Want to get a true taste of what Russia has to offer? Well, you can’t go wrong with authentic vodka from the region. After all, vodka and Russia are just like what France is with wine or Japan with sake.
So, you can expect the Russians to do it better, stronger, and more authentic when it comes to vodka. After all, the region’s land is specially adapted to produce the best tasting vodka with its distillation going back more than five centuries.
However, it’s not always easy to know which vodka is Russian-made or not when at the store aisle choosing your drink. So, to make this process easier, here’s a list of what vodka is made in Russia to instantly transform you into a Russian vodka connoisseur. When you want to enjoy authentic vodka, you know exactly what to pick.
Why Russian Made Vodka?
Russian-made vodka is usually produced using the highest quality ingredients (grown on land that favors wheat that produces the best flavors). The vodka then undergoes a thorough distillation process, resulting in smooth and delicious vodka.
After all, Russia is the origin of vodka! It has been featured in almost all aspects of the social, political, and military lifestyles. So, it’s only fair to presume the Russians will craft the best tasting vodka.
Russian Vodka Brands
Here is a list of 17 of the most popular Russian vodka brands on the market:
1. Russian Standard
Most popular and budget-friendly Vodka
Launched on the market in 1894, the Russian standard Vodka brand is amongst the oldest and most popular Russian vodka brands to cater to the entire globe. With more than a century in trading, the brand’s survival is a further testament to its high quality vodka.
Nonetheless, even with its incredible quality and smooth taste, Russian Standard vodka is still among the cheapest on the market. The brand is particularly known for its impressive top-notch production process which delivers cleaner and smoother vodka. The vodka is produced in its original state-of-the-art distillery in St. Petersburg.
Every Russian Standard bottle undergoes over 200 rounds of distillation to ensure optimal smoothness, clean flavor, and the utmost purity. Based in Russia, the brand uses milled and fermented winter grain from Russian steppes.
The ingredients are also blended with St.Petersburg Lake Ladoga which offers one of the softest waters naturally. Lastly, the vodka undergoes intense filtration using charcoal. As a result, the vodka offers a clean, mildly sweet taste with some peppery notes on the palate.
The vodka also has a smooth oily texture on the tongue and leaves it dry and clean as it dissipates.
2. Russian Standard Gold
Best for cocktails
If you want to make cocktails, like the classic Moscow mule or any other sweet vodka-based cocktail, you can’t go wrong with the Russian Standard Gold. As a sweeter variety of the Russian standard brand, this vodka offers exquisite notes of vanilla, caramel, almonds, and lemon.
The vodka is also infused with Siberian ginseng extract, although it doesn’t necessarily carry this flavor. Like the regular Russian standard, Russian Standard Gold is also produced from Russian winter wheat.
3. Russian Standard Platinum
Best High-end Vodka
You can try a more premium blend if you opt for the Russian Standard Premium. This blend was first launched into the market two decades ago in 2001 and has become a favorite among drinkers. Unlike the Russian standard variety, the premium variety is filtered an extra two times through silver for even better quality.
4. Russian Standard Imperia
Best Luxury Vodka
Launched in 2004, the Russian Standard Imperia vodka is available to those who want a more luxurious vodka variety. The Imperia variety goes through extra distillation by up to four times. Further, it is filtered an extra two times through quartz for the ultimate smooth and neat drinking experience.
5. Beluga Noble
Best Chemical-free Vodka
Beluga is an original Siberian brand, produced in the Mariinsk distillery since 2002. However, the Mariinsk distillery has a much longer history, dating its launch back to the early 1900s.
The vodka is primarily composed of water, up to 60%, and special wheat (malt spirit) from Siberia – making it a true Siberian spirit! Further, unlike other vodkas, the Beluga vodka contains zero chemical additives even post-distillation glycerin to make it smoother.
Nonetheless, its distillation process and choice of high quality ingredients allow it to achieve its naturally smooth and rich taste. To enjoy the vodka Siberian-style, drink it straight from your freezer to experience rich notes of wheat, oat, and honey.
