Vodka is at the heart of one of the great disconnects in the alcohol world: It’s both the top-selling spirit in the United States, and almost universally reviled by bartenders and their ilk. In paradoxical fashion, the very smoothness and mild flavor that make it the spirit of choice for many is the principal reason that it’s often relegated to the realm of fruity and sweet cocktails at most bars. Yet as Eastern European cuisine has a culinary moment, and as some distillers are looking to make distinctive vodkas, it’s time to re-examine this entire category.

That’s the topic of this week’s VinePair podcast, where Adam and Zach examine their own prejudices against vodka and discuss when and where it can be a memorable and enjoyable drink on its own.

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