Answer: It depends. Smirnoff has different flavors to choose from, but its status is still in the gray area, considering that it’s not yet certified as vegan.
When life gives you potatoes, make vodka!
Smirnoff, the leading vodka brand in the world, has a few different flavors, but the company itself isn’t certified vegan. Fermented potatoes and water are among the main ingredients in making vodka. But for Smirnoff, it’s made with corn, which makes it gluten-free.
If you’re curious about Smirnoff, let’s learn more about this best-selling vodka in this article.
What Is Smirnoff?
Smirnoff is a leading vodka brand in the world, manufactured by the company Diageo.
It was founded in Russia in 1854 by Pyotr Arsenievich Smirnov under the business name PA Smirnov. His son, Vladimir, took over the business following his death in 1898.
Vladimir created Recipe No. 21 after fleeing from Russia during the 1917 October Revolution. Before that, in 1904, he was compelled to sell the business when the Tsar took over the vodka industry in Russia.
In 1920, he started a new one in Istanbul named Smirnoff. The business went well, although it wasn’t the same as the old one in Russia.
In the 1930s, Smirnoff was sold to a Russian businessman, Rudolph Kunett, who had immigrated to New York.
From there, Smirnoff was sold to two other companies until Grand Metropolitan purchased the company and merged with Guinness in 1997 to create Diageo.
Today, Diageo, a London-based company that manufactures Smirnoff, has been regularly on the top ranks for producing the Russian-original vodka.
What Is Vodka?
The word Vodka is derived from the root word Voda, a Slavic term meaning little water.
There’s not much historical material about the history of vodka, but it was introduced to Europe in the 1700s. Varieties are from Russia, Poland, and Sweden.
Traditionally, vodka is made with fermented potatoes and cereal grains with water and ethanol.
However, modern vodkas nowadays are often made with honey, maple sap, and fruits.
It’s also drunk without any mixers, water, or ice and is served chilled. But it’s also used in making cocktails and other mixed drinks.
In the U.S., the minimum alcohol content set for vodka is 40% ABV, while it’s only 37.5% in Europe, as set by the European Union.
Grain vodkas such as rye and wheat are superior in today’s production. Some manufacturers also use sorghum and corn.
Other vodka brands are also made with potatoes, sugar beets, molasses, grapes, soybeans, rice, and oil refining by-products.
In America, most vodkas are made with 95% pure grain alcohol.
Vodka is traditionally plain or unflavored, but modern brands use flavorings such as ginger, red pepper, fruit flavors, cinnamon, unsweetened chocolate, and vanilla.
Vodka manufacturers in the U.S. follow a few rules set by the Code of Federal Regulations.
This includes meeting the minimum bottling proofs, and distillation, charcoal-filtered or not, is fine and can’t be aged in the wood. Also, it should be described as “to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color” anymore.
In cooking, vodka is also used as a pasta sauce, which became popular in the 1970s. It can also be used in baking in place of water, making pie crusts, cooking seafood dishes, cheesecakes, and many more.
Vodka goes through fermentation, distillation, as well as purification processes.
Smirnoff Is Kosher and Gluten-Free but Not Vegan-Certified
The vast majority of vodka is considered vegan, especially unflavored ones. But some brands make flavored vodka, which can sometimes include honey and milk.
Smirnoff may not be your best choice if you’re a vodka person, especially since the company’s stand about its vegan products is still a gray area.
However, the company’s website says that their products are gluten-free and Kosher, which is great for those with diet restrictions.
In an email to Barnivore, Smirnoff says they don’t use animal-sourced ingredients or by-products during production. But their products are not certified as vegan.
This can mean that you’ll have to drink Smirnoff at your own risk, although their products don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients.
Also, the company has confirmed that they use birch wood for their charcoal filtration and not animal bone char.
This makes some vegans more convinced to drink Smirnoff despite the idea that the company has not given the green signal.
But if you’re convinced that Smirnoff is vegan-friendly, the list below is highly recommended by some vegans.
- Vegan Smirnoff
- Smirnoff Ice
- Smirnoff Vodka (Red, Blue, and Black)
If you were to drink other Smirnoff flavors or varieties, always check the label to ensure that no animal-sourced ingredients are involved.
