We're approaching peak booze season. Between holiday travel, ramped up credit card debt and negotiating family personalities, odds are you may need of a little pick-me-up. Mini bottles should be part of the holiday survival kit, tucked in a pocket and ready for deployment when you have a moment to yourself. Vodka is the workhorse of alcohol. It's easily camouflaged in all manner of mixers and (mostly) odorless, making it perfect for a little drinking on the QT. The three we tested were, unfortunately, as lackluster as they were small.
Crystal Head Vodka—$8.95
Among the many batshit beliefs of Dan Aykroyd are mystic crystal skulls he thinks contain an otherworldly power. He's such a believer in these skulls that he debuted a vodka brand in their likeness. Our panel could find no trace of anything special in this skull—other than a curiously thin foretaste followed by a deep, esophageal burn.
Deep Edd Vodka—$1.95
Deep Eddy's online marketing frames it as a summertime sipper that jauntily suggests you "day drink responsibly." Purportedly distilled 10 times for extra smoothness, this Austin, Texas-based tipple over promised in the texture department with a nail polish remover nose and flavor profile one taster compared to the mud flaps on a truck. It'll get the day drinking job done, though.
Stolichnaya Elit Vodka—$4.95
By far the swankiest looking of the three, Stoli Elit is packaged like a high-end perfume. It claims online to contain the "most immaculate of water sources." As with the other entries we tasted, Elit was much too hot to be considered a luxury. Notes of grass clippings on the nose burned away, followed by a fumey ethanol finish. It didn't smell cheap, but it tasted less-than-premium.