Summary Information - A short introduction into this article

Our Verdict of the Best Vodka for Cocktails:

Best Overall Vodka: Smirnoff Red Label.

Best Budget Vodka: Russian Standard 70cl.

Best Value For Money: Smirnoff Red Label.

Vodka People Buy the Most: Smirnoff Red Label.

Best Rated Vodka: Haku – 4.9 out of 5 with 46 reviews.

Honourable Mention: Grey Goose.

Vodka is a fantastic base for cocktails.

Why?

…Because it has a neutral flavour that mixes well with other flavours.

It’s the Chameleon of the cocktail world.

…But what is the best Vodka for cocktails?

Let’s not beat around around the bush. Our recommendation is:

 

BUT if you’re interested in finding out why we think it’s the best Vodka, continue reading.

In this article:

That’s a lot to unpack, so let’s dive right in.

The Best Vodka for Cocktails in 2020: Everything You Need to Know

The Brands of Vodka in Contention

So which brands of Vodka will we be comparing?

…Here’s the list:

Are there any brands of Vodka you feel need to be on this list, but aren’t? Get in touch via Twitter or Facebook at let us know!

…Anyway, let’s first take al look at what exactly are we going to do to figure out the best Vodka for cocktails.

How I’m Gonna Choose the Best Vodka for Cocktails

The best way to work out which is the best Vodka for cocktails is to:

  1. Analyse them.
  2. Compare them.
  3. Rank them.
  4. Assign them points.

I think the best and fairest comparison comes from actual stats and data, rather than opinion.

So I’m going to compare and rank each brand of vodka on the following criteria:

Sound good? Great! Let’s start comparing Vodka!

First up, what is the best Vodka for cocktails based on value for money?

Best Vodka for Cocktails By Value for Money

Value for money is one of the most important factors people take into account when buying Vodka for cocktails.

Why?

…Because very few people will buy a £30 plus bottle of Vodka just to add a mixer to it.

Most the time, people spending that much on a bottle of Vodak are buying primarily for taste. These are connoisseurs who want to sip it and enjoy the flavour.

That said, some of the more expensive Vodkas on the market can add a lot to a cocktail.

…anyway, wherever your heads at in terms of how much you would buy a bottle of vodka for, here’s a comparison of vodka, based on value for money.

Please note, since most of the brands of Vodka come in 70cl bottles (only 2 are available in 1L bottles), I’ll be comparing prices just for 70cl bottles.

PosVodkaPricePoints
1Russian Standard 70cl£1212 points
2Smirnoff Red Label 70cl£1311 points
3Wyborowa 70cl£16.6910 points
4Skyy Premium 70cl£17.999 points
5Absolut 70cl £188 points
6Żubrówka Bison Grass 70cl£207 points
7Reyka 70cl£226 points
8Ciroc Snap Frost 70cl£27.095 points
9Haku 70cl£29.994 points
10Belvedere Vodka 70cl£31.993 points
11Grey Goose 70cl£32.992 points
12Crystal Head 70cl£39.891 point

As you can see from the list, Russian Standard and Smirnoff Red Label top the list, with a bit of a gap to Wyborowa in third place.

All three are great value for their money.

…However, perhaps not the best value for money available to buy.

What do I mean?

…I mean, as mentioned previously, the list above represents value for money based solely on 70cl bottles.

If you were to consider 1-litre bottles and consider the value based on the amount of alcohol, the table would be slightly different.

Now let’s take a look at which is the best Vodka for cocktails based solely on brand reputation.

Best Vodka for Cocktails by Brand Reputation

This is a part of the test that gets a little..sketchy.

Let me explain.

We used YouGov ratings to determine which brands of Vodka are the most popular with the British public.

Wait…Who is YouGov?

According to their website:

"YouGov is an international research data and analytics group headquartered in London.

Our data-led offering supports and improves a wide spectrum of marketing activities of a customer-base including media owners, brands and media agencies. We work with some of the world’s most recognised brands.

With a proprietary panel of over 8 million people globally and operations in the UK, North America, Mainland Europe, the Nordics, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, YouGov has one of the world’s largest research networks.

YouGov data is regularly referenced by the press worldwide and we are the most quoted market research source in the UK."

So, this is a great source of data to base our comparisons on. And this data covers all spirits and not just Vodka, so you can even compare the Vodka brands with spirit brands too. Cool stuff.

But let’s get to the REAL question you want the answer to…

…how did YouGov rank the brands of Vodka?

Let’s take a look.

The Results

On the face of it, the results were as you might expect…

…or more accurately, how I expected it to be: Smirnoff and Absolut at the top of the pile, battling for first and second places.

But there was a problem…

Data Issues

The main problem with using these stats from YouGov ratings was the fact that not all brands were listed...

…or were they?

Some of the brands of Vodka on the list are actually a part of bigger brands and therefore individually didn’t appear on the list.

