Russian Vodka AlternativesBy Stephanie Moreno
In an effort to show their support for Ukraine after the recent Russian invasion, retailers and bar owners around the world have been removing Russian vodka brands from their shelves. Brands such as Russian Standard, Beluga Noble, and Hammer + Sickle, among others, have all been affected by the ban. Even non-Russian vodka brands such as Smirnoff — made in the US, Canada, Great Britain and other countries — and Stolichnaya — manufactured and bottled in Latvia — have also been caught up in the ban due to their Russian-sounding names.
If you’d like to show your support to Ukraine by joining the Russian vodka boycott, the simplest alternative would be to seek out a Ukrainian vodka brand for your next vodka purchase. And as Ukraine’s neighboring country Poland has seen a massive influx of Ukrainian refugees seeking safe harbor, Polish vodka also deserves some love. Below are a few of our recommendations.
Nemiroff Vodka was first established 150 years ago in 1872. The brand’s flagship Original bottling is a wheat-based vodka that’s filtered 11 times. Nemiroff also makes a few other bottlings including their surprisingly good Honey Pepper Vodka made with chili peppers, honey, and herbs & spices.
Kruto Vodka is made in Central Ukraine using Ukrainian wheat. The water used in its production is sourced from a 2600 foot underground aquifer. Their Original Vodka is distilled 9 times compared to its Flawless Vodka which is distilled 15 times.
KHOR Vodka is naturally gluten free as it’s distilled from corn. The Platinum bottling is filtered with shungite, a natural mineral, along with quartz sand and charcoal made from birch and alder trees.
In case you weren’t aware, Polish Vodka is actually a protected category. In fact, in order to be called “Polish Vodka” the vodka must be made from cereals (e.g. rye, barley, wheat, oats, triticale) or potatoes grown in Poland. No additives other than water are allowed. Furthermore, each step of its production has to be in Poland.
While it isn’t unusual for a brand to have several marques of vodka in its portfolio, it is rare for the base ingredient to vary from bottling to bottling. Chopin first launched their brand with a potato vodka back in 1992. Then in 2011 the brand introduced both a wheat and a rye vodka to its portfolio. Each one is well worth seeking out.
First introduced to the US in 1996 as a luxury vodka, Belvedere Vodka is distilled from 100% Polish Dankowski rye. Belvedere uses water drawn from wells situated on the grounds of the distillery to bring it to proof. Then they charcoal filters the vodka prior to bottling.
Sobieski also uses Polish Dankowski rye in its production. The brand is named after the Polish King Jan III Sobieski who reigned from 1674 until his death in 1696.
Another Vodka Brand to Seek Out
This week Ohio-based Watershed Distillery announced its commitment to donating 100% of its March and April vodka sales to World Central Kitchen. The nonprofit organization founded by restaurateur and philanthropist José Andrés is currently providing hot meals to Ukrainians at border crossings for families fleeing home as well as those who remain in the country. First released in 2010, Watershed Vodka is one of the distillery’s flagship products. It’s distilled from US grown corn and Ohio grown apples.
Looking for more Russian vodka alternatives?
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