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Jan 26, 2005 06:50 PM

Smirnoff Vodka the best!

  • r

The NY Times conducted a premium vodka taste-off.

Much to everybody's surprise, the lowly Smirnoff, which they had included as a joke, won.

Hey, don't start with me, I didn't do it. Let's see, party shopping list, 1 Grey Goose, 1 funnel, 1 case Smirnoff...


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  1. I've always liked Smirnoff.

    Or- One case rot gut vodka, one funnel, one Brita Filter, and one empty Grey Goose bottle.(a few weeks ago someone posted a link to a website that performed this experiment).

    15 Replies
    1. re: 2chez mike

      I have a friend who claims to have done this and gotten very interesting results. It takes about 5 runs through the filter, and it spoils the filter for future use. So: cheap vodka ($5)+ brita filter ($9) + time and energy (variable)= you coulda bought better vodka to begin with.

      Still, it's an interesting factoid.

      1. re: 2chez mike

        The vodka-filtering website is

        and it's a total riot.


        1. re: 2chez mike

          "....Or- One case rot gut vodka, one funnel, one Brita Filter, and one empty Grey Goose bottle.(a few weeks ago someone posted a link to a website that performed this experiment)."

          The whole point of this blind taste test was that no filtering was done, or needed to be done. Smirnoff cooked Grey Goose's Goose straight up, (all pun intended). If you fill up your empty Grey Goose bottle with Smirnoff you will have a better bottle of vodka.

          This makes me think back to champagne tastings that were done blind and the experts invariably went with the much less expensive brands, (hell they were down right cheap) than all those high end ones. Also there have been wine tastings that have come up with similar results. Packaging and preconceived notions about what is going to be better are not born out in many of the truly "blind" tastings.

          1. re: WLA

            ...totally agree with you that the most expensive often times does not necessarily equate with the best tasting...

            Still, tasting is entirely subjective (and who is to say that my tastebuds are vastly superior than yours or the experts' or panel members' or vice versa. Hey, maybe we can all whip out our microscopes to see who has the most taste buds per square inch of tongue, and cross compare results along with our past histories of chili pepper consumption, smoking and coffee drinking).

            For a lot of people, there is an associated mental boost from bling it wine, vodka, cars, ranges, etc. yada yada...which might make them perceive that the bling products are inherently "better." Not to mention the pretty bottle/packaging, some of which are very smart looking and works of art from an industrial design standpoint.

            And yes, I do laugh when I am at the bar, and someone mosies on up and orders a Ketel One Harvey Wallbanger.

            I am surprised at how the whole top-shelf vodka thing has had an amazing run.... Personally, I find the whiskies/scotches and tequilas far more interesting...

            1. re: Anne in SF

              Agreed. For instance I love Tanqueray and can't stand Bombay Sapphire...others feel the opposite.

              I thought all Vodkas tasted the same until one day when I had four different kinds in the house and did a horizontal tasting. The Trader Joes Vodka of the Gods, which I had been using to make liqueurs with, had the distinct character of nail polish remover.

              Ketel One faired the best. But once you muck it up with g-d knows what kind of vermouth and olive juice (dirty - ugh) - might as well go for the house brand IMO.

              1. re: snackish

                I say Ketel One is better than Grey Goose and is best with vodka martinis if using a comparable quality dry vermouth.

                Regarding your gin comment, have you tried Brokers gin? I am liking it a lot (usually I drink Saphire but I might switch to Brokers). It's a London gin.

              2. re: Anne in SF

                I agree with your posting, esp. concerning most people and bling products. If you check out the law concerning the manufacture of vodka in the U.S., it was written so that there was very little leeway in the process. This resulted in very little difference in any vodka produced in the U.S. Of course, market promotions created demands and much higher prices for the most advertised brands. I would venture to say the top foreigh brands are similar in quality, but advertising creates the bling that many people will want to buy.

              3. re: WLA

                Also makes me think of a blind coffee tasting that ABC7 did in LA a few years back. They lined up the usual suspects. I forget who the other contenders were, but the big "surprising" result was the 7-11 came out #1 or 2, way ahead of Starbuck's.

