Bloody Mary, Cosmopolitan, Moscow Mule or on the rocks – no matter how you like it served, vodka is undoubtedly, one of the best companions at the bar! To celebrate National Vodka Day this year on October 4th, we’ve put together a bucket list of where to travel to taste the world’s best vodka.
Vodka is one of Russia’s most well-known exports – it’s difficult not to associate one with the other.
Take a trip to the Russian Vodka Museum, where you can browse a selection of artefacts, including one of the largest collections of Russian vodkas. Visitors can sample the spirits alongside a selection of traditional Russian snacks. Any vodka connoisseur will attest to the quality of Russian or Polish vodka, and some of the best Russian vodka is distilled in St. Petersburg.
Russian Standard is made with only Russian ingredients, including the glacial waters of nearby Lake Ladoga (desired for its very few impurities). Each batch is distilled over 200 times until it achieves exceptional purity. While in St. Petersburg, be sure to sample the best vodka in the world in the city’s restaurants and bars – a typical Russian will prefer theirs served neat, chilled, and with a toast to good health!
While England may be better known for its love of gin, there is an increasing market for craft vodkas – to find out where to taste the best vodka, just ask around the local pubs!
For a uniquely British distillery experience, pay a visit to the Chase Distillery nestled in the Herefordshire countryside. The Chase family welcome visitors to their family potato farm, where they will happily walk you through their process from harvest to fermentation to distillation (and with samples to taste).
If innovation and sustainable distilling practices inform your palette, it’s worth checking out Adnams distillery in Southwold by the sea. Since debuting their line of locally-sourced spirits in 2012, they have won international awards for their pioneering distilling processes and fantastic product.
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If Russia was the first country to produce vodka, Poland was the first to perfect it. Poland has grown to be one of the world’s largest producers of the spirit, with a rich history to complement as a point of national pride. Companies like Polish Your Cooking and Eat Polska offer tours that combine samples of some of the country’s best vodka with authentic Polish cuisine.
In the seaside city of Gdańsk, Eat Polska offers a daily guided tour of the city’s bars and vodka culture with a vodka tasting that lasts 3.5 hours and runs every evening.
For a second taste of vodka culture in Poland, head to Warsaw’s impressive Vodka Museum housed in the Koneser Vodka Distillery. The extensive exhibition delves into the 600-year history of vodka production in Poland.
Situated toward the top of the Eastern Europe “Vodka Belt”, Sweden enjoys an international reputation for producing some of the world’s finest and most pure Scandinavian vodka.
Visit the Museum of Spirits on the isle of Djurgården in Stockholm, featuring exhibitions on alcohol in Sweden and beyond. The location is equipped with a bar, restaurant and café, and annual art installations dedicated to the country’s premier vodka export, Absolut.
Over in Åhus, you can take a guided tour of the Absolut Vodka headquarters. In-person guides and state-of-the-art technological displays will walk you through all the best parts of the Absolut assembly line, and after the tour, you’re invited to an interactive vodka tasting. Mix your own drink and sample the unmatched purity for yourself.
You can always expect a warm welcome when you visit the frosty capitals of northern Europe with Trafalgar on the Capitals of Scandinavia tour
France is world-renowned for producing fine wines and spirits, so naturally there is no compromise on quality when it comes to their global vodka brands.
The French label Grey Goose arrived on the vodka scene in the 1990s and has become a cultural icon for wealth and indulgence.
In keeping with the brand’s luxury, Logis du Fresne is a 17th-century country manor that serves as the spiritual home of Grey Goose. Visitors are immersed in the production and cocktail culture of French vodka, with amenities including a gourmet kitchen, a swimming pool and stately dining quarters.
Many other platinum-standard vodka distilleries in the neighbouring Cognac region invite visitors to meet the Master Blenders and cellar masters, who have honed the artform of distilling some of the best vodka in the world.
Americans have a taste for vodka as one of the world’s leading sources of the beverage. American vodka is relatively flavourless compared to Russian or Polish vodka and is typically made with corn.
Over in California, the Hangar 1 Distillery welcomes vodka enthusiasts of all kinds for tours, tastings and mixology classes in their unique WWII-era hangar location. Whether you’re interested in the manufacturing process or more intrigued by exclusive small-batch samples only available on-site, Hangar 1 caters to all kinds.
Down in the south, Texas is a popular destination for craft vodka distilleries. Tito’s Handmade Vodka is well-loved in their Austin home base and far beyond, not only for their push for more fair legislation for Texas microbrewers but also for their unbeatable product. While Tito’s doesn’t offer distillery tours, the label sponsors many big-ticket live music events. If you’re in town, you’ll more than likely find a sample sooner or later!
Experience California’s vast natural landscapes and try the best local produce the golden state has to offer with Trafalgar on the Northern California tour.
It should come as no surprise that the Dutch have a reputation for knowing where to go to taste the best vodka. The region is known within the Vodka Belt for producing some top-quality spirits, with a long history of seed-to-bottle methodology.
More recently, distillers in The Netherlands have drawn intrigue from global enthusiasts for their push into diverse flavours, ranging from charming to bizarre. Arguably the most famous distillery in The Netherlands is the Nolet Distillery in Schiedam, where world-class Ketel One vodka is produced. Visitors to the site will also appreciate De Nolet – the tallest windmill in the world – which is used to this day to power the distillery.
Canada’s vodka exports are seeing rapid market growth on a global scale. The cool climate in northern parts of the country makes chilled vodka as welcome in Canada as in any part of Eastern Europe. Many recent Canadian vodka debuts have already established their merit with international awards.
Georgian Bay vodka has been named one of the world’s best by Forbes and the International Wine and Spirits Competition. Pur Vodka is Canada’s most awarded vodkas, with 72 medals won at the world’s leading competitions. Vodka distilled with glacier water has become emblematic of premium distillers across northern Canada, much like high-end Russian and Scandinavian vodka labels. The use of this natural resource makes the product exceptionally pure.
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Australians are well known to be fond of a drink, with a particular fondness for domestically produced beer, wine and spirits. The Australian craft spirit industry distinguishes itself to international vodka connoisseurs for utilising quality organic ingredients to create an exceptional range of top-shelf spirits.
For travellers hunting for where to taste the best vodka, The Hunter Distillery in New South Wales has gained international acclaim for its premium European-style vodka and its range of infused vodkas. Visitors will find it tough to choose from the uniquely Australian lemon myrtle vodka or the spicy Thai chilli vodka. For the truly adventurous, the Hunter Distillery also sells vodka infused with Carolina Reaper peppers, which can only be sold in 100-millilitre bottles.
How do you like your vodka served – mixed, neat or on the rocks? Let us know down in the comments! When you’re ready to sip cocktails in your new favourite holiday destination, head over to our website and book your getaway with Trafalgar.