The options are endless when you’re looking for the best bottle of Top-Shelf Vodka.
You’ll find plenty of top-shelf options, one more expensive than the next. But what you won’t find a guide to really help you break down and understand which brand of Top-Shelf Vodka you never knew you wanted.
This is that guide.
Top-Shelf Vodka might not be your first choice for an on-the-rocks sipper.
But on this list, you’ll find absolutely divine flavors, and you will learn to enjoy Top-Shelf Vodka like you never have before.
And of course, if you prefer a nice cocktail instead, our recommendations will work brilliantly with all your favorite mixes.
Below, you’ll find our list for the top brands in the world and a buyer’s guide to Top-Shelf Vodka, as well as answers to how it’s made and what types are there.
Finally, we’ll round off this article with tips on how to drink and really enjoy Top-Shelf Vodka, as well as the key tasting notes and vocabulary you’ll need to become a true aficionado.
Best Top-Shelf Vodka Brands to Savor
Here’s a list of the top 5 Top-Shelf Vodka brands you can buy. We have also explained in detail the other brands that offer Top-Shelf vodkas to try.
|2||Grey Goose||Best High-End Option|
|4||Belvedere||Best for Brand Prestige|
|5||UV||Most Easy to Drink|
This is an in-depth explanation of the top Top-Shelf vodka brands, including the 30 brands and a brief description of their company, products, and popularity.
Ketel One is a popular top-shelf vodka brand in the world. It was officially launched in 1983 by the Nolet family. This Netherlands-based vodka brand crafts its spirits using 100% GMO-free Winter wheat.
Using modern liquid engineering, the brand makes unique, high-quality crafted vodka with silky softness and clarity. It has over 300 years of experience in distilling vodka. The company is named after the oldest coal-fired copper pot still used at the distillery.
The company sells smooth, and creamy vodkas infused with natural flavors of Citroen and Orange. They have infused the Citroen vodka with natural oils from the best lemons and limes, while the orange has the essence of Valencia and Mandarin oranges.
Absolut is a popular vodka brand from Sweden that was established in 1879. This is a part of the Spirit giant French group, Pernod Ricard. The brand produces its premium vodka from special winter wheat.
The original Absolut Vodka is a bold drink with a crystal-clear appearance and creamy texture. The brand has plenty of refreshing flavors of vodka such as raspberry, acai berry, watermelon, grapefruit, pear, mandarin, vanilla, strawberry, lime, peach, mango, and apple.
Grey Goose is an exclusive French vodka brand established in 1990. It was founded by Sidney Frank but is currently owned by the famous Bacardi group. The Grey Goose vodkas are made from French Wheat, which gives it an authentic taste.
Grey goose is named as the best-tasting vodka in the world. It is made from 100% French ingredients in both original and flavored ones for its consumers. The bottles are always on the top shelves in liquor stores, bars, restaurants, technically everywhere.
The brand offers a wide range of flavors, including orange, pear, and citron. Plus, they offer vodkas infused with essences of watermelon & basil, strawberry & lemongrass, white peach as well as rosemary.
Chopin is a popular Polish potato vodka brand in the world. It is a single-ingredient vodka introduced in 1992 in Poland. The company produces small-batch vodkas using potatoes. The brand honors Frederic Chopin, a romantic composer, by naming it after him.
It is the world’s most awarded potato vodka with a unique flavor profile and creamy texture. They also make award-winning single-ingredient vodkas that is distilled four times from potatoes, rye, or wheat.
It also launched the first rested super-premium potato vodka in the world. Before being bottled, this younger potato spirit was left undisturbed for 2 years in 50-year-old polish oak barrels. They also make wheat and rye vodkas that have a full-bodied mouthfeel, creamy and earthy taste.
Belvedere is a luxury vodka brand that is named after the Polish presidential palace in Warsaw, Belweder. It is owned by the well-known Louis-Vuitton Moet Hennessey (LVMH) Group. This was launched in Poland in 1993.
