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The World’s Best Vodka—According To The 2023 New York World Wine And Spirits Competition

by | Monday, April 15, 2024

Earlier this year a panel of expert judges convened in a nondescript hotel convention hall in Brooklyn to assess merit across all major categories of spirit. It was part of the annual New York World Wine & Spirits Competition, which in just several iterations has already grown into one of the city’s premiere tasting events. We’ve spent significant time covering the top-rated whiskies from that competition. It included several jaw-dropping surprises, all of which are worthy of exploration—if you fancy aged spirit. Now we’re going to venture into the realm of vodka. But first we must address the elephant in the room: how does one define greatness in a category that is flavorless by design? Well, for starters, vodka isn’t flavorless, exactly. It is often conflated with neutral grain spirit, but that’s a vast oversimplification. And an outdated one. Vodka doesn’t even have to be made from grain at all. It can be distilled from vegetables, fruit, honey, starches—we’ve seen compelling examples come from all sorts of base ingredients. And it certainly doesn’t need to be neutral in flavor or aroma. If you have doubts, you ought to consider cracking open a bottle of the very expression that the New York Wine & Spirits Competition dubbed the best of 2023: Stumbras Premium Organic Vodka.