Grapes in Cîroc, Corn in Tito's, and 7 Other Things Your Vodka is Made From

What’s the main ingredient in your favorite vodka brand?
Wikimedia Commons/ El Gran Dee

Grapes in Cîroc, Corn in Tito's, and 7 Other Things Your Vodka is Made From

Finlandia

Vodka is one of the most popular spirits in the world, and is far and away the best-selling distilled spirit in the United States. But while we might think that all vodka is more or less the same, in reality, there are many different base ingredients from which it can be distilled. You may be surprised to learn which one forms the foundation of your favorite brands. 

Grapes

Ciroc

Cîroc, the French vodka popularized in the United States through its association with Sean “Diddy” Combs, is different from the vast majority of other vodkas in that it’s distilled entirely from grapes. Napa Vodka Distiller's Blend, DiVino, Crown Valley, Cooranbong, and Bombora are among the other grape-based vodkas, and Hangar 1 mixes grape and grain. (California's Guild Wineries & Distilleries started this trend back in the late 1970s with a grape-based vodka called Silverado, but the world apparently wasn't ready for it, and it quickly disappeared.)

Potato

Chopin

Potato is a common primary ingredient for vodka production in Poland. Two popular Polish potato-based vodkas are Chopin and Luksusowa. American potato-based vodkas include Boyd & Blair, Cirrus, and Grand Teton.

Rye

Belvedere

Belvedere and Sobieski, both from Poland, are distilled from 100 percent rye. Other rye-based vodkas include Bols and Square One Organic. 

Grains

Wikimedia Commons/ Arne Huckelheim

Because vodka companies don’t need to specify exactly which grains go into their vodka, several only reveal that they’re grain-based. These vodkas include Iceland’s Reyka; the United Kingdom’s Smirnoff and Three Olives, the United States’ Fleischmann’s, Popov, and Skyy; and Russia’s Russian Standard (which is made with “winter grains”). Wheat, rye, corn, and sorghum are common ingredients of grain-based vodka.

Peaches and Cream Corn

Wikimedia Commons/ Globefill

Believe it or not, two Canadian vodkas are distilled from a combination of peaches and cream corn: Crystal Head, which was developed in part by actor Dan Aykroyd and is distinguished by its unique skull-like bottle shape; and Iceberg, which is made with water harvested from icebergs off the coast of Newfoundland.

Barley

Finlandia

Finlandia, made in Finland, is the most popular brand of vodka distilled entirely from barley, which is more commonly used to brew beer.

Wheat

Wikimedia Commons/ El Gran Dee

Brands including the Netherlands’ Ketel One; Denmark’s Frïs; France’s Grey Goose; Sweden’s Absolut, Svedka, and Level; and the United States’ Level 1 and Pinnacle are distilled entirely from wheat. Russia’s Stolichnaya is distilled from a combination of wheat and rye. 

Corn

Tito's Vodka

Several well-known American vodka brands are distilled entirely from corn, including Nikolai, Tito’s, and Deep Eddy. Israeli brand L’Chaim is also made from corn, and the Netherlands’ Van Gogh is distilled from a combination of wheat, corn, and barley. 

Rice

Kissui

Only a handful of distilleries produce vodka using rice, and they’re all located in Asia: South Korea’s Han is made with barley and rice, and Kissui (the only Japanese vodka available in the United States) is distilled entirely from rice.