Stolichnaya—or more popularly "Stoli"—is one of the most popular vodka brands on the market today. It's a smooth, affordable Russian vodka that's reliable.
You will have no problems finding a bottle of Stoli at the liquor store and the brand offers a variety of flavored vodkas which stand up to the quality of the original vodka. Whether mixed into your favorite vodka cocktails or served well-chilled on its own, a bottle of Stoli will not let you down.
Taste, price, and availability considered, Stolichnaya is one of the best everyday vodkas available. It's a gentle sipper and a wonderful cocktail base, all in one. The red label bottle is the flagship of the brand, the clear vodka that forms the foundation for the entire portfolio, and it is available almost anywhere.
Launched in 1938, this Russian vodka is distilled four times from wheat and rye. It is filtered through quartz sand and birch activated charcoal, and blended with artesian water before bottling at 40 percent alcohol by volume (ABV; 80 proof).
This bottle of Stolichnaya is a great example of what to expect from good Russian vodka and, for around $25 a bottle, it's still affordable.
Tasting Notes: Stolichnaya has a typical vodka aroma—a touch of alcohol backed by notes of warm grain. The entry is bright and airy, leading to a silky palate with an initial tolerable bite that melts into a warm vodka taste, complete with a citrus peel kiss. It finishes smooth, with nearly no vodka burn and the taste fades relatively quickly.
More Stoli Vodkas
Stolichnaya produces a full range of vodkas including many flavor-infused vodkas. Most of these can be found in any liquor store that stocks the standard clear vodka. They are in the same price range and typically bottled at 35 percent ABV (70 proof), which is standard for flavored vodkas.
The flavor lineup does change from time to time as the brand follows trends very closely. However, there are a few you can rely on that have stayed around for years. Among those is the always useful Stoli Vanil, which is perfect for any vanilla vodka cocktail, and Stoli Ohranj and Citros, to cover your citrus vodka needs. Stoli Blueberi, Razberi, and Strasberi are staples for the brand as well, and ideal for giving drinks a berry twist.
For flavors that are a bit more unique, you'll find cucumber, lime, and peach (Peachik). And, when you're up for an adventure, there's Stoli Hot (infused with jalapeño pepper) and Salted Karamel (to go with the dessert vodka trend).
Beyond the flavors, Stoli produces a handful of specialty clear vodkas. Stoli 100 Proof packs a big alcohol punch, while Stoli Gold is a single-estate wheat vodka that is a little warmer than the original. There is also Stoli Gluten Free, which is distilled from corn and buckwheat. It's an excellent vodka option for anyone who needs to cut gluten from their diet.
Once labeled as Stoli Elit, the upgrade to Stolichnaya's red labeled vodka is now simply called Elit, with the descriptive tagline of "Ultra Luxury Vodka." It remains part of the Stoli Group and is the same premium vodka you have come to expect. Elit is geared for the vodka connoisseur who enjoys sipping it chilled or mixing transparent cocktails like the vodka martini where only the best vodka will do.
This vodka uses only winter wheat and is distilled three times. It uses the same artesian water and filtering as Stoli. Elit becomes even smoother thanks to a freeze filtering process that drops the vodka to below freezing temperatures (though the liquor doesn't freeze).
These extra steps make a world of difference in a side-by-side tasting of Elit and Stoli. However, Elit does put a pinch on the pocketbook, doubling the price. That extra smooth character might not always be affordable for everyone, but the luxurious taste is worth forking out a little extra cash every now and then.
Tasting Notes: Elit has a clean, rich, and grainy aroma that leads to a warm and silky entry. This merges into a palate of citrus, warm caramel, and grainy notes. The finish is delicate, quick, and warm. Overall, it's a fine Russian vodka and one of the smoothest available.
Stoli Vodka Cocktails
Stoli is an excellent choice for any vodka cocktail, from martinis to timeless favorites like the bloody Mary, vodka tonic, and screwdriver. The brand also offers a number of signature recipes that are definitely worth tasting.
For instance, the strawberry vodka Champagne is a wonderful sparkling celebratory cocktail, and the vodka ginger cocktail is a twist on the Moscow mule (hold the ginger beer). For a seasonal treat, the New England sour recommends Elit in a mix of maple syrup and grapefruit juice. And, if you have a bottle of Stoli Vanil around, you can get fancy with the decadent crème brulée martini. Or, go super casual with a pour of hard cider in an orchard catch cooler, a drink that makes wonderful use of summer strawberries and basil.