                I felt so vindicated: I'd been buying 79 cent coffee at 7-11 for years, and still love the french vanilla roast when I can't get home-brewed. I refuse to drink Starbuck's, which tastes burnt and flat.

                Neither of these is the best coffee to be had, but I'd rather pay 79 cents than $3 any day.

                1. re: nooodles

                  "You have to go farther every year for a bad cup of coffee" - Tom Waits.

                  1. re: nooodles

                    A blind tasting reported in Wall STreet Journal recently had pretty-much the opposite results. STarbucks and other high dollar coffees did well. The interesting thing to me was, the caffeine content. It appears that the pricey coffee joints use a lot more coffee per water than convenience stores, etc. Thus a stronger flavor sure, but also WAY more caffeine. You gotta wonder if the preference is more a caffeine jones than anything.

                    1. re: danna

                      Another factor between Starbucks and the convenience stores is the length of time that the coffee sits on a burner. I think that 7-11 has a pretty decent cup ... BUT .. how much time has it been sitting there??

                      1. re: jlawrence01

                        Last I heard, they had a policy of throwing out any coffee after 15 minutes.

                        1. re: coll

                          Give it a sniff. Your nose knows.

                          1. re: snackish

                            Yeah, I'm talking 10 or 20 years ago, 7 Elevens sure have changed since then. I rarely buy coffee on the road, but hear that Dunkin' Donuts is the best.

                            1. re: coll

                              Dunkin Donuts coffee is good, but I don't even consider it "real" coffee. It is very thick and very sweet, even before they put in half a cup of sugar and milk in it. It is not something I'd be able to drink every day.

              4. LOL! Well, a little "bite" in your vodka is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on your taste, but the next day tells the real tale!

                1. Let's see, Vodka is essentially a colorless, flavorless liquid. The whole hype about super premium vodka is totally marketing/packaging driven.

                  And certainly if you are going to mix it, as opposed to drinking it straight, it is absolutely impossible to tell the difference in a blind tasting or the next morning ;-).

                  The guy who created Grey Goose is a brilliant marketer who recently sold it to Bacardi for $2 Billion.

                  If you are goind to pay big $ for booze by some cognac or a good bottle of scotch. Heaven forbid some booze that actually tastes like something.


                  7 Replies
                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    Depending on the usage, there is some merit to some of the higher-end brands.

                    Smirnoff is my vodka of choice for mixed drinks, but it just hasn't have the (don't know the proper term to use here -- muscle? oomph?) when I've tried it in vodka martinis (put the claws back in, gin folks). I'll also drink it on the rocks.

                    My favorite for martinis is Stolichnaya. None of the "top-top shelf" ones (Grey Goose, Ketel One, Belvedere, Level, Wyborowa, etc.) that I've tried have produced results in martinis that I've consistently liked as much.

                    For straight shots (with bottle chilled in the freezer), Stoli has that cold burn that I usually like, but I also quite liked Belvedere and Chopin vodka this way -- they were a little softer in in interesting way that made me try them like this more than once. However, they're a little hard on the wallet.

                    1. re: NomDePLume

                      Although I rarely drink mixed drinks, I agree that it makes absolutely no sense to use a "premium" vodka. Theoretically the whole point of going up in price point and quality is to taste the difference. If you are mixing with OJ, you aren't going to taste any difference (you might feel the difference the next day, but thats another topic).

                      Personally I drink vodka on the rocks or a vodka martini. For my personal taste, I enjoy Grey Goose and occassionally Chirac. Even though vodka is supposed to be odorless and flavorless, there are some characteristics that you can make out fairly obviously. If I want a different, more fruity, grapy taste I'll opt for the Chirac.

                      And for the record, in my opinion no company has done a better job marketing a poor product and charging an obscene price than Absolut.

                      1. re: Evan

                        Gotta agree with you on the Absolut. Harsh and smelly swilling, but fantastic ad campaign!

