Drink Responsibly (ie 0-2 drinks/day). Prices are formatted 750ML/1.75L (otherwise known as a Fifth vs a Handle).
Check out a great list of cocktail recipes, most recommended are official IBA (International Bartenders Association) recipes.
Budget Vodka for Shots/Mixing
These all display great taste for their value. Even though they are in order from best tasting to worst, if one is the standout cheapest choice, go with that. Sobieski > Svedka > Fris > Rokk ~$10/$16
For a small bump in quality, Tito’s at $23/1.75L (more for shots).
Hard to find (available in Canada/Europe but not the states): Moskovskaya $10 (even better taste and value than the above vodkas, stereotypically this is the vodka of the Russian “commoner” vs Stolichnaya for the communist leaders)
Great Value in Vodka
[Russian Bite (as Russians like a soft bitter bite to their Vodka]
– Kalashnikov $18 (hard to find)
– Russian Standard $17 – the bottle with Russian lettering on it
If you cannot find either of the above, try 42 Below ($20/750) or Imperia $27
[Flavorless / Tasteless – for the Non-Russians]
– Ketel One $23 (more for mixing)
– Prairie Organic $17
– Smuggler’s Notch
– Blavod $24
[Best for Making Your Own Infused Liquor]
– Rain Vodka $20 – Sweet so don’t need to add sweetener, would taste more natural
Absolute Best Vodkas for Vodka Connoisseurs
These are more for sipping!
– Regalia $30 or Regalia Gold $40 which are VERY smooth, VERY subtle Russian “bite” taste, beautiful bottle / gift set.
– Cold River $40 is another great one, definitely better than the crafted Chopin, and displays complex flavors for a vodka.
– Belvedere Intense Unfiltered 80 $50 (again complex flavors)
– Hangar One (smooth and complex fruity undertone) $30
DO NOT GET: As is the case with liquor, some may be Nasty or Bad Value (Skyy, Three Olives – tad expensive for its quality range, Finlandia, Vox, Pinnacle, Ciroc – very smooth but no character, Stolichniya, Grey Goose, Chopin $40), Big Nasty (UV, Absolute, Smirnoff), Okay Value (Reyka $26, Death’s Door $27, Van Gogh)
Have not tried: Parliament, Flagman, Zelyonaya Marka (Зеленая марка)