The Best Canadian Vodka in 2023
Vodka is mostly known as the national drink of Russia. After all, vodka is said to have originated in the country. While Russia has the title for top vodka producing and consuming country, Canada has its own unique vodka brands. In fact, there are several Canadian vodkas worth trying. But since Canadian vodka is not as well known, it can be difficult deciding where to start. To help you, we have created a buying guide that lists the top Canadian vodkas in 2023. To kick things off, let’s look at some things to look for in Canadian vodka.
Our top picks
What to look for in Canadian vodka and other considerations
Ingredients: The quality of the ingredients can affect the quality of the vodka. The general rule of thumb is that better ingredients lead to a better vodka. We recommend you select vodka brands that grow their own ingredients. They will have greater control over the quality of the ingredients over distillers who buy them from suppliers.
Profile: Vodka is usually described as a bland spirit with no noticeable qualities. However, vodka aficionados say that vodka has a rich profile. Three things make vodka’s profile: smoothness, character, and taste. Vodka drinkers usually prefer each to be on the higher end of the spectrum. Still, it comes down to a person’s personal preference. Maybe you prefer an intense spicy taste over a silky-smooth finish. Consider what your preferences are and try to find a vodka that matches.
Price: The more money you spend usually equal a higher quality vodka. Cheaper brands will usually be lower quality vodkas. However, this not always true. Sometimes, higher end vodkas are of poor quality and not worth the expensive price. Keep this in mind when comparing vodka prices. The size of the bottle will also affect the price. Larger bottles (1L or more) usually have higher prices, while smaller bottles (around 750ml and lower) will have lower prices. Here’s another tip. Most liquor stores will stock high end vodka on the top shelfs, usually at eye level. The cheaper brands are typically placed on the bottom shelves.
Vodka types: While not as diverse as Scottish whisky, there are some distinct vodka types. The first type is single bottled vodka (or single barrel and single vintage). These are vodkas made from a single ingredient rather than a blend of elements. Single bottle vodkas are only filtered once. Barrel aged vodkas are the second type. As the name suggests, these vodkas are aged in barrels usually made from oak. The last type is called flavoured vodka. Various additives such as ginger, coriander, berries, honey, and cinnamon are added to the vodka to create a distinct flavour. This type of vodka is good for mixed drinks.
The three vodka types demonstrate that vodka is not just a neutral, bland drink. They show that vodka can have a distinct and unique flavour.
The best affordable vodka
Alberta Pure Vodka
Alberta Pure Vodka is made by Alberta Distillers, the same company that produces the Canadian whisky Alberta Premium. The vodka received a gold medal and was named the best Canadian vodka at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits competition. With such a prestigious award, Alberta Pure Vodka has several qualities that makes it worthy of the title.
The vodka is triple distilled and cold filtered. The ingredients include locally sourced grain and glacier water. They combine to produce a vodka that is described as having a sparkling clarity and a neutral taste with some hints of sweetness. The finish is long and smooth with some heat to it.
The main positive for Alberta Pure Vodka is its price. For a 750 ml bottle, the price ranges between $23.00-$28.00 CAD. Many customers said that Alberta Pure Vodka was the best for dollar value; you get a good bang for your buck. Other people said they were pleasantly surprised by Alberta Pure Vodka. They expected it to have a cheap, chemical taste. Instead, they found the drink to be smooth and refreshing. However, there were some customers who said Alberta Pure Vodka had a harshness to it when drunk straight. Using the it in a mixed drink or cocktail took some of the harshness off.
Overall, Alberta Pure vodka is a good alternative for those on a budget. But there are better quality Canadian vodkas available for a slightly higher price.
- Affordable price.
- Has a harshness to it when drunk straight.
Best high end vodka
Crystal Head Vodka
This vodka was founded in 2008 by businessman John Alexander and Canadian actor Dan Aykroyd. The two men wanted to create a vodka that was additive free. To achieve this goal, Crystal Head Vodka uses Canadian corn which is distilled four times and blended with water from Newfoundland. The spirit is then filtered seven times, three of which are through layers of a semi-precious crystal called the Herkimer Diamonds. This process creates a vodka that is smooth with a natural aroma and taste. You will also find notes of vanilla and sweetness and a sweet and creamy finish. The distinct bottle design comes from Alexander’s and Aykroyd’s shared fascination with the legend of the 13 crystal skulls.