For example, Skky Premium Vodka doesn’t appear on the list but is actually a part of the Campari group (click here to find out more about Campari).

However, it didn’t seem entirely fair these be included on the list, as the Campari brand is certainly a more popular brand as a whole than Skky Premium Vodka is on its own.

Also, there are some brands of vodka that just aren’t on the list.

Why?

…I’m not sure, but my best guess is that they’ve just not appeared in the YouGov data stream for whatever reason.

In any case, 6 out of the 12 Vodka brands did not appear on the list and it’s relatively surprising which ones made the cut and which didn’t.

For example, Żubrówka made the cut yet Wyborowa didn’t. In my mind, Wyborowa is a much more recognised brand, but there ya go.

…ANYWAY, let’s see which brands of Vodka actually made the list and in which order.

PosVodkaPoints
1Smirnoff 12 points
2Absolut11 points
3Grey Goose10 points
4Ciroc9 points
5Russian Standard8 points
6Żubrówka7 points
7Skyy0 points
7Wyborowa0 points
7Reyka 0 points
7Haku0 points
7Belvedere0 points
7Crystal Head0 points

The results of the brand reputation are quite clear…on the face of it.

As I (and probably you) expected, Smirnoff and Absolut are the two most recognised brands of Vodka. But that doesn’t tell the whole story.

The YouGov list contained 184 different alcohol brands. Smirnoff ranked the 2nd most popular brand of alcohol in the UK (just behind Baileys Irish Cream).

…2nd. That’s impressive.

The next most popular brand of Vodka was Absolut.

…But Absolut was way down the overall list in 28th, with Grey Goose coming in 3rd for Vodka, but 38th overall.

So despite Smirnoff and Absolut being 1st and 2nd on this comparison list, on the YouGov list, they’re 26 places apart.

Best Vodka for Cocktails By Brand Reputation Verdict

Despite the issues with not all Vodka brands being on the list, I think this is still a valuable comparison.

That said, when I add up the points in this comparison post, I’ll show two tables: one with the best vodka by reputation points and one without.

I think that’s the fairest way to go about it.

Now, let’s moved on to comparing the best Vodka for Cocktails based on the Amazon bestseller list.

Best Vodka for Cocktails By Amazon Bestseller List

Comparing the best Vodka for cocktails based on the Amazon bestseller list for Vodka is quite an important metric.

Why?

…Because it shows exactly which brands of Vodka are the most purchased despite the price.

And it’s lead to a couple of interesting observations.

Take a look for yourselves.

PosVodkaPoints
1Smirnoff Red Label 1L12 points
2Absolut 1L11 points
3Russian Standard 70cl 10 points
4Grey Goose 70cl 9 points
5Ciroc Snap Frost 70cl 8 points
6Reyka 70cl cl 7 points
7Crystal Head 70cl 6 points
8Belvedere Vodka 70cl 5 points
9Haku 70cl 4 points
10Skyy Premium 70cl 3 points
11Wyborowa 70cl2 points
12Żubrówka Bison Grass 70cl 1 point

Bigger Bottles = Better Value for Money

The two brands of Vodka which offer 1-litre bottles (compared to 70cl ones) sell the best.

Of course, the 1-litre bottles are a little more expensive but they do offer a little more value for money.

As of writing this the 1-litre bottle of Smirnoff costs £16, with the 70cl version costing £13. The 70cl works out at costing £18.57 per 1-litre, a rather sizeable £2.57 increase.

The difference between Absolut 70cl versus Absolut 1-litre bottles tells a similar tale.

Quality Vodka Sells

Earlier in the article, I mentioned that not many people would pay top dollar for a vodka they’re just going to mix into a cocktail.

That may be true, but nobody told the Amazon bestseller list this.

Grey Goose came in 4th place, despite being the second most expensive vodka in our comparison list.

Crystal head is 7th on the bestsellers list, despite being the most expensive on the list.

This says a lot.

…It says people don’t mind paying for quality vodka and there just might be something in investing a little more in your spirits.

But let’s move on: the next metric I’m going to use to compare the brands of vodka is their Amazon rating.

Let’s take a look.

Best Vodka for Cocktails By Amazon Rating

This is another metric to compare because not only does it tell us how well each vodka is rated by buyers, but also how many buyers actually went out of their way to leave a review.

The results of this metric were a little surprising.

…Take a look for yourselves.

