Six of the freshest vodkas you need on your shelf this summer

Little more than a decade ago, gin was on its knees and vodka reigned supreme.

How quickly things have changed. Vodka has been collateral damage of the gin boom that has swept Australia over recent years – or so it seems.

Grey Goose Vodka global ambassador, Joe McCanta, says that while mainstream offerings have declined, top shelf vodka remains in good health.

Can't beat a classic

And he reckons he has witnessed what might be the beginnings of a vodka resurgence in some of the world's leading cocktail bars.

"Ten years ago, I remember certain bars not even stocking vodka, because it was so successful," he says.

"The bartending community was putting a pole in the sand and saying, 'there's so many other spirits out there, let me introduce you to them'.

"Now, I think there's a re-embracing of vodka because the pendulum swung so far in the opposite direction."

A drink for all occasions

McCanta says vodka's versatility will ensure its longevity in the world of spirits, and he has a point.

They might claim otherwise, but even the most ardent gin fancier will reach for vodka when circumstances demand.

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"Vodka can be in drinks as varied as the bloody mary to an espresso martini, so we're able to cover more occasions," he says.

Of course, the reason that vodka works in these drinks is the purity and neutrality it offers bartenders; a blank canvas of sorts.

Pleasure in the details

But McCanta says drinkers would actually be surprised at the obvious contrasts between different vodkas when tasted side by side, accounting for the wide array of sugar sources it can be distilled from.

"Vodka can be made from anything; wheat, rye, potato, corn, even milk," he says.

"We make our vodka from the same wheat that you make baguette or croissant from, and there is an inherent sweetness in that."

McCanta was in Australia promoting Grey Goose's 2019 Limited Edition Riviera bottle, celebrating summer in collaboration with Parisian fashion label Maison Labiche.

With gin taking the limelight, there's been a limited number of vodkas hitting the market over recent years.

James Atkinson is creator of the Drinks Adventures podcast and a previous editor of Australian Brews News and drinks industry publication TheShout. A Certified Cicerone® and 2017 winner of the Australian International Beer Awards media prize, James regularly contributes to other publications including Halliday, Good Food, QantasLink Spirit and more.

Check out the gallery above to see some of the better vodkas on the shelf.