SpiritsHandpicked by IWSC

12 award-winning flavoured vodkas

From fruity and floral to flinty and salty - or something else entirely - these top flavoured vodkas all won big at the IWSC 2023

Words by IWSC Judges

best flavoured vodkas
Handpicked by IWSC

Despite bright new versions of flavoured vodka hitting the shelves, you might be surprised to know that twists have been made on the more neutral style of spirit for over 500 years.

In the early days, flavours would have been added to mask the questionable quality of the vodka. No longer the case, flavours are added to take the style of drink into new dimensions. There is a huge diversity of innovative flavours taking the base spirit in all manner of directions, whether it’s fruity and floral, rich and spicy or something else entirely.

But it’s only in the past 20 years that flavoured vodkas have really come of age. Back in the 1980s, plain vodkas were in vogue, for cocktails such as the Cosmopolitian, Bloody Mary or Moscow Mule. Flavoured vodkas then slowly began to take hold, firstly with the fruit-led versions from Swedish distiller Absolut, then via a host of newcomers offering all manner of weird and wonderful bottlings.

best flavoured vodka

This year’s IWSC saw a strong array of flavoured vodkas covering a huge range of styles. Shanty Spirit Seaweed Botanical Vodka was a hit with the judges, scoring 95 points, and delivering vegetal notes and a flinty minerality (sounding great for a Martini).

Although better known for its hard seltzer range, White Claw had two standout expressions from its new vodka range impress the judges at this year’s awards: a mango vodka and a black cherry vodka, both produced using its new ‘triple wave’ filtration process.

Elsewhere, local botanicals abound on our list of top flavoured vodkas from the IWSC – from bilberries and cloudberries in Laplandia’s flavoured vodkas (which scored Gold and Silver medals respectively) to strawberry gum leaf in Tread Softly Native Botanicals Pink Vodka, made in Australia.

Flavoured vodkas offer a new world of tastes and aromas, with a host of exciting flavour combinations, so we’re delighted to present the best flavoured vodkas as tasted in this year’s IWSC.

best flavoured vodka

How do we judge these spirits?

We run a tightly structured, rigorous spirits tasting process. That means that each spirit sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC spirit judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the drinks industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.

How do we score these spirits?

Only the best spirits sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, spirits have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.

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