The brand produces super-premium rye-based vodkas using Polish Rye and naturally flavored vodkas; pear & ginger, Blackberry & lemongrass, lemon & basil.
The original vodka goes through a maceration process with real fruits and herbs to create wonderfully flavored vodkas. Their collection includes ginger zest, citrus, orange, black raspberry, pink grapefruit, mango passion, bloody Mary, and lemon tea.
Tito’s handmade vodka is one of the top-shelf American vodka brands in the world. They have been making small batches of handmade vodka using old-fashioned pot stills for over two decades. It was launched by Bert Tito Beveridge in Texas, 1995. It is distilled and bottled at the first legal Texas distillery in Austin.
Their handmade vodka is a crystal-clear spirit distilled from corn, making this naturally gluten-free. This vodka acts as a great base for mixing cocktails and infusions.
Hangar 1 is a US-based top-shelf vodka brand launched in 2002. The brand uses Viognier grapes and American wheat to produce seasonal vodkas. It is owned by Proximo Spirits and is produced at the Alameda distillery in California.
Hangar 1 produces small-batch straight original vodka and a variety of flavored ones which are infused with fresh fruits, and the highest quality spices. The brand’s vodka collection includes Buddha’s hand citron, rose, honeycomb, mandarin blossom, Makrut lime, cardamom, and fennel.
Van Gogh is a Holland-based vodka brand created with inspiration from the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh. They started the company in 2000 in the Netherlands.
The third-generation distiller of the brand, Tim Vos, curates the best tasting vodkas from blended grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. The original vodka is ultra-smooth and perfectly balanced, which makes a great base for cocktails.
With a palate of 15 flavors, the brand makes award-winning vodkas in flavors like acai berry, Citroen, cool peach, espresso, double espresso, vanilla, wild appel, Dutch chocolate, Dutch caramel, mango, oranje, pomegranate, raspberry, melon, and pineapple.
Smirnoff is one of the best-selling Russian vodka brands launched in 1864. They distribute to more than 130 countries around the world. The brand is popular for its gluten-free vodka produced using corn. In addition, this popular company sells crystal-clear, triple-distilled vodka and flavored vodkas that are infused with natural fruit ingredients. Their lineup includes blueberry, green apple, lime, passion fruit, coconut, grape, orange, watermelon, pineapple, cherry, cranberry, raspberry, and peach.
The brand also makes unique flavors like tamarind sour, green apple, root beer float, pink lemonade, ruby red grapefruit, sorbet light raspberry pomegranate, kissed caramel, whipped cream, vanilla and spicy.
The brand’s lineup includes zero-sugar infusions of watermelon & mint, cucumber & lime, strawberry, and rose, along with lemon & elderflower.
Ciroc is yet another popular US vodka brand founded by a French wine maker in 2003. it became a well-known celebrity brand after the brand’s partnership with rapper Sean Combs began.
This vodka is made with French grapes where it has superior taste and quality. It is distilled 5 times for distinct flavor and smooth taste.
They have also introduced 9 different flavors: apple, peach, pineapple, mango, red berry, coconut, and French vanilla.
Stolichnaya is a famous soviet vodka brand that produces its spirits at a distillery in Latvia. It was started in 1938, where they use wheat and rye grain mash bill to distill their vodka.
The brand makes pure vodka products such as premium, Harvey milk limited edition bottle, 100 Proof premium vodka, and Stoli gold.
The brand produces delicious vodkas in various flavors, like hot, salted caramel, lime, cucumber, blueberi, ohranj, razberi, vanil, strasberi, citros, peachik, and gluten-free.
Svedka is a famous Swedish top-shelf vodka brand launched in 1998. The brand was previously using Swedish Winter Wheat to produce a clean-tasting vodka.
But currently, the brand uses American corn to craft superior-quality vodka and is distilled only four times for smoothness and purity. The brand is famous for its signature rainbow of flavored vodkas such as cherry, cucumber, peach, raspberry, clementine, citron, blue raspberry, and vanilla.
