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Recession Vodka

Hello all,

I have recently been looking for good, cheap options for booze in an attempt to trim back my overall food and drink expenditures, and after looking through the chowhound boards, I am still not satisfied with the answers I have found in regards to budget vodkas. So how about it hounds, what do you recommend? Options that immediately come to mind are Gordon's, Svedka, Smirnoff, Burnett's, Sobieski (can't find it around here though) and Luksusowa, although at 18 dollars Luksusowa is getting close to what something like Ketel One would cost, especially in comparison to an 11 dollar bottle of Gordon's. I see that the Beverage Tasting Institute recommends Gordon's vodka: http://www.tastings.com/spirits/best_... , but I have not been able to find any good reviews of this particular spirit. As a final note, this would primarily be for mixing, although I occasionally do make penne a la vodka.

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  1. For mixing, I like either Skyy or Pinacle. I've only just tried Pinacle, but I think it's comparable to Skyy (or is that SKYY?). Skyy is readily available just about everywhere I've been, so that might be good a option for you.

    Incidentally, I've also tried Three Olives, and while I think the fact that it doesn't play well with others and tries to insinuate itself to the forefront of every mix drink I've made makes it a bad mixer, others might not think so. It's right around the price range you mentioned (at least in the forsaken land of PA liquor laws).

    Mostly, though, I just buy some Belvedere or Chopin and drink less. :)

    1. Both Skyy and Smirnoff are good and moderately priced.In NY about $15/liter.I haven't tried the others that you mentioned,although Gordons is often mentioned as a reliable lower priced producer.I have had their gin and liked it.

      1. I guess I probably should have made this clearer: I have only tried Smirnoff out of all of those that I thought of off the top of my head, and I although I certainly found it acceptable, at 15 dollars it's certainly on the higher end of "recession vodka." Certainly there has to be something between this and Senator's Club (which my college roommates used to make rather hideous jello shots!). Thanks for the responses so far - I'll have to look into Skyy, although it is on the top of the price range here.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ericurus

          I generally get Skyy around $11/12 per bottle, and Pinacle is always about $12 around here. (My prices, however, are totally influenced by PA liquor laws.)

          1. re: Ali

            A lot of articles I've read name Skyy as one of the best quality to price ratios and compare it to vodkas a few dollars more a bottle. My only recommendation is to look for 1.75L bottles for a real bargain.

        2. I am honestly not a big fan of SKYY, or their newer product SKYY 90. However, I've tried Smirnoff and thought it held up ok to a lot of the big brand names. For a great quality budget vodka, I would seek out Polar Ice from Canada. Very good and very smooth.

          1. There are a lot of spirits that have to be high quality, but for me vodka is one I can go cheap on. I do like Tito's, but when I'm being thrifty, I get the absolute (no pun intended) cheapest of the cheap-- the kind with the ugly label on the bottom shelf for six or seven dollars a bottle. I keep it in the freezer, and especially after the first sip, and mixed into something, it'll do. I've also used ones like that to put things into to infuse, and that was fine too.

            3 Replies
            1. re: watercress

              Hermano! Another bottom-shelf-purchaser, in-the-freezer Vodka user!

              I hate to admit it, but my BIL's unscientific blind tasting of several brands proved I appreciated the on-sale brand over Grey Goose and Chopin. <sigh>

              1. re: The Ranger

                Hermano Ranger, there should be no shame in it. At least in this one instance, we can be proudly unsnobbish. Fun fact: my father used to be in the ad biz. I remember once he was writing ads for vodka (I'm trying to remember which brand), and they did blind tastings for research, and found that almost everyone, after the first sip, could NOT tell the difference between good stuff and cheap. I admit that nowadays (this was the 70's) our palettes are more refined, and there are a lot higher quality options available, but still I always remember that fact.

                1. re: watercress

                  Those refined hooch doesn't kill me nearly as fast but I've since learned to live with "moderation" as a guiding principle.

            2. I enjoy Monopolowa potato vodka. It comes in a 1 liter bottle for $10 from Trader Joes. As smooth as more expensive vodkas, mixes well and is quite a bargain!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Flint

                Whimper. I wish our trader joe's could sell vodka. Or even wine. Stupid Pennsylvannia.

              2. In a Pinch I have been reduced to buying Kamchatka which is usually kept near the Dark Eyes ::shudder:: it is good for mixing in heavy things like orange juice or cranberry juice. If you want a smooth vodka for cheap tho, double filter it through a Brita water pitcher...trust me.