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Vodka. Why no choice?

Please, why is it that we are offered but one type of vodka yet there is quite a selection of gin?
Interestingly the shelves of my local supermarket are heavy with a large range of gin which never seems to sell, whereas their vodkas are continually running out. Thanks.

Our local Tesco express has bucket loads of both. I have never drunk Vodka so cannot express an opinion.
As for Gin, there seemms to be an Hogarthian desperation for it. I haven’t had gin for 40 years so have no idea why this craving exists.


Maybe it has improved in the last 40 years? Could always push the boat out one evening and give a G&T a try…


Probably both supply and demand related. There is much more obvious variety in the flavours of gin than vodka, but also we’re coming out of the back of a peak in gin whereas vodka’s day was over a decade ago.

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There’s been a radical change in the Gin landscape. The law changed so that small-scale artisanal distillers could set up, so small scale batches now are feasible. The view of which aromatics - and in what proportions - you can legitimately make your gin with has broadened widely. And, not to be ignored, you can now find tonics that are not repulsive. So I agree with @danchaq and @CL1904 - it’s changed a lot.

Vodka is a slightly different proposition. Its main virtue used to be having no taste at all, hence the multiple distillations, charcoal filters and so on. I realise that also has changed, but the flavoured vodkas are really just extensions of what has happened with gin, but catering for people who don’t want any juniper in the flavour. In fact, I think the concepts of the newer gins now overlap with flavoured vodkas, though I think some of those vodkas are produced using flavourings, rather than being distilled off or through the aromatics themselves. It also seems that there is far less vodka produced by small distilleries than there is gin.


I’m mildly curious, among people who want a selection of vodka (ignoring flavoured vodka where the answer is obvious), what do you use it for that it really matters?

Obviously for people who drink it straight, small differences will be important, but in vodka based cocktails I would have thought that the other ingredients obliterate the flavour (possibly influenced by the fact that the only vodka based cocktail I make regularly is a bloody mary), and when I macerate in vodka I’m generally looking for as pure a flavour as possible from the thing I’m macerating.


Thank you for your kind observation.
It may well be that you have not tasted a lot of vodka from differing sources.
However this is not the point, which is: Why is it in my (huge) local supermarket that vodka, whose day you allege was over a decade ago, keeps on outselling gin and why does our Society only stock one variety?

Vodka is pretty far down my preference list for spirits. I enjoy a bloody mary but as @NW_passenger says, the spirit in that drink matters little; I’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between a bloody mary and a red snapper, and I make them strong. I do enjoy the occasional vodka martini or sips of vodka chilled, straight from the freezer, and for that it does make a difference. I once held a blind vodka tasting for my mother (who loves the stuff) and the results were fascinating, her hating Stoli and loving Absolut, me the opposite, with the other two on offer somewhere in the middle. Granted, this is a focused comparison at the same time, but interestingly of the major brands those are the ones she and I would buy anyway. The one we have both come to agree on is Krupnik vodka, which I get at my local Polish shop, one of the smoothest I’ve had. However personally if I sense a vodka mood coming on I’ll generally try to hunt down a potato vodka, more difficult than many would be led to believe, but I enjoy the oily texture, particularly straight from a bottle stored in the freezer. Luksusowa (again from my Mleczko) is a fine and inexpensive example, but you know you’re drinking straight spirits with that one, and I find it finishes on an aniseed note. Chase Potato is both excellent and domestic, but expensive. I’ve got my eye on a bottle of Chopin to try but I can’t justify more than one vodka in the flat, what with the wine stores spilling over as well.

As far as who stocks what, I can’t speak for your local Tesco (or similar) @theclaphamomnibusman but the Waitrose I frequent in West London has over the years increased their gin selection at the expense of the vodka. In either case it will depend on both the local and national market, but the gin trend is undeniable. Spirits are not core to the range of TWS, so limited list space would naturally be given over to what is most popular at the moment. When I first joined TWS 10 years ago I’m pretty sure there was only The Society’s Vodka and The Society’s London Gin. The range (and buying team) has expanded since then across the board, but as you say, in the white spirits category that’s mostly catered for the demand for craft gin.

As with similar questions on the 1500+ strong wine range posed to the buyers over a few of the lunchtime sessions, there are merchandising calls made, and it is a balancing act between having variety and interest and making sure inventory sells.


Thank you very much for your hilarious reply.
BTW, there is an English potato vodka called Chase, Gerry’s of Old Compton Street stocks it, along with one hundred and nine others of plain and mixed flavours.

The best vodka I’ve had is Icelandic - Reyka - and is widely available.

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I don’t drink vodka very often, but I’ve always found. Russian vodka, e.g Stolichnaya, superior to other brands.

Yep, love Chase Potato, one of my faves but comes with the a premium price tag. My current bottle was bought on offer from my local Waitrose (which is why I grabbed it instead of the Chopin I intended on)

I LOVE Jerry’s!! I find it hard to resist any time I’m on Old Compton St. Have you had Konnicks Tail? That’s the vodka they recommend any time I’ve asked them. I think it’s three grains (barley, rye, wheat?)