The AVIV Vodka Taste Challenge

Gathering with friends for a vodka taste challenge is not just a fantastic way to spend an evening; it’s an educational exploration into the world of vodka that many don’t realize exists.

This activity can highlight the subtle yet significant differences between vodkas, proving that this spirit is far from the flavorless alcohol many assume it to be.

Discover the World Beyond “Flavorless” Vodka

Contrary to the common belief that vodka is a neutral, almost flavorless spirit primarily hailing from Russia, the reality is much more nuanced.

The diversity in vodka production stems from the use of different base ingredients, as well as the distillation and filtration processes that each producer employs to create their signature products. This variation leads to a wide array of flavor profiles and qualities among vodkas, from those designed for smooth sipping and premium cocktails to more affordable options intended for mixing.

Russian vodka, often seen as tough and harsh, contrasts sharply with the refined, smooth vodka produced by AVIV, designed for both cocktails and straight enjoyment. This evolution in vodka production invites us to explore the vast differences in texture, clarity, and, most importantly, flavor that different vodkas offer.

The Role of Ingredients and Process

Vodka, traditionally made from grains like corn, wheat, or potatoes, owes its distinct flavors to the choice of base ingredients and the water used in the distillation process. The notion that vodka is flavorless has been challenged and overturned by the insights of experts and regulatory bodies alike, acknowledging the spirit’s diverse flavor spectrum.

Dale DeGroff, a renowned cocktail expert, highlights how the source of water and the distillation process can introduce unique flavor notes to vodka, ranging from the fresh, green notes of Scandinavian water to the rich, complex profiles of vodkas distilled from unique blends of grains and fruits.

Why a Vodka Taste Challenge?

  1. Educational Adventure: A vodka taste challenge is an enlightening activity that challenges preconceived notions about vodka. It’s an opportunity to learn about and appreciate the subtle flavors and craftsmanship behind different brands.
  2. Exploration of Unique Profiles: With vodkas like AVIV 613, which is distilled from wheat, barley, olives, figs, dates, grapes, and pomegranates, the challenge becomes an exploration of how different ingredients influence the spirit’s final taste.
  3. Appreciation of Craftsmanship: Understanding the distillation and filtration processes, such as those behind AVIV 613’s smooth and slightly sweet finish, enhances appreciation for the spirit. The challenge sheds light on the efforts to balance grain and fruit distillates to achieve a distinctive flavor profile.
  4. Cultural and Social Engagement: Beyond tasting, the challenge is a social event that brings people together, encouraging discussions, sharing of impressions, and toasting to life’s moments—embodying the spirit of celebration intrinsic to vodka’s cultural heritage.
  5. Broadening Palates: It encourages participants to develop their palates, learning to discern and appreciate the varied flavors that vodka can offer, from the clean and crisp to the rich and complex.

How to Host a Meaningful Vodka Taste Challenge

  • Curate a Diverse Selection: Include a range of vodkas, from the refined and smooth to the robust and flavorful, to showcase the diversity within the category.
  • Blind Tasting Format: Conduct the tasting blind to focus on the flavors without brand bias, allowing a genuine assessment of each vodka’s qualities.
  • Provide Background Information: Share insights about the distillation process, ingredients, and unique qualities of each vodka, enriching the tasting experience.
  • Encourage Thoughtful Tasting: Equip guests with tasting notes and guide them to look for specific flavor notes, enhancing their ability to discern and appreciate the subtleties of each vodka.
  • Foster a Celebratory Atmosphere: Emphasize the cultural tradition of toasting with vodka, encouraging guests to toast to what they value, thereby enriching the experience with personal significance.


Hosting a vodka taste challenge offers more than just an enjoyable evening with friends; it’s an educational look into the world of vodka, challenging perceptions and deepening appreciation for this versatile spirit. It’s a celebration of the craftsmanship, culture, and community that vodka embodies.

Cheers to discovering the rich tapestry of flavors that vodka, far from being flavorless, proudly presents.