What vodka should I use in my Bloody Mary?

Dear Judy,

What kind of vodka goes best with your Bloody Mary mix?


Confused in the Liquor Store

Dear Confused,

There are sooooo many good options out there! I have favorites in all categories, so I’ll tell you some vodkas I like and you can decide for yourself.

Plain Ol’ Vodka 

There’s no need to spend a lot on vodka from a flavor standpoint, but vodka quality can make a difference in the way you feel the next morning. Look for one that’s been distilled at least 4 times. Potato vodka will taste smooth and creamy; wheat vodka more thin and bright; and corn vodka a teeny bit sweet. If any brand tastes sharp or burns your throat going down, move on. My picks: Bridge City, Medoyeff, Portland 88.

Flavored Vodka

An easy way to add a little twist to your Bloody Mary is to choose a flavored vodka. You can go lots of different ways by playing with flavor profiles, like bacon, pickles, horseradish, smoked salmon, cucumber, habanero, or lemon. My picks: Square One, Chilled Dills, Kachka, Crater Lake Pepper Vodka, Bakon, and Badcock.

Potato vs Wheat vs Corn 

First of all, any vodka is technically gluten-free because of the distillation process, but if you are especially sensitive, pick one that’s potato-based. Also, if you choose one of the flavored varieties, read the label to be sure the flavoring agent doesn’t have gluten added.


Vodka will last at least 2 years once opened, but you will definitely get the best shelf life if you know how and where to store it. Improperly stored vodka can evaporate or take on an unpleasant taste.

  • This process speeds up if the bottle is exposed to sunlight, so if your only storage option is out in the open, keep the vodka in an opaque bag.
  • Keeping your vodka in the freezer is a good choice and can actually make it taste more creamy and mouth-filling, but in some cases it will mute the flavor. It won’t completely freeze because of the alcohol content, so even glass bottles are safe in a home freezer.
  • When you’ve decided where to put the vodka, check to see if you can store the bottle so that it stands upright. If you have to store the vodka bottle on its side, it’s more likely to leak so think about storing it somewhere else. If your bottle of vodka is stopped with a cork, it’s even more important to store it upright. If the vodka is on its side and comes into contact with the cork for a long time, the alcohol can slowly eat away at the cork and cause your bottle to leak.
  • Wherever you choose to store it, consistency is key. Going from hot to cold will cause the alcohol to break down faster. Use your judgment: if it looks, smells, or tastes different than it did when you bought it, throw it out.

Hope that answers your question, Confused! Let me know what you decide to get, and I’ll be right over!