It's been around for 70 years, does not come in a fancy frosted-glass bottle and yet can stand proudly next to more expensive offerings on the crowded vodka shelves. Alberta Pure recently took home a coveted double-gold medal from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, beating out Finlandia and Ketel One, among others. Produced in Calgary by Alberta Distillers (now controlled by global giant Beam Suntory), it's made with glacier-born Rocky Mountain water, which supposedly contributes to its clean, fresh profile. Triple-distilled, it's creamy and round and manages to come through subtly with more bread-like grain flavour than some trendier brands that boast four or five distillations in an attempt to arrive at an inoffensively neutral taste. There are hints of sweet vanilla and warm spice in the mix, too. At this price, it mostly earns its keep behind the bar as a base for sweet cocktails and bloody caesars, no doubt. But it's worth trying straight from the freezer or in a dry martini. Just don't let your guests catch you pouring from the plastic 750-millilitre bottle. Available in Ontario at the above price, $21.99 in British Columbia, various prices in Alberta, $20.99 in Manitoba, $24.99 in New Brunswick, $26.29 in Prince Edward Island, $28.48 in Newfoundland.