Their lineup also includes mango pineapple, black cherry lime, strawberry guava, ginger lime, strawberry lemonade, and cherry limeade.
Effen is one of the exclusive vodka brands introduced in the year 2003 in Holland. The brand uses premium French wheat and pure Holland water to make ultra-smooth vodka.
Effen vodka is a premium vodka that uses the original one to create drinks in other different unique flavors. These flavored vodka drinks include cucumber, black cherry, and raspberry. In addition, the company has launched two new and unique vodka flavors named yuzu citrus and rose.
Beluga is the largest Russian vodka brand that has produced its vodka from its family-owned Mariinsk Distillery since 2002.
This vodka is crafted with malt and purest artisan water using unique natural ingredients. The spirit is rested for a minimum of 30 days, which gives it an extraordinary flavor profile.
Their lineup includes a range of Beluga Noble, Allure, Celebration, Transatlantic, and Goldline. The company has also launched special bottles such as Beluga Epicure, designed by the crystal brand, Lalique and Beluga Night, a special edition that exotifies nightlife.
Pinnacle is an imported top-shelf vodka brand launched in 2002 in France. It is currently owned by Beam Suntory.
The brand uses Winter wheat to produce its premium vodka. In fact, their special winter wheat is what adds more power to their 30 unique flavors. In addition, they are distilled five times, giving the vodka a smoother texture and better quality.
Pinnacle offers a wide range of flavored vodkas; some of them include whipped cream, citrus, red berry, tropical, coconut, berry, blueberry, kiwi strawberry, vanilla, guava lime, cherry, habanero, grapefruit, peach, apricot honeysuckle, raspberry, grape, orange, pineapple, cucumber, cake, chocolate whipped, mango, orange whipped, and salted caramel.
Skyy is the most popular American vodka brand around the world. Although the brand was launched in 1992, the company distills its vodka using American grains.
The original Sky vodka is crafted using filtered water and Midwest grains through the quadruple distillation and triple filtration process.
They sell the most amazing collection of vodka infusions, including blood orange, raspberry, wild strawberry, cherry, citrus, pineapple, and watermelon.
Chase is a widely-known single-estate potato vodka brand that began offering some of the best top-shelf vodkas in 2008 in the United Kingdom. The brand uses premium potatoes that result in ultra-smooth vodka. Their collection of vodkas includes fresh fruit, marmalade, apple, elderflower, English oak-smoked, and rhubarb.
Crystal head is one of the purest smoothest vodkas that has been made with the highest quality ingredients and creative expressions. They use locally sourced Canadian corn to distill neutral grain spirit using Preston water from Newfoundland, Canada. It was launched in 2008 in Southern California.
The vodka is distilled four times and filtered 7 times to create a crystal clear and pure vodka with a creamy finish. The brand produces over 5 different Crystal head Vodka, such as original, Aurora, Onyx, John Alexander, and Pride.
Nikka coffee is a traditional vodka that is named after its inventor Aeneas Coffey. This is a blend of both Japanese and Scottish traditions. They use a traditional Coffey still imported from Scotland in 1963 to produce high-quality grain spirits.
The Coffey vodka is a pure grain spirit that was made using a great blending to precision technique. They blend corn and malt spirits distilled separately to create one unique expression of this vodka.
Double cross is a distinctive spirit that was developed by spirits veterans, Malcolm Lloyd and John Gellner, who launched the brand in 2008. It is an ultra-premium vodka produced in the Slovak Republic.
They made this premium luxury vodka using winter wheat where it is distilled 7 times and filtered 7 times and then blending it with Tatra Mountain spring water sourced from deep aquifers. This is one of the single vodkas with plenty of recognition and awards from top magazines and spirit lovers.
This is one of the incredibly smooth vodkas made at the Scottish distillery of Arbikie Highland Estate. The brand has been owned by the Stirling brothers since 2014. They make this vodka from Zulu wheat. The brand also excels in producing potato and terroir vodka.
