Can You Drink Vodka Straight? (What Happens + How To)

There are many ways to drink vodka but few people consider drinking it straight. After all, it has an extremely high alcohol content and it isn’t exactly known for being flavorful.

But perhaps you’re toying with the idea and wondering if you can drink vodka straight. I did the research on how your experience could go. Here’s what I found!

Can You Drink Vodka Straight?

You can drink vodka straight but whether you’ll enjoy it depends on your alcohol tolerance and the brand of vodka you drink. Opting for top-shelf vodkas will likely give you a better experience as they have more flavor and less burn in them. Nonetheless, drinking vodka straight can intoxicate you faster.

If you want to know more about what happens when you drink vodka straight, how to avoid tasting it, and which brands you should go for, keep on reading!

What Happens If You Drink Vodka Straight?

Drinking vodka straight means that you won’t mix it with other ingredients like water, ice, juice, and other alcoholic beverages.

You can drink vodka straight in a lowball glass or through a shot glass, whichever appeals to you best.

In this context, drinking vodka straight would expose you better to the distinct flavors of the brand you’re drinking and it could also get you intoxicated so much faster.

Regarding its taste, drinking top-shelf vodka straight would prove that it’s not flavorless and odorless as per the mandate of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Unadulterated vodka would let you enjoy the wide variety of tastes it can have depending on its base ingredient.

Some of the most popular base ingredients used by top-shelf vodka brands include potatoes, corn, rye, and wheat, and they give vodka an array of flavors.

This happens because no matter how much you distill vodka, there are still elements left from the base ingredients that remain.

Moreover, drinking vodka straight could possibly give you the chance to enjoy the taste of the water used since vodka is 60% water.

Absolut and Finlandia are Scandinavian vodkas that have notes of green apple in their products thanks to the type of water they use.

Nonetheless, drinking vodka straight can still be difficult for a lot of people especially when they’re not used to its high alcohol content.

Vodka typically has 40% alcohol by volume (ABV) or 80 proof. Choosing not to mix it with water, ice, or other drinks can be overwhelming for non-drinkers and occasional drinkers.

That said, top-shelf vodka should be smooth and cause no burning as an aftertaste. It’s believed that bottom shelf vodkas are the ones that burn in the throat afterward.

Lastly, drinking vodka straight would cause your blood alcohol levels to shoot up faster than if you were drinking vodka cocktails or mixed vodka.

Expect to feel the signs of intoxication much sooner, particularly if you have low alcohol tolerance and you didn’t consume any food beforehand.

Which Vodka Should You Drink Straight?

Can You Drink Vodka Straight?

Choosing top-shelf vodka brands would give you a better experience with drinking vodka straight. This is because they don’t give off a strong odor, bitter taste, and harsh burn.

Vodkas that are smooth on the palate are usually distilled multiple times–but not too much–so that congeners, which are primarily responsible for hangovers, are eliminated.

Here’s a list of top-shelf vodkas you can drink straight:

  • Russian Standard Vodka
  • Nikka Coffey Vodka
  • Reyka Vodka
  • Absolut Elyx
  • Purity Vodka Signature 34
  • Belvedere
  • Tito’s Vodka

How To Drink Vodka Straight Without Tasting It?

If you want to drink vodka straight without tasting it, you have to breathe out before you swallow the vodka.

This is because breathing out through your mouth and blocking airflow to your nasal passage from your throat hinders the sense of smell.

Without you smelling what is inside of your mouth, you lose about 80% of what you discern to be the vodka’s taste.

Additionally, you can reduce the taste of vodka when you drink it straight by pinching your nostrils close or wearing nose plugs.

Chewing would enable aromas to drift to your nasal passage but since you’re likely to swallow the vodka at once, the chances of tasting it this way are minimal.

Moreover, chasing the vodka with another beverage before you breathe out through your nose would also prevent you from tasting whatever residues of vodka are on your tongue.

If you want to learn more about vodka, you can see our related posts on whether vodka is strong, if vodka is the strongest alcohol, and the best chasers for vodka.


You may drink vodka straight but there’s no guarantee that you’ll enjoy it.

If you choose top-shelf vodka brands, then drinking vodka straight could be more palatable because the taste would be smoother and you’ll avoid any burning sensation.

On the other hand, bottom-shelf brands are often bitter and have a burning aftertaste which is why it’s generally preferable to drink them iced or mixed.

Additionally, drinking vodka straight can cause intoxication faster than if you dilute it or mix it with another beverage.

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