Bans on Russian Vodka

Posted this to Facebook and Instagram last night and a lot of people found it helpful, including two friends who own restaurants with bars themselves:

I’ve seen several bars/restaurants and even some individuals say how they are going to boycott Russian vodka. While I actually agree with this sentiment, you must keep in mind that most Russian “sounding” vodkas are not even Russian. Stoli has been relocated in Latvia for many years (ironically enough after having issues with the Russian government). Smirnoff is produced predominantly in the UK and US. Even those bottom shelf brands like Popov and all the bottles with Russian names, lettering, and images are mostly owned by large UK and US-based distributors. The only major label you’d have to set your sights on is Russian Standard, and I don’t know a single person who actually drinks it, despite its market share. And of course, you can always buy Ukrainian: there’s Khor and Nemiroff, which you might be able to find if you look hard enough.


Hey if you don’t mind I am sharing this to my Facebook feed

1 Like

Not a big vodka guy, but when I do buy it it is Absolut.

1 Like

I think I heard (or read?) somewhere that the the total volume of imported Russia into the U.S. is something like 1-2%?

So while a nice gesture, it’s mostly symbolic I fear.

1 Like

I buy Stoli occasionally, but my go to is Smirnoff.


1 Like

Found Khor at the local supermarket.

Really decided to go label hunting and aside from Russian Standard as mentioned, and Beluga, everything was very much not Russian!


I typically buy Belvedere but recently stupidly bought Beluga. Among spirits there isn’t much ‘premium’ about a premium vodka no matter where it comes from.


Not to sidetrack this thread, but can people really tell a difference between different brands of vodka (regardless of their point of origin)?

Vodka, by its nature, is supposed to be neutral and tasteless. Is more expensive vodka going to be more, um, tasteless?


Confronting a thorny challenge when the alternative is ?

1 Like

I suppose it is more of a smoothness or finish to the feeling. Absolut is pretty smooth, where Sky is awful.

My favorite was a Polmos product named Sobrovka (not sure about that spelling) which was flavored with elephant grass. Unfortunately it is no longer available in the U.S.

How is Belvedere? I personally shy away from premium vodkas. Stoli and Tito’s are fine with me. This Khor ain’t bad either. I did buy Chopin once but didn’t think it was worth the “premium” price tag. Grey Goose is fine but I’d rather go with Kirkland French Vodka which is almost exactly the same.

1 Like

In my opinion your approach is best. I don’t believe there is such a thing as premium vodka. Well, there’s terrible vodka that might make you sick and then there’s the other stuff. Sticking to the ‘other stuff’ is more than sufficient. At least that’s how I see vodkas. I like Belvedere for some of the different flavors and it hasn’t made me sick. I often spend stupid money without remorse, but the Beluga purchase was a stupid waste of money.

1 Like

Yes and no. For example, if I had a blind tasting of Tito’s vs. Chopin vs. Stoli I could absolutely tell the difference between them since the flavors are slightly different based on what was used to make them (corn vs. potatoes vs. grain). Personally, I think Tito’s has the most robust “flavor” of any vodka, if I can use that term.

However, if you put a bunch of similarly priced grain vodkas (most vodka today is grain), I wouldn’t be able to tell.

@Respectfully_Declined is right when he says there’s no point in buying premium vodka and that there really are two classes of taste: standard and terrible!

Put Stoli against Svedka or Sobieski and it’s probably pretty even. Put it against Fleischmann’s or Majorska and you’ll probably spit it out…or have a headache the next day!



But if a person is not drinking vodka straight (and, really, who does that unless you’re just trying to keep warm), when mixed as an ingredient, are the differences still notable?

Depending on the drink. If you are mixing a terrible vodka into something fruity or something with a bunch of ingredients, then no. I wouldn’t use a top shelf vodka in an LIT for example. But in, say, a martini, oh yeah you would get hit with the harshness. Even with club soda/seltzer.

I like vodka on the rocks, a martini (usually gin, but occasionally vodka), or with club, so I only keep vodkas on the level of Stoli around. If I or my partner were into LIT’s, Cosmo’s, or mixing with actually sodas like Ginger Beer for a Mule, then I’d probably keep a “rail” vodka around for that reason.

I can definitely tell Georgi from Grey Goose.


Russian-made Vodka has been pulled off the shelves in Ontario, where I live.

1 Like

The fact that that story is illustrated with a picture of not-Russian vodka makes me distrustful of it.