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What Are The Strongest Vodka Brands?

Charl Joost
Last Updated: February 17th, 2023

The strongest vodka brands are high on the list of overall alcohol by volume (ABV) ratings.

The average ABV for vodka is approximate 40% which is similar to other alcoholic beverages such as whiskey, gin rum, and tequila.

Drinking a product with a high ABV is not advisable as it tends to create a health risk. Drinks with a high ABV should be diluted with water or other mixers to dilute them to an acceptable level, preferably 40% ABV or below.

Consuming too much liquor with a high ABV can cause alcohol poisoning. Furthermore, it can create discomfort caused by gassiness, diarrhea, bloating, painful bowel movements, and a feeling of fullness in your abdomen. It can also cause hemorrhoids and stomach ulcers.

If you are curious as to what the strongest Vodka brands are, look no further than Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany and Sklar’s Balkan 176 Vodka.

Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany

polmos spirytus rektyfikowany spirit
Image: Eddie~S

Spirytus Rektyfikowany is the strongest vodka globally and the strongest commercially available alcohol in the world.

Distillery Spirytus in Poland produce it at 192 Proof or 96% ABV

The base product premium ethyl alcohol derived from agricultural cereal.

Sklar’s Balkan 176 Vodka

sklar's balkan 176 vodka

The second strongest vodka is triple distilled and tasteless Balkan 176 Vodka containing 88% ABV.

It is the strongest vodka in the UK market as well as the strongest drink in Scandinavia.

Balkan 176 Vodka carries 13 health warnings, including 1 in Braille) on the bottle and retailers emphasize that it is not for neat consumption.

This Vodka is produced in Serbia.

How Are They Made?

Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany

Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany 192 Proof is made of premium ethyl alcohol with an agricultural cereal origin.

The name indicates that it is made of rectified spirit, also known as neutral spirits, rectified alcohol, or ethyl alcohol which is highly concentrated ethanol purified utilizing repeated distillation.

Generally rectified spirit has a maximum limit of 97.2% ABV or a maximum level of 95.6% ABV when distilled using conventional processes.

At this elevated level of ABV, the mixture of ethanol and water becomes a minimum-boiling azeotrope. Azeotropes are a mixture of two or more liquids whose proportions cannot be altered or changed by simple distillation.

Rectified spirit is typically distilled in continuous multi-column stills at 96–96.5% ABV and diluted as necessary.

Sklar’s Balkan 176 Vodka

Balkan premium 176 Vodka is produced in Poland by the fifth generation according to the original Balkan recipe that has been in the Sklar Family since 1845.

The base products used in the distillation process include 5 of the finest cereal grain and is only distilled in small batches.

The base product is triple distilled to 94% ABV before being diluted with de-ionized water to a reasonably palatable 88% ABV

What Are They Made of?

Shot vodka glass

Limited ingredients are used in the production of high ABV liquors which mainly include ethyl alcohol and water.

Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany

Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany 192 Proof is based on premium rectified spirit ethyl alcohol that originates from agricultural cereal origin.

Rectified alcohol is the highest concentrated ethanol produced by purifying through repeated distillation.

Sklar’s Balkan 176 Vodka

Balkan premium 176 Vodka is produced from 5 of the finest cereal grain that is triple distilled in small batches and then diluted to 88% ABV using de-ionized water.

How Are They Similar?

Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany and Sklar’s Balkan 176 Vodka are similar in the fact that they are both high ABV products that shouldn’t be tried without earnest consideration of the effect that they can have on your health.

It is not recommended to drink either of these vodkas straight. It is highly advisable to dilute them with water or other mixers or to be used in small quantities in cocktails.

Price, Size, Color, Alcohol Percentage Comparison

Item Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany Sklar’s Balkan 176 Vodka
Production Area
Raw Materials Premium rectified spirit ethyl alcohol that originates from agricultural cereal origin. 5 of the finest cereal grain that is diluted using de-ionized water.
ABV 96% 88 %
Proof 192 176
Aroma Gentle Vodka smell High Alcohol Smell
Taste Breathtakingly Strong!! Slightly sweet flavors of vanilla, oatmeal, and honey
Average Price (750 ml) Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany sells for approximately $19 per bottle Sklar’s Balkan 176 Vodka sells for approximately $42 per bottle
Color Crystal clear Crystal clear

clear vodka shot glasses

Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany

Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany is available in 3 sizes including 500 ml, 750 ml, and 1000 ml bottles.

