Your wallet is probably feeling tight after all the gifts you've had to purchase this holiday season, so if you're in charge of drinks for your next event, finding delicious, budget-friendly options is key. You can always pick up an affordable bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer, but if you really want to impress your friends and family, you can make some festive cocktails. For cocktails that can please a wide range of palates, vodka as a base is usually a safe choice. If you decide to go this route, it can be helpful to have some affordable and tasty options to choose from.
With vodka, you can make classic, crowd-pleasing drinks like Moscow mules, white Russians, espresso martinis, and Bloody Marys, all of which can help get people in the holiday mood. Or, you may have some vodka drinkers who prefer to sip theirs on the rocks or with soda water.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of cheaper vodkas out there that taste closer to something like nail polish remover than liquor. To help you find affordable prices without sacrificing flavor and quality, we put together a list of 10 affordable vodkas that still taste expensive.
The vodkas on this list are all winners of various awards and have a score of 90 or more from Wine Enthusiasts rankings. According to them, anything above a score of 90 is considered "excellent," so you know you're getting the best of the best. They all range in affordability, with the most expensive on the list only costing $36 and the cheapest coming in at $19.
Read on to find a bottle you and your guests will love, and for more tips on buying tasty drinks, check out 12 Cheap White Wines That Taste Expensive, According to Sommeliers.
GO3 Vodka from Jubilee Spirits—which stands for General Orders No.3—wiped the floor with the competition at the 2023 Beverage Trade Network's USA Spirits Ratings. It won a gold medal with 98 points, won Best in Show By Country, and took home the award for Vodka of the Year.
Made in America with Texas corn, Idaho russet potatoes, and North Carolina sweet potatoes, this impressive vodka can be the talk of your evening for under $26 at most retail stores.
South Fork Vodka—$24.99
South Fork Vodka—made in the Sierra Foothills of California—is one of the most affordable bottles on our list at $25. The cheap price doesn't reflect its taste, though, earning a score of 90 from Wine Enthusiast and known for having "marshmallow-like aromas."
True Legacy Premium Vodka—$29
Another choice from Wine Enthusiast with 95 points, True Legacy Premium Vodka is the perfect vodka for drinkers who need a mild and clean finish. This clean vodka has "a light, clean palate, which hovers on the edge of savoriness but ultimately pulls back, and a warm finish," according to Wine Enthusiast's Top 100 Spirits list.
Pick up a bottle or two for only $29, directly from the True Legacy site or your local liquor store.
Vintage Distilling Handcrafted Vodka—$29.99
If you want a vodka that has nuanced flavors and may even taste closer to gin than other more neutral vodkas, you may enjoy Vintage Distilling's Handcrafted Vodka. With 94 points from Wine Enthusiast and an affordable price point of only $30, this bottle is great for those who want some flavor in their liquor.
Wine Enthusiast describes this one as having hints of lemon peel, spearmint, and white pepper sparks, with a "faintly floral exhale."
James Bay Strait Up Killer Vodka—$30
This is another vodka option perfect for those drinkers who want a tame experience when sipping. According to the James Bay Distillers website, this vodka has a neutral smell, a mild middle, and a finish that doesn't burn. They also say this vodka is made with an "East-European" method.
With 92 points from Wine Enthusiast and a gold medal from John Barleycorn, this bottle is a nice choice for only $30. If you do buy this bottle, Wine Enthusiast says it goes well as a base for Bloody Marys.
It's hard to beat an impressive bottle of vodka that retails for only $22. With Village Vodka distilled in Bennington, Vermont, you'll get flavor notes of vanilla and coconut with a slight citrus aroma, according to Wine Enthusiast—who gave this vodka 91 points and a spot in their Top 100 Spirits list. Because of its sweeter notes, this vodka makes for the perfect base for sweeter cocktails like Moscow mules, white Russians, or espresso martinis.
American Liquor Co. Vodka—$19.99
According to American Liquor Co., their vodka is "blended like a fine whiskey" and made with the four classic vodka ingredients of corn, wheat, rye, and potato—each of which is locally grown. The result is a smooth and complex experience that will taste like it costs much more than $20.
It scored 90 points by Wine Enthusiast and according to their Top 100 Spirits list, you'll get interesting notes of tropical fruit like banana and coconut.
D. George Benham's Vodka—$27
A complex vodka provides a smooth palate while still providing hints of interesting flavors, and the D. Benham Vodka accomplishes this with a retail price of only $27.
Wine Enthusiast gave this vodka 93 points and says it is neutral on the nose with grapefruit, almond, and charcoal notes. Most people associate D. George Benham with its gin, but this vodka is certainly worth a try as well.
Black Cow Vodka—$30
Another vodka that Wine Enthusiast deemed impressive is Black Cow Vodka, which they awarded 91 points. It has both earthy and citrusy notes to it, but what makes this vodka stand out is the fact that it is a pure milk vodka, made from grass-fed cow's milk from England.
This gives the vodka a smooth and creamy finish, which Wine Enthusiast says is a good choice for creamy cocktails like white Russians.
With a score of 95 from Wine Enthusiast and a spot in their 100 Best Spirits of 2022, this French-distilled vodka from M.S. Walker has a sophisticated flavor profile and is one that Wine Enthusiast says "Vodka purists will want to enjoy on the rocks."
The best part about this bottle? You can enjoy a pure taste and impress your friends for only $30-36 a bottle.