The vodka flavors are determined by the natural ingredients sourced from their own estate, which gives their products plenty of creaminess and texture.
This is a luxury vodka distilled by the master distiller Harlen Davis Wheatley, of the world’s well-renowned buffalo trace distillery. HDW Clix is a polished vodka that has undergone over 159 separate distillation processes to produce an ultrafine drink.
This vodka is made using soft red winter wheat, plum rye, yellow dent corn, and malted barley. The master distiller took over 10 years of experimentation to create the recipe for this drink. These grains are cooked, fermented, and processed through 159 separate distillations to get clear vodka. Finally, the distilled spirit was placed in stainless steel tanks for 12 months for the smoothest finish.
It has elegance and smooth characteristics with intense tasting notes and delicate aromas of cinnamon, vanilla, and white pepper. They made only two thousand bottles of this elegant vodka, which was bottled in a crystal decanter designed by the Nouvel studio.
Death’s door is one of the prominent US-based vodka brands in the world. They found Death Door Spirits in 2005 and marketed their vodka to over 47 states and 19 countries worldwide.
It produces high-quality, supremely tasty vodka by using a combination of hard red winter wheat corn and malted barley. They blend malted Barley from Chilton, Wisconsin, and Washington Island wheat to produce their creamy and flavourful vodka.
They make the vodka from scratch by distilling the spirit in small batches using a Christian Carl hybrid pot and column still. The perfectly clear double-distilled vodka has wonderful aromas and flavors of vanilla and wheat notes.
Barr Hill is a Vermont-based top-shelf Vodka brand that was launched in 2011. The US gin and vodka producer Caledonia spirits produce this vodka.
This is a special vodka made by Todd Hardie, a beekeeper, for over 40 years. This vodka has a pleasant taste and sweetness from raw honey, which is cold fermented for 3 weeks by Todd Hardie to preserve the natural aromas and sublime flavors found in the Caledonia country.
Jean-Charles Boisset (JCB) is a French brand that makes wine-based vodkas. This was launched in 2018. They use vines fermented using Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes cultivated in Burgundy, France. The fermented spirit is aged in French oak barrels for over 6 months to produce vintage vodka.
The original vintage vodka is infused with natural ingredients to create two types of sensational flavored vodkas, French Caviar and Truffle. They use French caviar and black truffle of Perigord to infuse and make exceptionally tasting vodkas.
Carbonadi is an Italian vodka brand that makes ultra-premium spirits with its innovative technology and rare ingredients. This vodka was created from a legendary family-owned distillery that is in the Piemonte region.
They use locally sourced finest organic wheat and crystalline water from the Italian Alps to create pure and smooth vodka. The spirit is distilled 5 times and filtered through active charcoal to remove impurities.
The brand is famous for its rare filtration process where the filtered spirit is re-filtered through uncut carbonados, also known as microporous black diamonds, to remove additional impurities and create a smooth tasting vodka by following an ultimate step of micro-oxygenation.
They packed this modern and elegant vodka in a black bottle with a white and gold rim along with a luxurious, sleek design.
Boyd & Blair
Boyd and Blair Potato Vodka is a top-shelf vodka in the world. It is produced in Pittsburgh Distillery, Pennsylvania. This vodka is made using premium Pennsylvania potatoes, which have a sweet and earthy taste.
This handcrafted vodka is distilled in a copper spot still using Champagne yeast and bottled at 80-proof. The drink has a mineral aftertaste with notes of lemon zest.
UV is a popular vodka brand in the world. This hot vodka brand was started in the United States in 2001. They use yellow corn in order to distill good-quality vodka.
The award-winning brand has introduced an array of vodkas in unique fruity flavors like blue raspberry, ruby red grapefruit, cherry, grape, lemonade, sriracha, orange, very cherry lemonade, and salty caramel apple.