Sklar’s Balkan 176 Vodka

Sklar Balkan 176 Vodka is available in 750 ml and 1000 ml bottles. Although they have a limited range of products available, they also offer Sklar Slivovitz.

This is an exceptionally delicate and well-balanced liquor that is produced in Poland as a family recipe.

It’s more palatable with an ABV of only 40% and gentler with a soft plum aroma and smooth subtle taste profile.

Slivovitz can be enjoyed as an aperitif or straight.

How To Drink

how to drink vodka shot

There are many ways to incorporate both vodkas into cocktails for enjoyment. What you don’t want to do is drink either of them straight or on the rocks. Doing so could seriously challenge your short-term health.

Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany

Nalewka is a traditional Polish category of alcoholic beverage that consists of 40% to 45% ABV but can go as high as 75% ABV.

This drink is made by soaking various ingredients in vodka or other high-volume spirits. The most frequently used ingredients include fruits, herbs, spices, sugar, or molasses.

Ideally, the Nalekwa must be aged for enhanced flavor and taste. The aged product will remind you of an apple and fruit-flavored brandy but is much sweeter, almost liqueur-like lacking the breathtaking strong alcohol taste.

Never drink it on its own!!

Sklar’s Balkan 176 Vodka

176 Balkan Vodka reaches can only really be appreciated when diluted with fruit juices, tonic water, or when used in cocktails.

Since it is at least twice as strong as the average vodka you should only use half of the recommended part in cocktails. This can be achieved by diluting it by 50% by adding 1 part water for every 1 part Balkan 176 vodka or using a half tot measure.

Never drink it on its own!!

Strongest Vodka Brands Alternatives

alternatives strongest vodka

Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany Alternatives

Finding alternatives for Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany in the vodka category is near impossible. Fortunately, other liquors can compete on an even keel when comparing the ABV percentages.


Everclear is a 190-proof / 95% ABV neutral grain spirit not categorized as a specific type of alcohol. No need to do that, all you have to know it will take your breath away in the same manner as Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany. Both are ridiculously strong.

Due to its frantically high alcohol content, Everclear has built an infamous reputation and has become iconic in pop culture.

Everclear, like most high ABV spirits, is generally not drunk on its own but rather used in producing homemade liqueurs.

With a similar alcohol content as Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany, it can serve the same purpose to be used in cooking or even hand sanitizer when there is an epidemic like Covid.


Absinthe potent greenish spirit produced using anise, wormwood, and other botanicals. The use of absinthe was thought to cause convulsions, hallucinations, mental deterioration, and psychosis which create an extremely vile reputation.

There are quite a few options available ranging from 45% ABV to a maximum of 90% ABV making it top-of-the-range competitive to Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany. However, the lower percentage of ABV can be enjoyed on its own on the rocks.

Sklar’s Balkan 176 Vodka Alternatives

Alternatives to Sklar’s Balkan 176 Vodka are easier to find in the vodka category of drinks.

Devil Springs Vodka

Devil Springs Vodka is only slightly lower in alcohol by volume coming in at a “mere” 80% ABV.

Just as people are discouraged to drink Balkan 176, they are also discouraged from drinking Devil Springs Vodka on its own.

Devil Springs Vodka is mostly enjoyed as a cocktail when mixed with fruit juice.

Diesel 190

Diesel 190 may appear similar to vodka with its colorless appearance.

However, it can be rather lethal with an ABV ranging between 75.5% to 95%.

This is also one of the highest ABV liquors made in America which is distilled from 100% grain

Its high ABV percentage puts it in the category of avoiding drinking on its own, rather than as a diluted refreshment.


Which came first?

Although Balkan 176 Vodka comes with a rich family tradition that has been passed on through generations, the official launch date was in August 2000.

Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany was released at approximately the same time when the demand for high ABV liquors escalated.

As Balkan 176 Vodka comes from a lineage of alcohol producers it could easily be the oldest of the two.

Which is stronger?

If there is any doubt about the age of the two vodkas, there is no doubt about which one is the stronger.

Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany far outstrips nearly any other liquor product and its 96 ABV makes it 8% stronger than Balkan 176.

Which is the most popular?

Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany is the more popular of the two with its higher ABV making it the preferred vodka to use in other products such as homemade liqueurs.

About The Author

Charl Joost

Charl is a trainer, public speaker, and professional writer. While he has been coached to niche down, he has many passions. These include golf, gardening, technology, and a decent cup of coffee or two. Charl loves to learn about new products and tries everything he writes about.

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