Tip: If you get your hands on high-end caviar, Beluga Noble is the perfect vodka to pair it with.
The brand offers six key vodka varieties, including Noble, Gold, Allure, Beluga, Transatlantic, Celebration, and Beluga Epicure by Lalique.
Also Check: How Many Shots of Vodka To Get Drunk?
6. Beluga Gold
Everything about the Beluga Gold limited edition exudes class, exclusivity, and sophistication before you even take your first sip of the spirit. The Beluga Gold limited edition vodka is the perfect spirit for enthusiasts of strong spirits and is housed in a special bottle.
Each bottle features an authentic serial number and is secured by a cork and sealed with wax. To open the bottle, you need to use the included wooden hammer to remove the wax seal. While further reinforcing its exclusivity, the wax seal also ensures optimal quality.
Beluga Gold vodka is made using artesian water and malt and is subjected to five different levels of filtration and a 90-day resting duration. But, what makes this process special is the frozen cold distillery the vodka is distilled in.
As a result, you get silky smooth vodka with tasting notes of sweet lavender, grain, cream of wheat, and wild alpine herbs.
Ideal for Drinking Neat
If you want to enjoy the authentic vodka taste with a fresher and clean-cut grain aroma, Zyr is the perfect brand. The vodka is made from traditional wheat and rye. Yet, it offers a more refined and sophisticated finish compared to other mid-level Russian vodkas.
When you first drink it, it feels smooth on the palate as you begin to experience the grainy and earthy notes. Typically, the vodka has white pepper, orange peel, and a baking spice taste profile. You should take it cold and neat to truly enjoy its complex notes as it warms in your mouth.
8. Jewel of Russia
Best Eating Vodka
The Jewel of Russia is amongst the best loved mid-level Russian vodkas and is favored for its richer profile. The vodka feels like what you would describe as “rich” and “heavy”. It is made from traditional wheat and rye that give it a rich mouthfeel, sweet buttery notes, rye peppery spiciness, and mineral finish.
While its rich profile allows you to drink it on its own, you will enjoy it better when paired with food. Traditional foods like pickled herring, foie gras, charcuterie, caviar, or other smoked/pickled dishes make the best accompaniments to the rich, velvety spirit.
9. Jewel of Russia Ultra Black Label
Best for Texture
A special variety of the Jewel of Russia, the Ultra Black Label is a masterfully crafted vodka blend. The vodka’s unique distillation process adds layers to its taste yet, it remains with the same familiarity of classic vodka.
It offers subtle notes of wheat, cream, minerals, and pepper. Nonetheless, the combination seems to work excellently, adding a grounded texture with silky-smoothness to the vodka.
Related: 15 Best Chasers for Vodka
10. Husky Vodka
Best Siberian Vodka
True Siberian vodka, the Husky vodka is even named after the local dog breed. A relatively young brand, the Husky vodka has been produced since 2010 and is part of the Alcohol Siberian Group based in Omsk. In fact, the Alcohol Siberian Group is one of the three largest Russian producers of alcoholic beverages.
Other vodkas produced by the Omskyinprom enterprise distillery include Sinneater, Belaya Berezka, and Five Ozero, both top ranking in global sales of Russian vodka. The Husky vodka is produced from locally grown wheat (grown during the very short summer) and water.
It uses ultra fresh and crisp crystal clear Arctic Circle water and is filtered at ultra low temperatures that freeze away additives. This, in turn, provides a smooth, clean, and neat spirit with special notes of vanilla and cream.
11. Hammer + Sickle
Best Rough Vodka
Bearing the titles of the soviet symbols and the characteristic red color detailing on its bottle, the Hammer+Sickle vodka is a true product of Russia. The vodka is made from 100% winter wheat sourced from multigenerational Russian families.
Typically, the wheat is grown in a region called the Black Earth (or in Russian “Chernozem’), with soils rich in mineral content and natural fertility. During the distillation process, the spirit is filtered up to six times to guarantee purity.