PosVodkaPoints
1Haku – 4.9 out of 5 with 46 reviews12 points
2Grey Goose – 4.8 out of 5 with 740 reviews 11 points
3Absolut- 4.8 out of 5 with 492 reviews 10 points
4Ciroc – 4.8 out of 5 with 396 reviews 9 points
5Smirnoff Red Label – 4.8 out of 5 with 304 reviews 8 points
6Crystal Head – 4.6 out of 5 with 845 reviews 7 points
7Wyborowa – 4.6 out of 5 with 497 reviews6 points
8Belvedere – 4.6 out of 5 with 290 reviews 5 points
9Skyy Premium – 4.6 out of 5 with 184 reviews 4 points
10Żubrówka Bison Grass – 4.6 out of 5 with 164 reviews 3 points
11Russian Standard – 4.6 out of 5 with 6 reviews2 points
12Reyka – 4.5 out of 5 with 160 reviews1 point

Good Vodka Was Picked

I think the results of this comparison show just how good a selection of vodka I’m comparing here.

The lowest rating on the list is 4.5 out of 5.

But equally as impressive as the rating each vodka had was the number of reviews each vodka had.

The results of the comparison wouldn’t have been as good if one of the brands of vodka had just one 5 star review. That metric would have been next to meaningless.

The lowest number of reviews for a brand of vodka was 6. This was Russian Standard and there could have been two reasons why there aren’t as many reviews:

  1. Russian Standard has only recently started to sell on Amazon (most likely).
  2. Because Russian Standard is "cheap and cheerful" and does the job, people don’t tend to come back and leave a review.

…But this is just speculation.

The Best Rated Vodka

I think it’s interested that Haku is the best-rated vodka, but I think it’s even more interesting that Grey Goose came 2nd on the list.

Haku got a score of 4.9 with 46 reviews, but Grey Goose got a 4.8 rating with 740 reviews

…yes, 740.

That’s impressive.

And when you also consider the Amazon bestseller list metric, then Grey Goose is even more impressive.

It has to be a strong contender in the overall best vodka for cocktails standing, right?

Let’s take a look.

Overall Best Vodka for Cocktails

So this is it…

…the final rankings to determine the best vodka for cocktails.

As I mentioned earlier in the article, I’m going to split up the final results into two different sections:

  1. Results where the brand reputation rankings are included.
  2. Results where the brand reputation rankings are not included.

Let’s dive right in with the final results where the reputation factor is included.

Best Vodka for Cocktails With Brand Reputation Comparison

PosVodkaPoints
1Smirnoff43 points
2Absolut 40 points
3Russian Standard32 points
3=Grey Goose 32 points
5Ciroc 31 points
6Haku20 points
7Żubrówka Bison Grass 18 points
7=Wyborowa 18 points
9Skyy Premium16 points
10Reyka 14 points
10=Crystal Head14 points
12Belvedere 13 points

Obvious Leaders

I think given the previous comparison tables, Smirnoff and Absolut were always going to grab the first two places.

Those two brands of vodka basically topped every comparison table in this article.

Impressively, Grey Goose managed to come joint 3rd with Russian Standard after coming second to last in the value for money comparison.

Best Vodka for Cocktails Without Brand Reputation Comparison

Now let’s take a look at the best vodka for cocktails leaderboard without brand reputation incldued in the total points.

PosVodkaPoints
1Smirnoff 31 points
2Absolut 29 points
3Russian Standard24 points
4Grey Goose 22 points
4=Ciroc 22 points
6Haku 20 points
7Wyborowa 18 points
8Skyy Premium16 points
9Reyka14 points
9=Crystal Head 14 points
11Belvedere13 points
12Żubrówka Bison Grass 11 points

As you can see, not much as changed in the top 4 places on the comparison table. Grey Goose has dropped 2 points to be placed lower than Russian Standard, but that’s about it.

At the bottom of the table, there’s one big change. Żubrówka Bison Grass has dropped from joint 7th place to last place.

What’s the Best Vodka for Cocktails: Our Verdict

I think it’s clear which Vodka is the best for cocktails: Smirnoff.

…I mean it’s topped (or has been near the top) of almost every comparison we’ve made in this study.

Related Article

Is Smirnoff Good Vodka? Our Honest Review

But we have to say that Grey Goose gets an honourable mention. I think it nearing the top of the table for the Amazon bestseller list AND the highest rated list speaks volumes.

…OK, it’s not the cheapest Vodka available, but sometimes you get what you pay for.

Quick Overview

…Now let me give you a little overview of each comparison so you can choose the vodka that meets the criteria that are important to you.

Want Some Cocktail Ideas?

Okay, now that I’ve covered which is the best vodka for cocktails, you’re probably thinking: I wanna make some cocktails!

Great news! We have over 100 FREE quick & easy cocktail recipes that you can make at home.

Our incredible list of recipes also includes 40 of the Best Quick & Easy Cocktail Recipes with Vodka in case you wanted to try our Vodka recommendation out.

Happy mixing!

Further Reading

Kris Barton Author
Despite an ill-fated attempt at making a brand new cocktail which featured Blue Curacao and Milk, Kris Barton has been making cocktails for most of his adult life. Since then, he's gotten much better at making cocktails. He's got even better at drinking them.