Ever wander through the liquor aisles and feel overwhelmed by the number of different brands in the vodka section? Read our recommended vodka brands that will elevate all your vodka cocktails, especially the iconic Moscow Mule!
Why are there so many vodkas?
Every country has its own way of distilling ingredients to create alcohol. The ingredients vary by region, availability, and agricultural practices. The result is the creation of vodka that is unique to your land, which is pretty cool!
Many people think that all vodka must come from potatoes, (see also: Best Potato Vodkas)but this is not true. Vodka can be made from grapes, wheat, and even corn. The quality of your ingredient will significantly affect the taste of your vodka.
Why are some brands more expensive?
The cost of ingredients and the distillation process used to make the vodka are the two largest variable costs for making alcohol. As you can imagine, corn and potatoes are less costly to produce than grapes, which require a lot of resources to grow.
The distillation process also varies significantly across companies. A rule of thumb about distillation is that the more times it is distilled, the greater amount of impurities are removed, and the alcohol gets smoother and smoother.
This is why an economical bottle of vodka can sometimes taste like nail polish remover, but a top-shelf option has little to no taste at all.
How to pick a vodka for my Moscow Mule?
The Moscow Mule cocktail uses only three ingredients: vodka, ginger beer, and lime. Picking the right vodka is essential to balance out the limited ingredients used for this recipe. If you prefer sweeter beverages, you will probably enjoy a corn-based vodka option. Individuals who enjoy drier flavor profiles may prefer wheat and grain-based options instead.
There are no wrong choices to make when picking vodka (see also: Best Peach Vodka – Our Picks & Reviews)for your cocktail. You will be required to experiment with different brands (and hopefully you will have fun in the process) until you find the perfect fit.
If you ever find yourself wanting to learn more information, consider signing up for a cocktail class or checking out a local distillery. Learning what flavors to look for in alcohol can elevate your entire drinking experience.
Best Vodka for Moscow Mule – Our Picks
A Polish vodka that was originally made in the 1920s. It is made from potatoes and has a rigorous distillation process. The end result is a smooth clean vodka that has little to no aftertaste.
It is truly perfect for mixing with cocktails because it will have virally no effect on the cocktail taste, but will still deliver on the punch of liquor.
Reyka vodka is from Iceland. The Icelandic distillers pride themselves on using exclusively local ingredients for this vodka. Due to the unique climate of Iceland which influences their vodka ingredients, the natural flavors of their finished vodka can not be replicated anywhere else.
Vodka lovers can pick up on subtle herbal tones n the liquor, which plays nicely off the natural ginger in the ginger beer used for a Moscow Mule.
Wild Roots Vodka
Corn is the star of the show for this vodka that is distilled in the Pacific Northwest. Corn naturally carries sweetness, which is reflected in the final vodka beverage. The slightly sweet vodka pairs perfectly with the tangy lime juice that is added to the Moscow Mule.
France produces wine, champagne, and vodka! Ciroc is a luxurious vodka brand made out of grapes. The Ciroc line carries many different flavored vodkas, but we recommend using plain Vodka for your Moscow Mule. It is smooth, fruity, and pairs perfectly with this cocktail. The price tag may be high, but all bars keep Ciroc fully stocked on their top-shelf.
Straight from Detroit, Valentine Vodka is made using a blend of wheat and different grains. The result is a unique vodka that offers pleasant bitter notes and layered flavors. The playful bitter tones add complexity to the flavor profile that is both delicious, and intriguing.
Ocean Vodka was inspired by Hawaii’s beautiful blue waters surrounding the islands. The distillers pride themselves on their eco-friendly vodka, which uses sugar cane to naturally flavor the alcohol.
They also use their own water as a base, which has been desalinated using sophisticated equipment. Ocean Vodka is smooth, clean, and pairs nicely with carbonated drinks like the Moscow Mule.
At least one Russian vodka had to make the list! The Moscow Mule has nothing to do with Russia, but that does not mean a Russian vodka can’t be the star of the show. Stolichnaya is made from wheat and rye and gives a subtle burn after ingesting. It is strong, powerful, and delivers on a classic vodka taste many people love.
Smirnoff is probably the most popular vodka throughout the USA. The iconic red label can be recognized in any establishment, and it is easy to pick out a bottle of Smirnoff at the liquor store.
It has a slight mineral aftertaste that blends well with other strong flavors, such as the ingredients in the Moscow Mule. Smirnoff can be purchased in many different flavored varieties, but a Moscow Mule is better suited to plain Smirnoff.
The vodka brands listed above are not meant to be ranked in any particular order. All of the brands are excellent contenders that will compliment your Moscow Mule.
The range of flavors in these vodkas will be dictated by the different ingredients being used in the recipe, as well as the varied distillation process. All of the brands we listed work hard to produce excellent tasting vodka.
Some companies strive to go beyond producing great-tasting alcohol and focus their efforts on eco-friendly initiatives as well. It is exciting to know you pick a vodka that will elevate your cocktail and support sustainability initiatives too!
If you ever want to mix things up from the traditional Moscow Mule, check out our tequila mule recipe next!