Russian Vodka Boycott: Six Alternative Vodkas to Buy

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Gay pride protesters beaten by angry mobs while uncaring police look the other way; tourists being arrested for displaying anything but a fluent rejection of homosexuality; raids on gay clubs and public shaming of their patrons. The United States around the time of the Stonewall Riots in 1969, right?

No. Russia, right now in 2013. It is illegal there to support LGBT people, to profess pro-queer sympathies, or, heaven forfend, to actually be anything except completely and uncompromisingly straight. How long did you hold on to that man's hand after shaking it, Pyotr? Lyuki, naruchniki, porvanniy rot'--it's jail for you.

I think that's bullshit from a country about to host the world's athletes in Sochi, and so does Dan Savage. But boycotting Russia is not as easy as renaming freedom fries (though we'll need to come up with a similarly stupid nomenclature for Russian dressing), except for the big V--vodka. Savage has called for a boycott of all Russian vodkas. There are a thousand brands of vodka, though; how do you know which ones to pick to replace your Russian Standard?

Sure, you could stay with the tried and true: Belvedere, Ketel One for rich people, and Popov for 18-year-olds who have to settle for whatever they can get. Or you could realize that sometimes the fancy bottle costs more than the liquid inside, and try one of the following vodkas from countries that don't criminalize being gay in public.

Two notes before the list: First, Stolichnaya has released a letter from their headquarters in Luxembourg stating that they oppose the Russian government's actions and restating their commitment to the LGBT community; use your own judgment. Second, the prices listed are the cost of a fifth (750 mL) at Hi-Time Wine, Orange County's best liquor store. Prices and availability may vary.


Grain Vodkas

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1. Reyka (Iceland, $18.99)

Reyka is the perfect replacement for Russian Standard: it's made in a similar way, it's got the same clean nose followed by a slightly ester-y finish, it's got an identical burn. It's the same price as Russian Standard, and it's made in a country that's a lot queer-friendlier than Russia.

2. Tito's (USA, $16.98)

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Tito's is the best value on the vodka shelf these days. It's a grain vodka that manages to feel a little bit more robust than most grain vodkas. It's distilled 6 times, so there's really no trace left of the grain. This is your vodka for all those Moscow Mules you want to make. And while it's made in gay-unfriendly Texas, at least you won't be arrested if you drink a little too much and make a pass at the bartender.

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3. Death's Door (USA, $33.99)

Death's Door is more famous for their outstanding New American gin than for their vodka, but let's face it--gin is vodka with stuff. (Good stuff.) If you have a great gin, then you can make a great vodka, and that's exactly what they do out there in Wisconsin. Death's Door vodka is distilled three times, so it's got a little more character than other vodkas; you can drink this one straight, as you ought to for such an expensive bottle.


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15 comments
Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

"Death's Door vodka is distilled three times, so it's got a little more character than other vodkas; "

Uh, multiple distilling takes the character out of vodka. You distill slivovitz 3 times and you get ... vodka.

Joe Smith
Joe Smith

You people have no clue what goes on in Russia and why. They are experiencing a population crisis. They are trying to have more Russian children. The laws are to stop the corruption of the youth so that they make Russian babies. Putin is a dictator, but he is doing what is right for the Russian people. He is bringing into the mainstream, something the jewish bolsheviks destroyed. He is bucking the NWO to an extent. Now, I'm not sure how much he is compromised there, because in recent history, the USSR was under NWO banker control as opposition to us, to create fear and division. The Russians are not putting up with the shit from the corrupted western gub'ments, just look at Syria. So, to you gays, be happy that you live here in relative freedom and leave other countries to their own customs and traditions. How about crying for gay freedom in muslim countries? That would be a much better start, as gays are in more danger there than in Russia. This smells of bolshevik agitation. Who exactly is behind this? I have a feeling it might be a member of a certain tribe that is always behind cultural subversion and banking schemes. Oy vey!!!

Joe Smith
Joe Smith

dave, you are very mistaken. No idea how Russia works.

Robert Saenz
Robert Saenz

well . .. look at OC Weekly not reporting on something stupid.

Sandra Sutphen
Sandra Sutphen

I like it...but I'm not a vodka drinker so it's easy for me!

Niko Babic
Niko Babic

Russian vodka is so overrated anyhow. ...its all about Croatian vodka now!

Josh Cottrill
Josh Cottrill

Go check out Stoli's Facebook page and see how they are supporting the LGBT community in Russia. Then, get rid of the ridiculously lame hash tag.

Otis Denim
Otis Denim

Jeremy, maybe Porter Melmoth knows : " If the Stranger ever goes the route of the Village Voice, the LA Weekly, and Time Out, (not to mention the Berkeley Barb), I'm getting out my mimeograph machine and I'll do this stuff MYSELF. " Posted by Porter Melmoth - January 9, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Avery Huxley
Avery Huxley

I see. Thanks Dave. It might be a good point to add to this article.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Because, even moreso than here, corporations control the government in Russia. They have the power to exert change that the people do not.

Avery Huxley
Avery Huxley

Why should Russian vodka makers be punished for the actions of their government?

Ozzy Larios
Ozzy Larios

Or how about cause they have massed 90,000 troops along with china to fight the Us over in Syria....And the fucktard is going to lead us into WWIII......Just saying.

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