While it tastes rough for some drinkers, Hammer +sickle offers quaint tasting notes of wheat, vanilla, and grape.
12. Green Mark
Best for the Money
Launched in 2003, the Green Mark vodka is an original Russian-made vodka containing 100% Russian-grown ingredients. It follows a traditional Russian vodka-making recipe, traced back to the 20th century, referred to as the golden age of quality Russian vodka.
The vodka has a smooth and clean taste with minimal roughness and can be taken straight or mixed to form minimally sugary cocktails. Green Mark vodka is also popular for its affordable cost.
Note: It is important to know that the Green Mark vodka is produced by the same company that produces the Russian Standard Vodka.
13. Mamont Siberian
Best on the Rocks
If there is any vodka from Russia to enjoy over ice, the Mamont Siberian vodka is it. The vodka is a representation of the Siberian region, paying homage to Yokagir mammoth remains found there in the early 2000s. Even its bottle is representative of a mammoth, with its mammoth tusk-like shape.
The actual vodka is made using Altai region’s single estate grain rye, wheat, and millet to give it a cedar nutty aroma and flavor. The vodka also exudes subtle notes of marshmallow and anise, perfectly accentuated with several ice rocks to complement the vodka.
Best Traditional Vodka
Some Russian vodkas claim to be traditionally distilled while others are actually traditionally distilled. Now, the Polugar vodka is what you want to invest in if you truly want to experience traditional vodka distillation.
The vodka is made according to each step of the traditional Russian vodka recipe and even follows the same production methods, including distillation in copper alembic pots.
This, in turn, gives the vodka its characteristic aromatic and flavorful “rye bread wine” like taste with notes of black pepper, honey, and almonds. To best enjoy it, drink it at room temperature paired with traditional Russian foods.
Best Hand-Crafted Vodka
Ustianochka Vodka traces its origins to the Ustyansky region to date, where locals began calling this special vodka Ustianochka – its brand name today. The vodka is made from clear, icy spring water from the Arctic region and hardy winter wheat grown in the watered fields which gives it an ultra pure and smooth taste.
The distillery is also unique in its no chemical, no additive distillation, and uses activated charcoal and catalytic platinum to filter out these unwanted impurities. You can enjoy Ustianochka however you want, whether room temperature or cold, neat or on the rocks.
Whether you want to enjoy a Cosmo, screwdriver, or a dirty martini, you can also use it to craft your favorite cocktails.
16. Rusya Vodka
Best for Manipulating Flavors
The Rusya vodka is for those who to put in some work for the best flavor explosions. The Russian-made vodka features a slightly sweet taste with notes of anise and cracked black pepper.
When you take your sip, you feel a smooth and creamy sensation right before a pleasant explosion of sweetness and spiciness. You can best enjoy the vodka neat or on the rocks. Alternatively, bring out the complete flavors by mixing the vodka with sparkling water, soda, or ginger beer.
17. Legend of Kremlin
The Legend of Kremlin is hand-crafted Russian-made vodka that utilizes the highest grade selected grain and soft water from an artisan well in Itar. Further, the vodka is distilled in traditional copper vasts, giving it a smooth and elegant taste.
Paired with its premium packaging, the Legend of Kremlin is one of the most revered spirits in Russia, it’s even supplied to the Russian parliament!
Why Do Russians Like To Keep Vodka In The Freezer?
According to experts, vodka is designed to be served chilled. Serving it very cold allows you to enjoy the full flavors. So, the best way to enjoy vodka is to drink it immediately from the freezer before it loses its coldness.
Is Smirnoff Vodka Russian Made?
Even though the name Smirnoff may sound Russian to non-speakers, Smirnoff is actually owned by Diageo, a British beverage company. However, its history dates back to a Russian owner. The company was first launched by Pyotr Arsenievich Sminow at a distillery in Moscow, Russia in 1864. But, the company has long been sold to British beverage giant, Diageo.
Is Grey Goose Russian Vodka?
