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Vodka

Unquestionably a supremely popular spirit, Vodka is enjoyed around the globe thanks to its incredible versatility and, surprisingly, even its variation of flavour. Whilst typically enjoyed in the West as a means of adding spirit to mixed drinks, thanks to the superb quality and attention-to-detail found in craft Vodkas produced around the world, flavoursome premium Vodka is really burgeoning on the drinks scene.

As with anything universally popular, the origins of Vodka are hotly disputed, though most agree that its beginnings lie either in Poland or Russia. Ancient records date Vodka production in Russia centuries ago, with a number of early pharmaceutical lists referencing the “vodka of bread wine”. The earliest recorded use of the term “Vodka” was in 1405, in a set of Polish court documents in which it was placed alongside medicines and cosmetics.

In Eastern Europe and the Nordic countries, Vodka is traditionally consumed neat, differing from the Western world where it is usually mixed. The word itself derives from the Slavic “voda”, meaning water, etymologically linking the term with whisky (which comes from the Gaelic “uisge beatha”, the Scandinavian term Akvavit from the Latin “aqua vitae” and French “eau-de-vie” - all meaning water of life). It seems that a great number of spirits from around the world were once thought to be elixirs of life, containing mystical properties. Prior to the 1950s, Vodka was very rarely drunk outside of Europe, but thanks to its easily mixed flavour profile (and appearance), by 1975 sales of Vodka in America had surpassed those of bourbon.

Plain Vodka

Often fairly neutral in flavour, many commercial Vodkas can be mixed with pretty much anything. This is often due to numerous distillations and filtrations which popular vodkas (such as Smirnoff or Russian Standard) undergo, with advertising campaigns regularly flaunting a particular Vodka as being the “purest”.

Here at Master of Malt, however, we like our Vodka to be complex and bursting with flavour, and Vodka really can do both. It all begins with the base ingredient.

Poland, one of the motherlands of Vodka, tends to use either rye or potatoes. Popular rye vodkas include Belvedere or Wyborowa, and are notable for their bread-like sweetness and hints of spice. Potato vodkas on the other hand (brands such as Luksusowa, Chopin, or the English brand, Chase) tend to have a creamy, buttery, grainy character.

Scandinavian and Russian vodkas tend to be distilled from cereal grains such as wheat or barley. Sweden’s Absolut, for example, is a wheat vodka with a soft aniseed-like flavour with a little spice. For barley vodka, Finlandia, produced in Finland, offers nutty flavours and lasting spice.

For something completely different, France’s Ciroc is actually made of grapes, and is a rounded, fruity spirit.

Flavoured Vodka

Nowadays, the use of quality flavouring ingredients such as fruit and spice result in a variety of fine flavoured vodkas which allow for numerous fascinating and delicious mixed drinks.

For splendid examples of fruit-flavoured vodkas, try Davna Cherry Vodka or some of the fruity spirits in the English Vodka Company’s range.

For spicy vodka, Absolut Peppar works nicely in cocktails, or, if you’re feeling truly brave, have a sip of the exceedingly hot Naga Chilli Vodkas from The ‘Hot Enough’ Vodka Company.

