Belvedere Vodka

Belvedere Vodka
– A Review

Belvedere Vodka
Belvedere

Is Belvedere Vodka worth all the hoopla? I’ve been hearing about how great this Polish Vodka is for the last 4-5 years, then it dawned on me: The only thing I knew about Belevedere Vodka was from the radio advertisements which of course, insist that this is a premium vodka worth a hefty price tag that puts it in the range of Grey Goose. Make no mistake about it, Belvedere is considered a top shelf vodka and has the price tag to back it up. Belvedere was made to compete with expensive Russian vodkas – this one is distilled from Dankowskie Gold Rye and bills itself as an uncompromising alternative choice to those expensive Russian brands. Well, if you’ve seen my review on Ruskova, Russian vodka brands aren’t all that expensive. Belvedere better have something going for it in order to back up its asking price: $30.00 for a 1 Liter and about $45.00 for a 1.75 Liter. How does Belvedere do in our vodka ratings and how does it compare to grey goose vodka?

Belvedere Vodka Taste Test

The first shot of Belvedere will give you plenty of vanilla and crystal smooth sweetness. The first bite is smooth and creamy; which gives you the great anticipation of wanting more. Unfortunately, that’s about where the excitement ends. The bitterness of the vodka sticks in the middle and back of your throat like an unwelcome house guest. It is certainly not the best vodka I’ve ever tried. Furthermore, I didn’t get some of the pepper and additional complexities one would expect from a Russian or Polish vodka in this price range. About the best I can say about Belvedere vodka is that it’s priced a tad under the much over-rated Grey Goose and is at least as good.

Cheaper Alternatives

For less than half the price of one, 1.75L bottle of Belvedere Vodka, you can pick up a 1.75L bottle of Russian Shot vodka. Having run low on my last bottle of Ruskova, I decided to pay about $5.00 more for the Russian Shot vodka which was given a 93 rating by the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago. At $18.99, the Russian Shot Vodka is about $37.00 cheaper than the 1.75L of Belvedere…and it’s about twice as good. No kidding…the Russian Shot Vodka has the vanilla-cream sweetness of the Belvedere, but without the long-burn and aftertaste that sticks to the middle and back of the throat. Russian Shot Vodka is instantly likeable -and proves that you don’t have to pay a premium to enjoy a good vodka martini. But wait…there is one thing missing with the Russian Shot Vodka…the bottle isn’t nearly as fancy. If you good tasting vodka at a cheap price, go with Svedka, Ruskova or Russian Shot Vodka. If you want a fancy bottle; have lots of money and don’t mind the bitter aftertaste, then by all means go for the Grey Goose or Belvedere.

Ruskova Vodka

Ruskova Vodka
Ruskova Vodka

Give us your rating on Ruskova Vodka: [yasr_overall_rating size=”medium”]It had been a while since I had a good, Vodka Martini when I picked up a 1.75 Liter Bottle of Russian, Ruskova Vodka at my favorite Liquor store. I decided it was about darn time I tried a Russian Vodka, but didn’t want to pay $10-$15 more for a top brand like Stoli. Since finishing off my last bottle of the highly rated, value-priced Svedka Vodka,  I had gotten kind of bored and went back to Gin Martinis and my old stand by scotch martini, the Rob Roy. I didn’t stop there: I even tried the Citrus Flavored Vodka by Rokk which quickly became too sweet for my tastes. Needless to say, I was ready to go back to a good old fashioned, unflavored Vodka Martini with little or no vermouth and a couple of olives. The 1.75 Bottle of Ruskova  for only $16.99 quickly caught my eye. I was tempted to try something new. The more expensive Russian Vodka, Stolichnaya was sort of what I was after, but I was in no mood to pay $26.00 for it. The Ruskova from Russia was right up my alley. Another lesser known Vodka with a value price like the Swedish, Svedka that became my favorite a few months ago. I might have found something better and even a little cheaper here.

Ruskova Vodka is a Russian Vodka

I’m not here to tell you that Ruskova is the Best Russian Vodka, but I can tell you it stacks up very well with most of the other vodkas I’ve tried. In fact, by the time I was half-way down my second martini, I was beginning to believe that Ruskova could quickly become my favorite Vodka Martini brand. Ruskova probably doesn’t have the overall smoothness of the bargain priced Swedish Vodka, Svedka and other more expensive brands. However, Ruskova has something the other non-Russian Vodkas lack: Soul. Ruskova has a little bit of sparkling vanilla flavor. It hits the front of your mouth with a very clean flavor. There is some bitter aftertaste in the way it finishes; much like Sobieski, but it has much more character along the way. Ruskova makes a very tasty martini; full of creamy, clean fruit type flavors that other vodkas lack. It is not too sterile, nor is it to pungent. Ruskova makes an excellent Vodka Martini.