Grey Goose is one of the world’s most beloved vodka. Nonetheless, it’s not a Russian brand. Instead, Grey Goose is a French brand. Further, Grey Goose is a fairly young brand compared to other vodka brands, with about three decades on the market.
It was created by Sidney Frank in the 1990s and sold to Bacardi in 2004. Thanks to incredible flavor, Grey Goose has remained a top contender on the market to date and its in-house Maitre de Chais is Francois Thibault, who is responsible for the vodka’s original recipe he created in Cognac, France.
Is Absolut Vodka Russian?
Even with its foreign-sounding name, Absolut Vodka is not Russian. Instead, it is a Swedish brand. The vodka was first produced in the Swedish village of Ahus in the south and is made from Swedish winter wheat.
While Absolut vodka was first produced in Sweden in 1879, it was only launched in Newyork in 1979. Ever since Absolut Vodka has become a popular vodka brand in the US and across the world.
Is Belvedere Vodka Russian?
Belvedere is not a Russian brand. Instead, it is a polish brand owned by a family of employees and even its title is polish based. While the vodka is produced in Poland, it is distributed by the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) conglomerate.
The name Belvedere is named after Belweder, a polish presidential palace in Warsaw. In fact, if you look closely at the bottle, you will notice the palace illustrations on them. On the other hand, the vodka is produced using polish rye in a distillery based in the town of Zyradow in Poland.
What makes it distinctive is that it uses rye sourced from eight agricultural partners which makes it easier to trace 100% of the grains.
What Vodkas Are Russian Sold In The US?
You can find a variety of Russian vodka brands in the US. Among the popular Russian vodka brands, you will find in the US include Russian Standard Vodka, which offers up to four vodka varieties. Other popular brands include Beluga, Mamont Siberian Vodka, Zyr, and Husky, to mention a few. In fact, all the brands listed above are available in the US.
But, it is worth cross-checking the availability of different brands based on the state you are in currently, due to existing sanctions on Russian products (including vodka) in some U.S. states due to the war invasion in Ukraine.
Further, while it is usually associated with Russia, Stolichnaya is not a Russian-owned or based brand. According to the official site, Stolichnaya or Stoli is an EU-based brand (from Latvia) with all its ingredients and raw materials sourced within the EU.
Is Tito’s Vodka Russian?
Tito’s Vodka is not a Russian brand. Tito’s Handmade Vodka is a US-based vodka brand currently by a fifth Generation. The vodka brand is made using 100% corn-based vodka produced in a distillery in Austin, Texas, since 1995. In fact, Tito’s Handmade Vodka is the first legal distillery in Texas.
What Are The Most Expensive Russian Vodka Brands?
There are several highly expensive Russian vodka brands on the market. Some of the most popular brands include Billionaire Vodka, The Eye of the Dragon, Russo Baltique Vodka, and DIVA Premium.
Other brands include Kors Vodka 24K George V Limited Edition, Special Edition Absolut Crystal Pinstripe Black Bottle, Belvers Bears, and OVAL Swarovski Crystal vodka, to mention a few popular brands.
The most expensive vodka bottles will cost you anywhere between a whopping $7 million dollars and a more “budget-friendly” $7,000, depending on the exclusivity and quality you want.
In addition to the premium vodka, bottles like the Billionaire Vodka come with luxuries such as a pure gold label and platinum, diamond, and rhodium exterior. Additionally, the vodka’s distillation features pure wheat and crystal clear water, filtered multiple times, and even passed over real diamonds for optimal purity.
With an accurate list of what vodka is made in Russia, you no longer have to make unintentional mistakes picking vodkas. No more confusing brands like Belvedere, Absolut, or Tito’s as being Russian. So, if you want the authentic taste of Russian Vodka, you can go wrong with any of the options outlined above.
In fact, we’ve gone the extra mile to allocate the right vodka variety for different needs. Whether you want a budget-friendly option, the right blend for sugary cocktails, or you simply want a true taste of traditional Russian vodka distillation, there’s certainly a bottle for you on the list.