Kastra Elion is a premium outcast spirit that is distilled from Greek olives and grain. The brand name itself means castle and olives. They use handpicked Greek olives from Nafpaktos and mineral-rich water sourced from Mount Taygetus, which is the highest peak in Southern Greece.
The handpicked olives are blended with a mix of grains and crystal and rock water and then arrested for 30 days for the vote ka to smoothen. As a result, the vodka has a unique mouthfeel and complexity, which gives a smooth and buttery finish with notes of olives and pepper.
AO is a unique Japanese Rice vodka that is made in Japan. It is distilled at the Yamazaki Distillery owned by the Beam Suntory Company. They use 100% Japanese Rice and pure water sourced from the Island of Kyushu. The brand takes its name from the Japanese word “AO” which describes greenery, referring to the green paddy fields in the country.
This is a top-shelf vodka brand renowned for its purity. The brand uses soft white rice to distill vodka with a crystal-clear appearance achieved by a unique bamboo filtration process. As a result, the vodka has great notes of rice and crisp flavors of coconut, mint, and banana leaves. In addition, it has a sweet pudding aftertaste.
What is Top-Shelf Vodka?
Everyone has a different definition of top-shelf vodka. But they consider Vodka to be a top-shelf brand when made with fine quality ingredients and grace the top shelf of clubs and liquor stores. It is also expensive compared to regular brands. Therefore, a top-shelf vodka is saved for special occasions such as anniversaries, birthdays, and high-profile parties.
Things That Make Top-Shelf Vodkas Superior
If you are an alcohol lover, you may spend hours on the internet searching for good-quality vodkas and may end up getting plenty of suggestions for top-shelf brands.
How do you know what makes them different from other brands in the market? Here are a few things which differentiate a top-shelf brand;
- Top Shelf Brands Use Premium Ingredients
Vodka is a neutral spirit that is usually made using premium quality wheat, rye, barley, corn, and potatoes. Most top-shelf brands use premium quality winter wheat—locally sourced refined rice and malt barley to produce good quality crystal clear vodkas.
Most of the brands cultivate their own grains and locally source them to ensure the ingredients’ quality. The distillery units of these brands are in refined environments with perfect climatic conditions. This makes them cultivate crops, harvest them in the ideal seasons, and cook them at their own distillery.
The other important ingredient in making good-quality vodka is water. Top shelf brands use spring water, glacier-fed water, or artesian well water to distill their vodka, which gives them a unique taste and flavor profile to the drinks.
- Top Shelf Brands Follow Plenty of Distillation Process
Vodka is made using a series of processes such as milling, fermenting, distilling, and filtering, which require utmost care and patience. Most top-shelf brands practice over 3 distillation processes to create sophisticated products.
A good quality vodka should be smooth with no harsh burn or powerful odor. Top shelf brands ensure they distill more times and follow a good filtration process to remove any bitter taste or odor from their products.
- Top Shelf Brands Never Burn Your Taste Buds
The top shelf brands create pure, crystal clear, odorless, and tasteless vodka. These are of superior purity and quality. In addition, some of these brands make infusions using natural ingredients and avoid additive sugars or artificial flavors.
You can definitely drink top-shelf vodka straight with no water or mixtures. They may burn your pockets but never your taste buds. It goes down smoothly and doesn’t have any sharp ethanol aromas. These vodkas make a great base for cocktails.
Top Shelf Vodkas: Myths and Facts
Many have doubts about top-shelf vodkas because many brands are in this category because of their purity, while others are simply for the price tag. This creates a lot of questions among vodka lovers. Let’s decode some myths and facts to check which of them are true or false;
- Do Top-Shelf Vodkas Reduce Hangovers?
Any alcohol, in this case, the pure spirit or vodka, causes intoxication. No exact science verifies that top-shelf vodka brands do not cause or reduce a hangover.
Most people prefer top-shelf vodka brands for their smoothness and less burning sensation on the throat. In addition, high-cost spirit brands take more time and care in creating their vodkas, which are of good quality compared to other regular ones.