The smoothness and taste of Crystal Head vodka was big hit with customers. Many people enjoyed its creamy and sweet feel. The versatility of the vodka was another plus. You can drink it neat, on ice, or mixed. Whichever way you choose, Crystal Head Vodka still tastes great. Lastly, people liked the bottle design. Some customers found other uses for the bottle once it was empty; for example, a candleholder. A downside to this vodka is its availability. Depending on where you live, Crystal Head vodka can be hard to find. In most cities in Canada, the spirit can only be found in a select number of liquor stores. Another drawback is its price. Several customers said that the price was too high for Crystal Head Vodka to become their go to spirit that they drink regularly. It was best saved for special occasions.
- Free of additives.
- Unique bottle design
- Versatile, can be drank in many different styles.
- Can be hard to find depending on where you live.
Best vodka for cocktails and mixed drinks
Out of the vodkas in the buying guide, the version from Vodka is the most unique. Instead of the standard ingredients like wheat, corn, or potatoes, Vodkow uses milk permeate left over from the production of milk products like cheese and yogurt. The milk permeate is combined with a unique strain of yeast which is then diluted with spring water. The end product is a creamy, smooth vodka with hints of vanilla.
The entire process has half the normal carbon footprint of other distillers. The distilling process for Vodkow Vodka is also less wasteful; anything that is not used in the end product can be put back into the environment. Lastly, Vodkow supports local dairy farmers. Normally, dairy farmers have to pay a disposal cost for milk permeate. But since Vodkow uses the milk permeate, farmers save money.
Many customers liked the smooth feel and creamy flavour of Vodkow Vodka. Its overall profile paired well with various cocktails, the Moscow Mule being a popular example. Vodkow Vodka also worked well in simple mixed drinks, such as vodka and soda. Because of its profile and versatility, Vodkow became some people’s go to vodka. Lastly, the sustainable nature of Vodka was an added bonus for customers. Like Crsytal Head Vodka, Vodkow Voda can be tricky to find. Most liquor stores do not carry it, so you will have to buy it from the distiller’s website. While most people liked the taste and feel of Vodkow Vodka, there are others who preferred the traditional vodka profile, neutral and subtle.
- Made sustainably, an environmentally friendly vodka.
- Overall profile makes it work well in cocktails and mixed drinks.
- Can be tricky to find.
- People who like the traditional vodka profile may not like Vodkow Vodka.
Best vodka cooler
Vodka coolers, also known as vodka seltzers or sodas, have become popular in recent years. They combine vodka with a sweet taste, usually a fruit flavour like peach or blueberry. Add some carbonation, and you have a compact and tasty vodka drink. Out of the many vodka coolers available, Nütrl Vodka Soda might be the best Canadian version you can buy. The soda comes in nine flavours:
What makes Nütrl Vodka Soda special is that it is sugar, preservative and additive free. Plus, it clocks in at only 100 calories. As the website says, Nütrl Vodka Soda is a goo alternative to sugary mixed drinks or high calorie beers. The soda also has zero carbs, which makes it a good drink for anyone on a low carb diet.
Customers enjoyed the taste of Nütrl Vodka Soda, and many liked that it had zero sugar, additives, and carbs. People who were on low carb diets like Keto said that it was the perfect vodka cooler for them. Other people commented that Nütrl Vodka Soda did not leave a bitter or super-sweet aftertaste like other coolers. Overall, customers agreed that the quality of Nütrl Vodka Soda was superior to other brands. There are some people though who do not like the taste of vodka sodas. For example, they will say that they taste like soda water; the flavour was bland had no traces of sweetness. Some user reviews reflected this sentiment, although they were not widespread.
- Good option for those on a low carb diet.
- Contains zero sugars, preservatives, or additives.
- Has a pleasant and refreshing taste.
- Some people may not like the flavour. Might taste bland to them.
For this buying guide, our team spent over eight hours researching several Canadian vodka brands. We tried to select vodkas that were smooth and had interesting flavours. We read countless user reviews to learn what customers thought of our picks. Our team also consulted various articles to learn more about Canadian vodka.
