Courtesy of www.UVvodka.com
UV Vodka - Over the past couple of years, UV has come a long way from being bottom shelf, because it is becoming more available at bars across the Midwest. What is most noticeable about this brand of vodka, besides the name, is how smooth it is. UV is priced fairly and a bottle runs you around $10. (Don't fall for the $2 shots of UV at bars as five shots could have bought you a bottle of it.) It comes in a variety of flavors, such as Pink Lemonade, Blue, Vanilla, Apple, Citrus, Grape, Cherry and Orange. I will warn you now, the blue looks like Windex and has a very unique flavor, so you might want to sample it first. There is also a variant called UV 151, which is deadly; however, it is only a dollar or two more than the regular stuff if you can man up.
Denaka Vodka - A great vodka from Denmark with a light price tag. Denaka can easily be subbed into drinks and be mistaken for Sky or Grey Goose. No one needs to know this secret when a good martini is called for, especially since this bottle is often priced around $9.50. One side note: it comes in a very interesting triangular bottle, with the Denmark flag in the background, and is often mid-shelf. Denaka is surprisingly light and makes a great shot or a strong drink.
Despite the advertising, this vodka is 100% Sweedish stereotype free
Svedka Vodka - From Sweden hails Svedka vodka, which is a very clean vodka. Svedka has a very unique distillation process that takes 40+ hours and is mixed with spring water, not bad for a low priced bottle. It is especially good when it is mixed with organic juices, or tonic water with real lime or lemon to help the clarity of this vodka sing. Svedka is often hanging around the $10 -$15 dollar tag, and provides a smooth drink to sip on today and not to mention less chance of a hangover tomorrow.
Platinum 7x Distilled Vodka- A definite Denaka clone, as it even comes in the same bottle. Platinum may boast an imaginary smoother taste, but it is nearly identical to Denaka in all categories. Another great shot to slam, or a great bottle to spike the punch.
Stomach pump not included
Popov Vodka - I am human, therefore I error. One too many times did I consume Popov, and it's simply not my cup of tea. Popov is notorious for being on the bottom shelf, and for showing up at parties unannounced. Shockingly, there is usually some guy who brings liquor to the party but doesn’t want to break the bank by doing so, everyone wonders who let this crazy guy in and eventually we all give in and take a shot with him. Popov has a strong aftertaste (after burn), but it does what is has to do to get the drinker buzzed and give most of the softies at the party a disgusted mug. While I am not a big fan of Popov, many are, and to be fair I have never sat down with a bottle of Popov and really tried to enjoy it. Typically it just shows up when I have been drinking beer all day, and needless to say, that doesn’t sit well. Feel free to pick up a bottle for $10 dollars and dance the dangerous line that is "beer before liquor" or remind people what raw alcohol tastes like.
Burnett's Flavored Vodka's - Probably the best lower-tier flavored vodka around, and the most delicious. It's not hard to make a good drink when Burnett's is around, simple grab any mixer and go to town. It's hard to make a bad drink here. Any type of carbonated citrus flavored beverage works, you can even do a cola and grab the "cherry" flavor and make a delicious drink. This is a great grab for a house party or pregame as it takes the bite off straight vodka. The flavors I recommend are Cherry, Blue Berry, and Apples if it's kosher. Orange, Raspberry and the others are suitable, but fail to mask the alcohol as well as the others. Take it to the next house party, as it is a great mixed gender drink.
Paramount Vodka - This Ohio Vodka is often one of the fairer priced bottles on the shelf because of its proximity to Cleveland. I would even argue it might be on the same level as Popov, yet I have never had it straight. I enjoyed the 'Grape' variety from time to time, and would have to recommend checking it out if apathy for other brands strikes in the liquor store.