What Is Vodka Proof? (Learn Here)

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Ever wondered what vodka proof is? I can help you answer the question. Are you an avid drinker of vodka? Do you struggle to figure out why you experience bad hangovers sometimes? Even if you stick to the same amount of serving?

Learning about a term as simple as vodka proof can significantly improve your drinking experience. Want to know how? Check out this in-depth guide to what vodka proof is.

What Is Vodka Proof?

Vodka proof refers to the alcohol concentration of particular vodka. The proof measures the amount of ethanol in the spirit. Typically, for a spirit to be labeled vodka, one of the requirements is its vodka proof. The minimum value should be 80 Proofs.

However, vodka proof isn’t the only way you can measure the ethanol or alcohol strength of a drink. You can also use the Alcohol by Volume percentage (ABV).

Also check: How Many Shots of Vodka To Get Drunk?

This explains why you will sometimes see vodka labeled as 80 Proof/ 40% ABV. In the US, the same label will read 80 US Proof/40% ABV.


It is worth noting that proof or ABV isn’t limited to vodka alone. This measurement works for all types of alcoholic beverages. While alcohol proof is commonly used in the US, it traces its origins back to England back in the 1500s.

Alcohol proof was introduced for tax purposes for authorities to easily tax products, such as alcoholic beverages. During this time, the government imposed a higher tax levy on beverages containing a higher alcohol proof. 

Unbeknownst to many people, alcohol proof today isn’t only used to determine the alcohol strength in your drink. To date, governments still use alcohol proof to calculate taxes imposed on alcoholic beverages.

As expected, alcohol with a higher proof has a higher tax levy imposed on it. this may explain why high-proof alcoholic beverages of the same size and brand quality may cost slightly higher than those with a lower proof.

Also check: Pink Whitney Alcohol Content

Alcohol proof was introduced in the US in 1848 as an easier way to measure alcohol concentration. After all, all you do is double the %ABV to get the value of the proof.

Before, alcohol proof was measured by the burn or no burn or gunpowder methods. But, with modern advancements, these ancient methods have long been abandoned. Today, alcohol proof, including vodka proof, is measured using the specific gravity method. 

Vodka Specific gravity involves measuring the density ratio of the alcohol against water. This method offers a more precise alcohol content measurement to give you the alcohol by volume reading. To get the proof, all you do is double the amount of the % ABV.

Note: Alcohol by volume (%ABV) is calculated the same anywhere in the world. however, alcohol proof calculations vary, which explains why it is labeled as US proof in the US. For instance, a 100-proof alcohol beverage in the US equates to 50% ABV.

However, in the UK, 100 proof equates to 57% ABV. This is because US proof is calculated by doubling the %ABV. In the UK, however, alcohol proof is calculated by multiplying %ABV with a standard ratio of 1.5.

The good news is that the UK ditched the alcohol proof measuring method altogether in the 1980s. So, alcohol strength is only measured by %ABV in the UK. for the most part, the US is the only country that uses proof. Plus it’s always labeled as “US proof”.

More: 25 Strongest Drinks To Order At A Bar

Different Types Of Vodka Proof

Vodka is typically made by distilling fermented potatoes, cereal grains, corn, sugar cane, fruits, honey, or maple sap. According to European Union (EU) standards, the minimum proof for vodka should be 75 proof.

However, in the US, the value is slightly higher, at 80 Proof. But, this doesn’t mean that all vodka brands produce their products at the same proof or alcohol concentrations.

You can find vodka with much higher proofs as well. A higher vodka proof means that your vodka contains more alcohol concentration by volume.

vodka bottle

Here are some of the common types of vodka proofs;

80 Proof

80 proof is the standard vodka proof.80 proof vodka contains40% ABV.  Vodka with this alcohol-proof range has a more neutral flavor and is smoother on the throat.

90 Proof

90-proof vodka equates to 45% ABV in the particular vodka. This vodka proof is slightly higher than the standard 80 proof and is also pretty common. This proof range also maintains a mild vodka flavor. However, you will consume more alcohol with the 90 proof.

For example, by drinking five shots of 80-proof vodka and the same amount of 90-proof vodka you will get drunk faster from the latter (90 proof). You will also experience a rougher hangover from the 90 proof than the 80 proof.

100 Proof

If you want stronger vodka, 100-proof vodkas are what you need. This range equates to 50%ABV. In addition to giving you a stronger spirit, 100-proof vodka contains a slightly bolder taste.

You also get drunk faster from the 100 proof than the 80 and 90 proofs. As expected, you will also get a rougher hangover from 100-proof vodkas.

Higher Proof

100 proof is not the highest vodka concentration you will find. The highest vodka proof is 192 – which equates to 96% ABV. However, these types of vodkas are rare as not as many brands produce good quality high-proof vodka.

But, this also means that 192-proof vodkas are very strong with a tough bit and ultra bold flavors. 192-proof vodka is not for the weak!


Is 70 Proof Vodka Strong?

70-proof vodka is not strong at all. In fact in principle, 70-proof vodka doesn’t even qualify as vodka. The minimum proof for vodka is about 75 to 80 Proof, depending on which region you are in the world. For the most part, flavored vodka usually contains this proof range.

The low-proof range is believed to prevent over-drinking the vodka. The sweeter flavors of flavored vodka can easily mask the alcohol strength and bite. With a higher proof, this can easily result in overdrinking the spirit. This can put you at risk of a bad hangover or alcohol poisoning.

What Does Proof In Vodka Mean?

The proof in vodka simply means the alcohol concentration in the particular vodka. However, the proof is calculated as double the amount of alcohol concentration by volume in the spirit. For example, vodka containing 40% ABV equates to 80 proof.

What Proof Is Vodka Usually?

The standard proof for vodka is usually 80 proof. But, in the modern days, you can also find 90 proof vodkas. Although there aren’t many options on the market, you can also find 100 or more proof vodkas.

Is There A Vodka That Is 100-Proof?

You can certainly find 100-proof vodka options on the market, although this variety is not as common. Some of the popular 100-proof vodkas include Belvedere Intense 100 Proof Vodka and Absolut 100 Proof Vodka.

What’s The Highest Proof Vodka?


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The highest vodka proof available on the market is 192 proof vodka. This typically equates to 96% ABV. The most common example of this high-proof vodka is the Polish vodka, Spirytus.


Having insight into what vodka proof is getting you one step further to becoming a vodka connoisseur. In this case, you can easily pick the vodka brand that works best for you. You even know how to tell apart different strengths, bite, and even flavor perception.

This also means that you no longer have to wonder why you experience varying effects because you switched up vodka brands.

Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that proof simply determines the strength and to some point the bite of your vodka. However, this doesn’t mean that the proof determines the quality of the vodka.

Unless you are familiar with the brand, as a general rule of thumb, go for vodka with standard 80 proof if you are a beginner. This standard proof range offers a neutral flavor and color with a smooth and mild bite. Plus, it helps you regular your drinking easier since the spirit isn’t that strong.

Chad Smith

Meet Chad Smith, a seasoned bartender with a passion for mixology. He's the founder of Tin Roof Drink Community, a blog where he shares expert tips, creative recipes, and fosters a vibrant community of cocktail enthusiasts and aspiring bartenders. Join Chad as he takes you on a flavorful journey through the world of drinks. Cheers!

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