Frequently asked questions about Canadian vodka
What is Canadian vodka made from?
Just like other countries’ vodkas, Canadian vodka has several ingredients. The main ingredients are grains like barley, wheat, rye, and corn, and potatoes. However, other ingredients can be added to Canadian vodka. For example, milk, honey, grapes, and maple sugar can be distilled into vodka.
How is Canadian Vodka made?
To start, distillers combine their base ingredient (usually grains or potatoes) with water. The mixture is heated, and yeast is added to start fermentation. Next, the base is distilled several times in a column still. Brands will differ in how many times they will distill their vodkas (it can range from 3-7 times). The vodka is then tested to see whether it has reached the desired alcohol content. If it catches fire, then the vodka is ready. If it does not light up at all, it needs to be distilled further. Once the distillation is complete, the vodka is filtered to remove any impurities. Various types of filters exist, from activate charcoal to semi-precious crystals.
What does Canadian vodka taste like?
Unlike whiskey, Canadian vodka tends to have a neutral taste. And this is by design. Most Canadian vodkas are made to be flavourless. However, Canadian vodka does have a flavour to it, albeit a subtle and varying one. It has been described as sweet, creamy, fruity, spicy, and nutty. Other people are blunter with their assessment. They will say that vodka tastes like nail polish remover.
How much does Canadian vodka cost?
Canadian vodka on the cheaper side usually cost $20.00-$30.00 per bottle. Higher end brands usually sell for $60.00-$80.00. Keep in mind that the size of the bottle can influence the price. Larger bottles will be more expensive, while smaller bottles will be cheaper.
How do you drink vodka?
There are three ways people drink vodka, straight (or neat), on the rocks, or in a cocktail/mixed drinks. Drinking vodka straight is just as it sounds. Only the vodka is in the glass. On the rocks means vodka poured over ice. Vodka cocktails and mixed drinks use a variety of ingredients. Some common examples are soda like ginger ale, fruit juices, and liqueurs.
Is vodka the healthiest alcohol?
Vodka has gained a reputation as being the healthiest alcohol. In terms of calories, most vodkas are 100 calories per shot. This figure is not far off from other spirits like whiskey or gin. However, vodka sodas are often low in calories, so they would be a good option for people watching their weight. Due to its distillation and filtration, vodka is free from many impurities found in other spirits. And with its low carb count, vodka and vodka sodas are popular drinks for people following Keto and other low carb diets.
At the end of the day, please keep in mind that vodka is still an alcoholic drink. Consuming it in excess can lead to serious health problems. Always practice moderation when drink vodka and other spirits.
For more information on the potential health benefits of vodka, check out this article by Town&Country.
Are there laws on Canadian vodka?
According to the government of Canada, there are three requirements for Canadian vodka:
- Vodka will be made from potatoes, cereal grain, or any other material of agricultural origin. It will be fermented by the action of yeast or a mixture of yeast and other micro-organisms.
- Vodka will be treated with charcoal or with other material so that it has not distinct character, aroma, or taste.
- Vodka produced solely or in part from material other than potatoes or cereal grain will have the statement “produced from” followed by the list of ingredients used on the bottle.
As in other countries, Canadian vodka must be at least 80 proof, or 40% ABV.
What are the best vodka cocktails and mixed drinks?
Vodka is one of the most popular spirits to use in cocktails and mixed drinks. But before we get into some example, let’s define what cocktails and mixed drinks are. Most people use the terms interchangeably; however, the two are different. According to an article by Food&Wine, mixed drinks have a minimum of two ingredients (e.g., rum and ginger ale). Cocktails have three or more ingredients.
A screwdriver is a popular vodka mixed drinks. Its two ingredients are vodka and orange juice. The vodka martini is one of the most popular cocktails in the world. The ingredients are vodka, dry vermouth, bitters, and a garnish (e.g., a lemon peel). White Russians are another popular vodka cocktail. They are made with vodka, coffee liqueur, and cream served over ice. Lastly, the Bloody Mary is popular cocktail to have with brunch. The main ingredients are vodka and tomato juice with various spices added.
Thrillist: Vodka 101
Thrillist: What Does Vodka Taste Like?
Britannica: Learn how to make vodka
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