavor. Corn-based vodka might have a sweeter flavor than a starchier, potato-based vodka. There’s a ton of nuance in the vodka world, and sometimes it takes a trained nose and palate (or at least a lot of tastings) to find them.

Not only are there myriad flavorful, aromatic vodkas well suited for slow sipping (yes, you can sip a well-made vodka like you would any other spirit), but you also don’t have to pay a proverbial arm and leg to get them. Because vodka is a neutral, unaged spirit and doesn’t require years for aging, there are many award-winning, complex bottles to be found for less than $25. Don’t believe us? Keep scrolling to see some of the best budget vodkas that deserve a spot in your home bar.

Stumbras vodka
Stumbras Vodka

Stumbras Premium Organic Vodka

If you’ve never heard of Stumbras Premium Organic Vodka before, don’t feel bad. It doesn’t have the name recognition of some of the vodkas on this list, nut it should be a household name. Winner of the best vodka at the New York Wine & Spirits Competition in 2023, it’s the first organic vodka from Lithuania. Made from wheat grown on an organic farm and filtered through linen, it’s known for its smooth, velvety flavor profile and notes of sweet wheat, vanilla, citrus, and gentle spices.

Absolut vodka
Absolut Vodka

Absolut Vodka

Absolut is a big name in the vodka world. Surprisingly, even with its name recognition and awards, this Swedish-made vodka sells for around $20 for a 750 ml bottle. The ingredients are simple and perfect — specifically, water and winter wheat. The water comes from a deep underground well in its home of Åhus, Sweden. While it comes in a variety of flavors, the classic Absolut Vodka is known for its flavors of freshly baked bread, wheat, vanilla, licorice, and cracked black pepper spice.

Tito's Handmade Vodka
Tito's Handmade Vodka

Tito’s Handmade Vodka

There are two main reasons Tito’s Handmade Vodka took the spirits world by storm when it was founded in 1997. It’s the price and the quality. It’s always reasonably priced and made from Texas yellow corn (like moonshine). It’s distilled a full six times to make it effortlessly smooth and sippable. While it’s a popular mixer, it’s known for its nose of sweet corn and cracked black pepper and a palate of sweet corn, caramel, vanilla, and peppery spice. It’s sweet, lightly spicy, and very memorable.

Luksusowa Vodka
Luksusowa Vodka

Luksusowa Vodka

One of the oldest Polish-made vodkas, Luksusowa has been produced the same way since it was founded back in 1928. This potato-based vodka gets its name from the Polish word for luxurious. This triple-distilled vodka is known for its mellow, creamy flavor profile with a ton of potato, vanilla, and light spice flavor. This one is more of a mixer than a sipper, but it’s still decent with a big rock of ice or right out of the freezer.

Chopin Potato Vodka

Chopin Potato Vodka

Chopin touts itself as the world’s most-awarded potato-based vodka. It’s made at a family-owned and operated distillery in Krzesk, Poland, using traditional methods. It’s a small batch, hand-crafted vodka known for its nose of orchard fruits, vanilla, and citrus. Sipping it neat or on the rocks reveals a creamy, earthy palate of vanilla beans, citrus peels, and crisp apples. The finish is warming, dry, and lingering.

Skyy Vodka
Skyy Vodka

Skyy Vodka

When it comes to well-made, flavorful value vodkas, it’s difficult to beat the San Francisco-based Skyy Vodka. While the brand makes a variety of flavored vodkas, its best is its original vodka. This wheat-based vodka is made completely with American-grown grains and water. It’s distilled in a quadruple-column still before being filtered three times. It’s known for its nose of vanilla beans, cereal grains, and ripe fruit. The palate carries some salinity and mineral flavor and has a ton of vanilla and spices. All in all, it’s tough to beat this bargain bottle.

Akva Vodka
Akva Vodka

Akva Organic Swedish Vodka

Absolut isn’t the only vodka made in Sweden. Another great brand is Akva, with its Organic Swedish Vodka. This award-winning vodka is simple, elegant vodka made from only two ingredients. The first is mineral water from Vanern, Sweden’s biggest lake and the second is organically grown winter wheat. The result is a full-flavored, soft, mellow-sipping vodka with notes of fresh bread, wheat, citrus peels, vanilla, and cracked black pepper. Not only is it a great base for your favorite cocktail, but it’s also a great soft, sweet, mellow sipping vodka for an unseasonably cold evening.

Christopher Osburn
Christopher Osburn is a food and drinks writer located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. He's been writing professional
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