Vodka Martini Secret

If you really want to taste the full spectrum of its unique flavor, use very little olive juice and/or vermouth with a vodka like Ruskova. On my first try of a new vodka, I usually pour a shot into a glass, warm, then sniff and taste. Doing this beforehand will give you a better idea as to how you want to make that first martini with Ruskova Vodka.

Final Rating

  • Smoothness: 90
  • Flavor: 94
  • Value: 90
  • Overall: 90

 

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Rokk Vodka

Rokk Vodka
A Review

Rokk Vodka
Rokk Citrus Vodka

What is it about Flavored Vodkas?

Try Rokk Vodka Flavored and Unflavored

What do you look for in Flavored Vodkas? Chances are, you’re either looking for a very subtle enhancement to a vodka martini or you are wanting a pleasant fruity cocktail with no vodka aftertaste. As a martini drinker, I was after the former – a clean tasting vodka with just a hint of citrus, to be shaken and served up in a martini glass. In fact, I was not looking for flavored vodkas at all when I decided to try Rokk Citrus vodka for the first time. The review on the regular Rokk Vodka is below.

Often when I make Vodka martinis, I’ll put a slice of lemon peel in the shaker glass, just to give the martini a hint of lemon zest. I guess you could call these flavored vodkas, but there are a few drawbacks to making martinis this way:

  1. You always need to have a fresh lemon on hand
  2. Slicing a lemon adds extra time and effort to making your martini
  3. Finding Fresh Lemons is not always easy

Having a good fresh lemon on hand is not always possible. I always look for the bright, yellow lemons with a very thick peel. A good, fresh lemon makes all the difference in the world. Inferior, thin-skinned lemons make your drink tart, but they won’t give it that fruity, lemony taste.  Good flavored vodkas should not be overly sour or tart.

Under-Rated Flavored Vodkas?

Rokk Citrus Vodka

So, while I was at Westminster Total Beverage shopping for a reasonably priced 1.75 Liter bottle of Vodka, I glanced at the numerous shelves of flavored vodkas and got an idea: Why not try a citrus vodka? Could a Citrus Vodka Martini give me that subtle, lemon zest in my martini with the fruitiness of other flavored vodkas? Why not give it a try. In fact, while I was picking up the bottle of Rokk Citrus Vodka, several other choices caught my eye: Black Cherry flavored Vodka, strawberry flavored vodka, orange flavored vodka … chocolate flavored vodka? Are you kidding me? I am still rather fascinated how a colorless vodka can come in so many diverse flavors, but I’m not exactly ready to give up a good old fashioned martini for such a fad, unless it really adds something to the drink with out making it sweet, fruity or syrupy. I was hoping the Citrus Vodka might give me a convenient way of adding taste of the fresh lemon flavor in my martini without turning it into some kind of foo-foo drink. I prepared the Citrus Vodka exactly as I would a regular martini; four ice cubes, shaken and poured up into a martini glass. At first taste, the lemony martini was not bad – in fact it was rather satisfying. However, by the time the drink was 2/3rds finished, I immediately recognized that it wasn’t providing me with the unbeatable, relaxing buzz of a good, old-fashioned martini. It tasted sweeter after every sip.

Flavored Vodkas

While I was comparing flavored vodkas at my Total Beverage Liquor store, I noticed there was one thing they all had in common: They were 75% alcohol instead of the usual 80% of pure Vodkas. This wouldn’t be a bad thing if not for the overly sweet flavor. I’m not completely against a lemon or orange-flavored vodka, if it adds a good citrus accent without too much sweetness. I am willing to give another brand a try. I would like to try an unflavored Rokk Vodka to compare to the Svedka Vodka which is also from Sweden. Most of all, I would like to try another Citrus Vodka in hopes to find one that matches my natural recipe of a lemon slice shaken with pure vodka.

Rokk Citrus Flavored Vodkas Rating

Overall Rating: 78 out of 100.

Rokk Vodka Rating

Rokk is considered a low-end brand of vodka, yet gets very good reviews. I’ve seen 1.75L bottles for as low as $15.95. Like Svedka Vodka, Rokk is from Sweden. The vodka is 40% ABV and gets a rating of 4 out of 5 stars from users on VodkaBuzz I think Rokk is a very balanced vodka. It doesn’t quite have the smooth vanilla characteristics of Svedka, but it does have a nice spice to it; almost like evergreen or walnut; or both. Give Rokk Vodka a try.

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