What Is Reyka Vodka?

Production, Taste, and Recipes

Reyka Icelandic Vodka
Reyka Vodka

Reyka Vodka is a premium vodka distilled in Iceland using renewable energy. While several distilled spirits have employed pure Icelandic waters in their production, Reyka (Ray-KUH) takes complete advantage of the country's pristine natural resources. It was the first to be distilled and bottled in the country and boasts an emission-free distillery that relies on the area's volcanic activity. While a "green" vodka sounds nice, that is not all it has going for it. Reyka is, without a doubt, one of the smoothest vodkas you will taste. It is an absolute pleasure to sip on its own and reasonably priced, so it's perfect for cocktails, too.

Fast Facts

  • Ingredients: barley, wheat, Icelandic water
  • Proof: 80
  • ABV: 40%
  • Calories in a shot: 97
  • Origin: Iceland
  • Taste: smooth, toasted grain, semi-sweet
  • Aged: 0 months
  • Serve: straight-up, on the rocks, cocktails

What Is Reyka Vodka Made From?

Amidst the clean air of the village of Borgarnes on the western coast of Iceland sits the distillery where Reyka Vodka comes together. In the shadows of the majestic Mt. Hafnarfjall, the entire operation is run by the abundant geothermal heat of the land. This led to the naming of the spirit: Reyka is an ancient Icelandic word for "steam" or "smoke."

Reyka Vodka is distilled from barley and wheat. The key to its superior smoothness is glacial water sourced from Grabok Spring, which runs through a 4,000-year-old lava field. The rock naturally filters the water, resulting in some of the purest water on Earth. Researchers that have tested these waters found zero impurities.

Produced in small batches, Reyka is distilled in a Carter-Head still. One of only a few stills of its kind in the world, the copper helps retain the vodka's cleanliness. Unlike so many other vodkas that promote countless distillations, there is no need for more than one trip through this still. As a finishing touch, the vodka is filtered through the same lava rock that purifies the water. It is bottled at 40 percent alcohol by volume (ABV, 80 proof).

First released in 2005, Reyka Vodka is backed by a notable lineage in the liquor industry. William Grant & Sons is a Scottish company known for creating great brands like the iconic scotches from The Glenfiddich and The Balvenie, as well as the groundbreaking Hendrick's Gin.

What Does Reyka Vodka Taste Like?

Reyka has a strong "green" aspect to its taste. A delightful nose of sweet rose and fresh-cut hay fills the senses with clarity. The palate is silky and marked with rose, lavender, lemon, and pepper. A short finish with undertones of warm citrus and toasty grain completes the experience with uplifting purity.

How to Drink Reyka Vodka

Since it is so clean and smooth, Reyka is an ideal vodka to enjoy on its own. Whether straight, chilled, or on the rocks, it's so much like drinking water that it's easy to forget it's alcohol. Try it over ice with two dashes of bitters for a beautifully herbal, earthy sipper that refreshes the palate.

This is also a perfect base for any cocktail. Whether it's dry, sweet, fruity, or herbal, you cannot go wrong with Rekya in any drink recipe. It makes a fabulous vodka martini and can enhance any of your favorite vodka concoctions. Try it in a vodka collins, an espresso martini, a cosmopolitan, or whatever you feel like drinking tonight.

Cocktail Recipes

To showcase the cleanliness of Reyka, choose vodka drinks that don't rely on heavily flavored mixers. Rather than fruit juice highballs or coffee liqueur drinks, pour this vodka into soda drinks, martinis, and fresh fruit recipes.

Where to Buy Reyka Vodka

Since it's also reasonably priced, Reyka is a perfect option as the premium vodka to stock in your bar. It outshines most top-shelf vodkas, even those that sell for twice the price. With its increased fan base, Reyka is increasingly easier to find in well-stocked liquor stores. If shipping liquor is legal where you live, it's available from online stores as well.