                        1. re: Evan

                          You know, it seems to be fashionable now, to trash Absolut for being overpriced swill, but I remember very clearly that when I was a waitress, in the late 1980's, people could not get enough of Absolut (on the rocks, in martinis, etc), or its rival at the time, Stolichnaya ("Stoli"). How quickly people forget about what they thought was "cool" back when. Or is it just that those drinkers of the 1980's are now dead, in rehab, or brainwashed by the latest in a long line of trendy liquors. Remember Goldschlager about 10 years ago? 'Nuf said!!

                          BTW, I'm not especially an Absolut fan.

                          1. re: LisaM

                            There are a lot more vodka options now than there were back then (top shelf, bottom shelf, and mid shelf).

                            And there will always be trends... whether they are Absolut/Stoli, or Jordache Jeans, or bling ranges, or or or.

                            They come, they go...

                            And maybe it could be that the folks in bars just drank the absolut martinis because that is what everyone else was drinking... (along with the Corona with lime crowd, or more recently the cosmopolitan or mojito crowd).

                          2. re: Evan

                            When I visited Russia, I sipped straight vodkas and could appreciate subtle differences.
                            Since I don't drink straight vodkas in the US so much, I just need a vodka for mixed drinks and I think any subtleties disappear.

                            Absolut is my preferred vodka. It tastes just fine to me and, significantly, I like the company's politics and I want to support them.

                          3. re: NomDePLume

                            Gin!! Now we're talkin'...

                            Claws are in, I promise.

                            I'm a devoted gin drinker and never could understand the alure of vodka. How is it possible that the less flavor something has, the better it is?

                            When my husband's grandfather died, we drank "his drink", vodka martinis, in tribute. They tasted like rubbing alcohol to me (we used Stoli's). I just love the herbaceous flavors of gin and really enjoy the characteristics that differentiate each.

                            Favorites for g&t's are Magellan (a lovely color blue from iris root) and Hendrick's (with a slice of cucumber instead of lime). They both have an assertive flavor that comes through the tonic, but without the harshness that you find in lesser gins.

                            For martinis, definitely Bombay Sapphire. It has a very nice flavor and is smooth enough to stand on it's own, clothed in only a suggestion of vermouth.

                            Tanqueray and Tanqueray Ten are a little harsh for me.

                            Damn, see what you I'm jonesing for a Sapphire martini, stirred, very dry, and with an extra olive.

                            Only 4 hours to happy hour.

                        2. I like the creamy vannilla undertones of the best vodka FINLANDIA

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Lynn

                            We prefer the crisp, glacial refreshment of Iceberg. Or the starchy zing of Luksosowa Polish potato vodka.
                            Both are very reasonably priced and I like both better than Grey Goose.

                            1. re: coll

                              Thank you! I've been trying for months to remember the name of the inexpensive potato Polish Vodka I got one time and haven't seen since. It was Luksosowa. Now I konw what to ask for.

                                1. re: Kholvaitar

                                  Monopolowa (also a potato vodka) is originally from Poland, though now made in Austria, and good, and cheap.

                                    1. re: Kholvaitar

                                      Thanks for pointing out the link. A long time ago I asked if anyone had tried this and got no replies. According to one, at least, it compares favorably to Gordon's, which is my cheap gin of choice. I'll have to snag a bottle next time i see it.

                          2. Smirnoff has been my Vodka of choice for years.

                            All those times when bartenders shoot me snobby looks of disapproval when I ask for a Smirnoff and Sprite and they say, we don't have Smirnoff, we have Stoli or Absolut or grey Goose etc. and I turn them down. Now I have the last laugh. Hahahahaha!

                            Smirnoff has a nice piney flavor without too much harsh alcohol and I've never had problems the next day even after killing 3/4 of a bottle. Absolut and Stoli make me gag. Grey Goose, Kettle One, and Finlandia are passible, but not as tasty as Smirnoff.

                            I think I'll pick up a bottle tonight to celebrate one of life's little victories.