When it comes to vodkas, two brands are almost as iconic as the spirit itself: Absolut Vodka and Grey Goose. Vodka connoisseurs hold both in high regard and for good reason. They’re both made using top-tier, natural ingredients that make for unique, respective tastes.
Both are as equally at home as a sipper or in a lavish cocktail. In this article, we weigh up the French against the Swedes as we, at least try to, establish in the Grey Goose vs Absolut debate which is more deserving of gracing your palate.
Absolut or Grey Goose?
There’s little doubt that, in isolation, many people would be equally content with one or the other of these two vodkas. But we’re weighing the two iconic brands up against each other in a classic “Grey Goose vs Absolut” battle to determine which is better, if one at all.
Grey Goose hails from France while Absolut Vodka originated in Sweden. The French-based Grey Goose has a crisp, clean, and smooth taste. The flavor can be described as citrusy with hints of sweetness while giving off a subtle tang of alcohol. And while it can be used in just about any cocktail, it’s most at home in floral and sparkling mixtures.
The Swedish Absolut vodka is described as one of the purest vodkas around while still possessing a distinct flavor. It’s contradictorily complex yet smooth at the same time and gives off a spicy, grainy taste that leaves a pleasant trace of dried fruit behind.
How Are They Made?
Even though Absolut was, ironically, sold to the French group Pernod Ricard, the spirit is still produced in the country of its origin.
Grey Goose in turn was acquired by the Bermuda-based Bacardi group in 2004 but is also still produced in its founding nation.
Absolut Vodka prides itself on being made exclusively from natural ingredients and unlike most other vodkas, refrains from adding any sugars. It’s this that aids in giving the spirit the purity that it’s so famous for.
To this day, Absolut is produced in the town of Ahus in Sweden. The main ingredients are the so-called “winter wheat” grown in the area and water from a deep well in the town. It is said that this well lacks impurities and is a major contributing factor in the pureness that is Absolut.
While the French aren’t typically associated with producing vodka like the Scandinavians are, Grey Goose holds its own in being one of the leading premium vodkas in the world, even winning an award for best tasting vodka in 1998.
Grey Goose was the first vodka to be produced in the Maître de Chai tradition. A process that allows aromas to be produced in the distillation process and is made with 100% French ingredients.
With every Grey Goose bottle proudly displaying “Distilled and Bottled in France” Grey Goose is produced in Picardy, France. It, too, is made with “winter wheat” that is blended with natural spring water from a sporing 150 meters below the blending facility in Cognac.
The water from the spring is rich in calcium thanks to the limestone that the spring is surrounded with. Thus, the water is filtered to remove impurities after which it is bottled with a replaceable cork as opposed to a screw-top cap.
Both brands produce an array of flavored variations alongside their standard vodka offering. One a lot more so than the other!
In their flavored and infused lineup, Grey Goose spreads their variations over two groups: “Essence” and simply “Flavored Vodkas”. The Essence range is botanically-infused vodkas in three varieties that are all vibrant and unique in their flavors. They are Strawberry & Lemongrass, Watermelon & Basil, and White Peach & Rosemary.
The Flavored range is infused, too, with the exception of the botanical influences, and is made up of more traditional flavorings. They include La Poire (pear-flavored), L ’Orange (orange-flavored), and Le Citron (lemon oil infused).
Absolut Vodka, on the other hand, doesn’t hold back when it comes to variations. Their (massive) spectrum of vodkas spans over releases dedicated to supporting communities to infusion with something as simple, by their standard, as Vanilla.
And like we said, the range is big! All in all over 25 different versions, so way too big to list every single one here. But the most noteworthy include Elyx, Together We Create, Absolut 100, Peppar, Rainbow, and Voices in their superior, limited edition range.
Their “standard” flavored variations span from grapefruit, lime, mandarin, berries, and the Extrakt that is infused with cardamom.
Even though the two vodkas have vastly different finishes, the neutral flavors in both are equally at home in a cocktail, or to enjoy neat or over the rocks.
Price, Size, Color, and Alcohol Percentage
In terms of pricing for their standard offerings, you can expect to pay a difference in the region of 20% more for Grey Groose than Absolut, across all the bottle sizing variations.
Both of the standard versions of the brands’ vodka are clear and colorless, and each of their ABV comes in at 40% which is 80 proof. Grey Goose is manufactured in Picardy, France while Absolut is produced in Ahus, Sweden.
How to Drink Grey Goose/Absolut Vodka
The versatility of vodka makes it easy to be enjoyed in several ways, and Grey Goose is no different. Whether it’s straight, with a mixer, or in a cocktail, Grey Goose will rarely disappoint the palate. That said, the spicier finish will naturally suit some mixtures more than others.
As far as cocktails go, Grey Goose is most at home in a martini. So much so that the brand has an entire page of recipes dedicated to the iconic blend.
It must be said though, that the Essence range with botanical-themed infusions makes for great options for refreshing mixers. Simply use any of the three variations with a club soda, and you’re good to go!
On a whim, we’d say that Absolut is just as versatile, if not more so than Grey Goose. The smooth, rich, and fruity finish, accommodates a wee bit more flavorings than the standard version of the vodka can blend with.
Further broadening your options when it comes to cocktails, is the immense variety in fruit flavors that the brand offers, as we mentioned before.
The wide variety enables you to pack an extra flavored punch in a mixture or complement a drink entirely with a new concoction.
What that comes down to are options! So many options. The brand also does a fantastic job in running a dedicated page to recipes, theming it up, and providing fresh content around the fact.
But did you expect anything less from one of the best-marketed brands in history? Here is that cocktail recipes page.
Thanks to the endless options available on the market, you won’t have to search too far to find alternatives for either brand.
One decent substitute for Grey Goose comes in the form of Belveder. It’s a traditional Polish Vodka made from Ry. It, too, has won awards and is considered a fine quality in the same price range as Grey Goose.
Reyka is another alternative to Grey Goose worth trying out. It’s an Icelandic-made vodka and is widely renowned for its smoothness, which can be attributed to the country’s pure water recourses. It’s reasonably priced, coming in slightly cheaper than Grey Goose, and many would say it’s an absolute pleasure to sip on.
When it comes to substitutes for Absolut, one is spoilt for choice. There are several vodkas on the market at a good price without sacrificing quality.
Smirnoff is arguably the next best-known vodka after Absolut and it’s for good reason. By their own account, the vodka is described as ultra-smooth with a classic taste. Therefore, it’s just as versatile on cocktails and mixes as Absolut without setting your pocket back more.
Skyy Vodka on the other hand is American-made purely from grains. It has a clean and neutral taste which can be described as a little bit dryer than other vodkas. That said, it can still be enjoyed neatly and cocktails alike.
It’s a fashionable choice for many and you’re likely to encounter it at many get-togethers. It’s a good option and still has a pretty smooth taste considering the budget-friendly price.
Grey Goose vs Absolut FAQs
Which came first, Absolut or Grey Goose?
Absolut was first produced all the way back in 1879 while Grey Goose has only been around since 1997. Thus, Absolut came first.
Which is stronger?
Both vodkas are 80 proof and have 40% ABV. Therefore, they have the same strength and alcohol content.
Which is the most popular?
Thanks to being around longer, and iconic marketing campaigns, it’s safe to say that Absolut is the more popular brand.
What is the main difference between the two?
Grey Goose vodka is a specially made product made in France using two ingredients, winter wheat, and natural spring water.
Absolut vodka is a product from Sweden that is also made with winter wheat and water from a deep well, which adds to its purity.