It’s worth noting that some ingredients are patented and marketed with different names, which can be overwhelming and confusing.
So you’ll have to ensure that no animal derivatives are included in your drink.
Vegan-Friendly Vodka Products to Buy
Since vodka is traditionally vegan, there are many products to choose from, but you still have to double-check if it’s vegan-friendly.
To help you out, here’s what I personally like when it comes to vegan vodka brands. These are available from your local grocer or supermarket.
But you can also order on Amazon.
- Tito’s Vodka
- Stoli Vodka (Chocolat Kokonut, Chocolate Razberi)
- Absolut Vodka
- Grey Goose Vodka
- Ketel One Vodka
- Beluga Vodka (Transatlantic, Allure)
- Hera The Dog Vodka
- Ving Vodka
- Blue Ice Potato Vodka
- Vodka Is Vegan Vodka
- Rhodium Vodka
- Vapid Vodka
There are still a lot of vodka products that are vegan-friendly for you to try. But you can consider the list above, especially since these brands are verified vegan.
Is Vodka Healthy?
Vodka is low in calories. All the calories it contains come from ethanol or alcohol, which is one of the main ingredients in making vodka.
It’s typically zero in sugar, carbs, cholesterol, sodium, fiber, fat, vitamins, and minerals. This means that there’s zero to little nutritional value, except for the flavored ones.
As with the calories, it depends on the proof of vodka itself. For instance, if the proof is 70, it has 85 calories.
Here’s a breakdown.
- 70 proof: 85 calories
- 80 proof: 96 calories
- 90 proof: 110 calories
- 100 proof: 124 calories
Proof means the alcohol percentage present in the liquor.
Because vodka has zero carbs, sugar, and cholesterol, it’s one of the best choices for those who follow a low-carb diet.
It’s also one of the alcoholic beverages with low calories, almost everyone’s first choice regarding spirits.
But just because it’s low in calories and zero in carbs, sugar, and cholesterol doesn’t mean you can drink as much as you want.
It’s worth noting that vodka contains a high alcohol percentage, which can significantly damage your health.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), men should limit their drinking to 4 drinks on any day.
On the other hand, women should drink no more than 3 drinks on any day to avoid any health problems over time.
Excessive alcohol intake damages your liver, brain, heart, and other vital organs important to your overall health. It also increases the risk of developing certain types of cancer.
Best Times to Drink Alcohol
The general rule of thumb is to eat first before drinking alcohol.
When you’ve eaten, the alcohol can’t get into your bloodstream quickly, which protects you from potential toxicity.
Health experts also suggest drinking alcohol after or during your heaviest or biggest meal of the day, dinner.
Dinner has all the necessary nutritional value that the human body needs. Protein, carbs, fat, calories, and all other nutrients can stop alcohol from getting into your bloodstream.
Although health experts recommend dinner time to drink your alcohol, there are no hard-and-fast rules to follow.
You can drink alcohol at any time of day, but it will depend on how healthy you are, your health, gender, and age.
It’s also recommended to stop drinking alcohol at least four hours before going to sleep to avoid disrupting your sleeping pattern.
But this also depends on how much alcohol you’ve consumed.
Drinking alcohol anywhere within the four-hour grace period can cause sleep disorders, breathing difficulties, headaches, and nightmares.
Although drinking habits can vary by culture, this doesn’t mean everyone isn’t subject to alcohol overconsumption.
Moderation is still key.
The Bottom Line
Smirnoff doesn’t include animal by-products during its production and uses birch wood in its charcoal filtration.
This can mean it’s vegan, although the company has clarified that its products are not certified-vegan. Drinking Smirnoff is up to you since it’s possibly vegan but not certified.
However, you can always opt for other vodka brands if you’re uncomfortable drinking Smirnoff because of its unclear status.
Otherwise, other vegan-friendly beverages like wines and beers, including Modelo Chelada. I’ve detailed it in this separate article if you can check it out.
When it comes to alcoholic beverages, always consider drinking moderately. It’s good for everyone, vegan or not!