It doesn’t matter whether you drink a top-shelf liquor or a regular one as long as you drink in moderation to handle a hangover.
- Are They Really Expensive or Hyped?
It’s a myth that top-shelf brands are over-hyped with whooping prices.
The fact is that top-shelf vodka brands are definitely expensive because they use premium quality ingredients and artesian water to distill their vodkas.
Most top-shelf brands take immense care of removing impurities and distilling them several times to reduce the burning sensation in the alcohol.
The average top-shelf vodka range cost between $30-$40. This is in the affordable range, and anything more than that depends upon the technology and ingredients.
In most cases, they are priced in the higher range, but some brands sell overpriced vodka because of celebrity associations and for charity.
- Top-Shelf Vodka Brands Make the Best Base for Cocktails
A bad vodka will never change its taste by using sweet ingredients like fruit juice. It’s a myth that your vodka cocktail will always be tasty no matter what the base spirit is.
The fact is that vodka’s base quality reflects your cocktails’ taste and quality. So when you use top-shelf vodka as the base for making a vodka cocktail, it becomes a delicious and crowd-pleasing one.
There is a mixability factor to consider while purchasing good quality vodka for making cocktails. Top shelf brands have a great mixability ratio because of their purity and smoothness. So yes, top-shelf vodkas really make the best base for cocktails.
The Best Ways to Enjoy Top-Shelf Vodka
Top shelf vodka specializes in quality, purity, and smoothness. You can enjoy this refreshing spirit in the following ways,
All top-shelf vodkas are perfect for drinking straight at room temperature with no water or mixers.
On the Rocks
You can enhance the natural flavors and aromas of top-shelf vodkas by pouring it into a glass with ice cubes and enjoying it chilled.
These top-shelf vodkas make great party pleasers. You can enjoy vodka shots with your friends at parties. Chill the vodka bottle in a refrigerator or freezer before serving it in a shot glass.
Combine vodka with soda water, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and garnish with fresh mint and lime slices.
Vodka sour is a mixed drink that makes a sour cocktail. You must mix vodka with lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white, angostura bitters, and ice cubes.
This is a classic cocktail where you mix vodka with club soda, lemon juice, and sugar to create a tasty bubbly lemonade.
This is a mysterious cocktail which is named after Sir Thomas Gimlet, a surgeon who started serving cocktails to sailors to ward off scurvy disease. You should mix vodka with lemon juice, simple syrup, ice cubes, and garnish with lemon zest.
Vodka-based martinis are popular items on cocktail menus. It is the best way to show off top-shelf vodkas. Mix top-shelf vodka with dry vermouth and bitters to make classic Martini cocktails.
Vodka tonics are popular cocktails served in a highball glass—mix vodka with tonic water to make a refreshing drink.
Mix any top-shelf vodka with apple juice, lemon juice, and maple syrup in a cocktail shaker and strain into a Martini glass.
Mix tomato juice, vodka, lemon juice, hot sauce, black pepper, and salt into a large cocktail shaker and strain into a tall glass with ice.
Pour vodka, ginger bitters, and Ginger beer into a glass with ice cubes and gently mix them. Garnish with a slice of lime and mint leaves to serve.
Combine vodka with orange juice and angostura bitters and pour it into a glass with ice cubes.
Pour vodka, coffee liqueur, and whipped cream into a glass with ice. Stir urgently and serve.
Mix a top-shelf vodka with coffee liqueur to make a decent black Russian cocktail.
The sea breeze is a low-calorie vodka cocktail that you can make by mixing cranberry juice, vodka, grapefruit juice, and garnish with cherries or cranberries.
Cosmopolitan is a one-of-a-kind cocktail that represents high-class bars in the world. It is one of the best cocktails made using top-shelf vodka brands. Choose any top-shelf citron-Top-Shelf vodka and mix it with lime juice and cranberry juice to make this amazing cocktail.