Crystal shot glasses of vodka standing in a row. Pouring vodka from a bottle to the shot glass
invizbk/istockphoto
Crystal shot glasses of vodka standing in a row. Pouring vodka from a bottle to the shot glass
invizbk/istockphoto

Value Vodka

Clear, clean, and consummately mixable, vodka is the go-to drink of the rough commoner and the nightclub VIP alike. Somewhere between the two — between the rotgut at the bottom and the foofy fad vodka at the top where the label is half the reason for the cost — lies a mixologist’s gold mine. For less than $30 for a 750 milliliter bottle, you can get truly great vodka whether you mix or go straight. Some are household names, others are obscure up-and-comers. All, however, punch above their proof and their price tags.


Prices and availability are subject to change.


Related: Spirits and Mixers Every Home Bar Should Have

Stolichnaya
Drizly

Stolichnaya

$18 and up from Drizly
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Although Stoli has a history dating back to the turn of the 20th century and the time of the Russian czars, the modern recipe was developed in 1938. In 1972, Stoli became the first company to sell premium and flavored vodkas in the United States. The moment is cited as the start of the luxe vodka era, and the first time gin had a legitimate competitor among martini drinkers. Nearly half-a-century later, Stoli remains arguably the greatest value vodka on the market, delivering true premium quality at middling prices. 


Related: The Best Costco-Brand Liquors to Buy — and Which to Leave on the Shelf

Tito's Handmade Vodka
Drizly

Tito's Handmade Vodka

$21 and up from Drizly
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Tito's Handmade Vodka soared to wild success by breaking the sleek, glamorous marketing mold that was long the standard among good vodkas. Instead of Euro/nightclub, Tito's carved out a blue-collar craft image — and it worked. The Texas-made medicine is now one of the most popular and familiar brands in the country, and it can be had for well under $30, often even for less than $20. 


Related: Popular Beer, Wine, and Spirit Brands Owned by Celebrities

Ketel One
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Ketel One

$22 and up from Drizly
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Tito's smart branding has helped the distiller muscle in on Ketel One's turf, but Ketel One still outsells it worldwide. It's also the vodka of choice in about one-third of the country's "elite bars," according to Drinks International. A staple of the world's top mixology and bartending competitions, Ketel One is as accessible as it is respected. If you're grabbing a bottle for yourself or as a gift, and you're on the fence about your selection, it's really not possible to go wrong with the brand that's so Dutch there's a windmill at its Netherlands distillery


Related: Boozy Gifts That Don Draper Would Endorse


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Absolut
Drizly

Absolut

$18 and up from Drizly
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A product of one of the world's biggest spirits companies, Absolut has long been panned as the Budweiser of vodka — a starter sauce for college kids that's big because of clever marketing. It's true that Absolut bottles and ads have adorned dorm rooms, man caves, and dive bars for generations. But trendy marketing is not necessarily a substitute for quality — especially for anyone on a budget. Absolut offers an astonishing number of flavored and specialty vodkas that are better than the vast majority of the brands that loiter around the $15 to $20 range. 


Related: 14 Cheap Punches to Liven Up Summer Parties

Belvedere
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Belvedere

$24 and up from Drizly
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Billed as the world's first "super premium" vodka, Belvedere is clearly going for the fancy crowd — but it's named after a presidential palace in Poland, not a stereotypical butler. A high-quality rye vodka at non-palatial prices, Belvedere also offers specialty lines that are marketed under names such as "Heritage" "Bespoke" and "Single Estate." 


Related: Best Whiskeys Under $50

Chopin
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Chopin

$24 and up from Drizly
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Named for the famed composer, Chopin is a Polish vodka that emerged in 1992, just a few years before Tito's hit the scene in 1995. Chopin epitomized the sleek, luxurious marketing trend that Tito's so successfully bucked — but Chopin stayed the course. It retains its posh and chic European image to this day with its high-end Vera Wang x and Family Reserve lines. Chopin's single-ingredient potato, rye, and wheat offerings are accessible at under $30 a bottle.


Related: 20 Splurge-Worthy Tequilas Perfect for Sipping

Pau Maui Vodka
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Pau Maui Vodka

$19 from Drizly
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Don't worry, Pau Maui Vodka does not taste like pineapples — it's actually been celebrated for its crisp, clean tastelessness — but it is made from the tropical citrus fruit. A unique spirit crafted in glass column stills, Pau is made from pineapples grown on the same farm where the spirit is distilled and bottled. 


Related: 19 Tasty Spiked Seltzers to Try This Summer

Volstead
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Volstead

$23 from Drizly
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Anyone who knows their Prohibition history will get the irony in a vodka named Volstead. Emerging from the West Coast craft tradition, Volstead comes from an Oregon distillery that produces five signature spirits, including a whiskey, a rum, and a coffee liqueur. If you sense a smoky flavor, it's not your imagination: This corn-based vodka is filtered through charred coconut husks. 


Related: 32 Secret Restaurants and Speakeasies Across America

Smirnoff
Drizly

Smirnoff

$24 from Drizly
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One of the most famous vodka brands on Earth, Smirnoff is almost universally associated with Russia, where the brand was launched, but it's actually a British spirit. One of its owners co-created the Moscow mule in the 1940s, the now-famous drink made with ginger beer that gave Smirnoff a lifesaving surge in revenue and lifted the entire vodka movement into the American mainstream during its post-Depression early days. 


Related: 17 Refreshing Cocktails From Around the World

Grey Goose
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Grey Goose

$27 and up from Drizly
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Of all the chic, trendy, imported vodkas that emerged in the 1990s, none embodied the top-shelf VIP nightclub vodka craze more thoroughly than Grey Goose. France's most famous vodka, Goose has an impressive pedigree — the distilling process is finished in the Cognac region.


Related: 18 Best Rums Under $35 to Spice Up Your Home Bar

Purity
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Quarantine Vodka
Flaviar