Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka is a legendary bottle of booze, and it was at least partially responsible for popularizing vodka in the United States in the 1940s. Prior to that, a common joke was that “‘vodka’ is Russian for ‘horrible,’” and the spirit never really caught on stateside. After being acquired by G.F. Heublein Brothers (a major Connecticut-based food and spirits distributor) from its Russian founder in the 1930s, Smirnoff had the same trouble as all of its predecessors.
Thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign by Heublein President John G. Martin, though, Smirnoff and its signature Moscow Mule became one of the most famous and successful spirit products in the world. It has since become a staple in vodka cocktails the world over, and while it’s not the most complex or crafty vodka on the market, it’s certainly a historic one.