Vodka

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We have created a monster, summoned from the very bowels of hell, formed in a vile carboy filled with a horrid mound of Naga Jolokia chillies (the world’s hottest chillies), steeped in grain vodka...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$55.83
A subtly flavoured vodka from Brennen & Brown in Cheltenham. The warming notes of cardamom appear first, swiftly followed by the sweetness of plum. Enjoy it over ice in the garden, perhaps somewhere...  More info
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"The horror! The horror!" What have we done… I'll tell you what we've done, we've created a monster. We filled a carboy with vodka, and into it we poured so many Naga Jolokia chillies that there was...  More info
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Reyka Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Reyka is an Icelandic vodka, distilled from wheat and barley. It is also the world's first "green" vodka, it being made from glacial water and distilled using sustainable energy from geothermal heat.  More info
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Absolutely stunning looking vintage vodka from Kauffman. This is distilled from the finest wheat from a single harvest. It's distilled an extraordinary 14 times before two filtrations; one through...  More info
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Kept in a bottle that looks like a prototype of the Gherkin, this Kauffman Soft Private Collection has been distilled 14 times before being filtered twice, once through birch coal and then again...  More info
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Crystal Head Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
This is one of the most brilliant things ever to be, also one of the very finest celebrity-endorsed products we've ever seen. Created for the legendary Dan Aykroyd, Crystal Head Vodka is...  More info
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Distilling his vodka a whopping 14 times and filtering it twice was Dr. Kauffman's way to fulfil his aspirations of making a truly excellent spirit. This edition is titled Hard because it's more...  More info
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The creation of West Dorset dairy farmer Jason Barber, Black Cow claims to be the world's first pure milk vodka, made from nothing but pure whole milk. The whey is used for vodka whilst the curds go...  More info
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$46.97
Besmoked Vodka
(70cl, 40.20%)
Professor Cornelius Ampleforth has really been busy! Using a selection of the most scientific accoutrements, the "madcap" Professor conjured up a most delectable preparation for your drinking...  More info
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$55.83
Valt is a lovely Scottish vodka, made using a quintuple micro-distillation technique, which is unique to Valt. It is distilled from malted barley, and it is sweet and very creamy.  More info
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DQ Vodka
(100cl, 40%)
DQ Vodka is made with Swedish winter wheat, and comes packaged in one of the most stunning bottles we've ever seen. It looks a bit like something you'd plug into a space ship to fuel it (like in Event...  More info
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Dragon. Vodka. Automatically cool.  More info
$90.57
A superb vodka, made by Dan Aykroyd! That's right, this is the unofficial vodka of Ghostbusters! This amazing celebrity-endorsed vodka is distilled and filtered through 500 million year old crystals...  More info
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Zubrowka is one of the most famous Polish vodkas out there, with its famous stem of Bison Grass in the bottle.  More info
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$31.94
Balkan 176° Vodka
(70cl, 88%)
The strongest vodka we have ever come across, Balkan 176 comes in a bottle with 13 different health warnings (including one in Braille), mainly because it's at 88% abv. It is produced in Serbia, and...  More info
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$69.56
Konik's Tail Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A small batch Polish vodka made with three different grains. It is complex and very well balanced. It is named for Konik, which is a primitive Polish horse. Legend has it that just a glimpse of this...  More info
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$49.07
Salted Caramel Stoli! A Russian vodka flavoured with one of the greatest snacks of all time.  More info
$43.89
Heavy Water Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
An ultra-premium vodka from Sweden, distilled from wheat and deep artisan well water. Heavy Water is bottled in heavy French glass and offers up a wonderful flavour.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$48.04
Imperia is a premium vodka from Russian Standard. This is filtered through quartz and charcoal for exceptional purity.  More info
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$58.29
Firestarter Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Get fired up about the awesome Firestarter Vodka! It's made with supreme winter wheat from Moldova and is five times platinum filtered, giving it an extremely smooth, pure palate. The rather exciting...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$41.01
Absolut Wild Tea
(70cl, 40%)
A stupendous flavoured Swedish vodka from the Absolut company, this stuff is made with Chinese oolong tea and Swedish Elderflowers. The result is herbal and fragrant and wonderful in a variety of...  More info
$68.35
Grey Goose Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
One of the original super-premium vodkas - made in France, and without doubt one of the creamiest vodkas we've ever tasted. Great Neat from the freezer.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$57.19
Blavod was created with the thought that you can choose to have your coffee either white or black, why should the same not apply to vodka? The result is this black vodka, distilled from molasses. The...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$32.42
A superb Austrian vodka made using Oval's patented "structured" process, which removes impurities post distillation. It's incredibly smooth and balanced.  More info
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$67.10
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ATOM Supplies Ltd trading as Master of Malt. Registered office: North House, 198 High Street, Tonbridge, TN9 1BE. Registered in England & Wales. Company number 3193057, VAT number GB 662241553.