While most brands of vodka are distilled from grains such as wheat and rye, many vodka distilleries use potatoes to create a neutral spirit that goes down smoothly enough to be drunk straight, used as a base for homemade vodka infusions, or mixed into popular cocktails. While potatoes are not the most efficient starch source from which to distill vodka (wheat has the highest yield), they nonetheless impart a unique character to an otherwise nondescript spirit. The potato vodka brands listed below range from mid-shelf to top-shelf and are palatable enough to sip neat or on the rocks.
Chase (UK): Every ingredient and every step of the process in making Chase potato vodka originates in Herefordshire, England. From the high-starch potatoes grown on their Herefordshire farm,to the natural aquifer water below the farm, to the distillery and bottling plant. In 2010, Chase Vodka was voted the best in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Unlike the more popular mass-produced wheat vodkas such as Grey Goose, Smirnoff, and Absolut, Chase is relatively hard to find, but your local liquor store may be able to special order it.
Chopin (Poland): Chopin Vodka is a premium top-shelf spirit with a hefty price tag. However, unlike some paint thinners masquerading as top-shelf liquor, Chopin really is worth every zloty. Though by definition a highly distilled spirit shouldn't have much of a flavor or be distinguishable from other neutral spirits, Chopin Potato Vodka has a distinctive smoothness that makes it consistently rank as one of the world's finest. You can find this vodka in high-end bars and liquor stores across North America and Europe.
Blue Ice (US): Blue Ice is a relatively new potato-based vodka produced in Idaho and made from Idaho russet potatoes. It is reasonably priced though not widely available outside the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain West. If you have a particular taste for potato vodkas, you'll find Blue Ice excellent to drink in mixers or on the rocks with a splash of tonic.
Zodiac (US): Zodiac Vodka is another Idaho-produced spirit. Its distinctive and attractive bottle might make you think it's trying to make up for an inferior liquor, yet Zodiac tastes as good as it looks. In addition to a straight unflavored vodka, they also make a black cherry flavored variety that is excellent in fruity cocktails.
Glacier (US): Formerly known as Teton Glacier Vodka, Glacier Vodka is yet another Idaho-based potato vodka. Glacier is both reasonably priced and of high enough quality to serve as a base for homemade liqueurs such as limoncello or dark chocolate infused vodka.
Cold River (US): Cold River Vodka is a lesser-known potato vodka distilled in Maine from Maine-grown potatoes. It has won numerous accolades from spirit publications and is considered one of the best spirits/vodkas produced in the US.
Karlsson's Gold (Sweden): Karlsson's Gold is a hard-to-find Swedish vodka made in smaller batches. While the vast majority of Swedish vodka is made from wheat (think Absolut), Karlsson's Gold is made from gourmet new potatoes that are carefully harvested and washed before heading to the distillery. The potatoes used to make Karlsson's Gold are the same tubers sought by European chefs and epicureans.
Luksusowa (Poland): Luksusowa has the taste and finish of a premium vodka with a mid-shelf price tag. It has the mellowness of a good quality potato vodka without the harsh burn typical of cheap brands and can be drunk neat or used to make perfect vodka cocktails.