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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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A very old bottle of Keglevich Vodka, made by Stock in Trieste at some point between 1949 and 1959, presented in an interesting bottle that we think looks like a still (or perhaps we just think about...  More info
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Made with their artisan vodka, the English Vodka Company pops a handful of freshly picked and washed raspberries into the bottle, and voilà! Raspberry Vodka! Simple, fruity and perfect on a warm...  More info
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Made with six-row Finnish barley and glacier water, Finlandia vodka is like drinking a piece of Finland itself (except, you know, in vodka form). This is an expression flavoured with blackcurrants...  More info
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Koskenkorva Lingonberry
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Blackcurrant flavoured vodka, produced in Ukraine in the 1990s. A neat collectible in great condition.  More info
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Vestal Kaszebe 2010
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The 2010 vintage Vestal Kaszebe was made using Vineta potatoes grown in Kaszebe region of Poland. These lovely spuds were harvested while young (so they're full of flavour) after a long dry spell and...  More info
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Kubanskaya is a classic brand of Russian vodka which is flavoured with just a little bit of lemon. This bottle comes from the 1970s, back when the brand was produced by the Kristall distillery in...  More info
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An absolutely astonishing, angular, antique bottle of Smirnoff Silver Private Reserve Vodka, a vodka so good they had to keep it away from other people in private reserves! This incredibly stylish...  More info
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A fancy presentation of the Debowa Polish vodka, which is made with natural plant extracts for a unique flavour. This 50cl bottle comes with a built in swing stand for easy pouring. It also makes it...  More info
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Rare Sunflower Vodka, produced in China during the 1970s. Lovely design this collectible bottle has. We're quite sure that this isn't made with sunflowers, but think how interesting that would be!  More info
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Like your vodka dry and collectible? This shiny 1980s bottle of Cocalsa Brezloff Dry Vodka will be something you'll want to take a good look at.  More info
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Kremlyovskaya Vodka
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Smirnoff Red Vodka 35cl
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A half bottle of Smirnoff Red. Three times distilled and ten times filtered for greater purity.  More info
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Eristoff Vodka 1.5l
(150cl, 37.50%)
A 1.5 litre bottle of Eristoff vodka, a triple distilled vodka named for Prince Eristoff of Georgia in 1806.  More info
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Square One Vodka
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An American vodka, and the only 100% American rye vodka on the mountains. Square One is produced in Idaho, and is diluted with water from deep aquifers at the base of the Teton Mountains.  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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Beautifully packaged ultra premium vodka from Poland, Wyborowa Exquisite is, in our opinion, one of the best premium vodkas from the "big boys" of vodka. Very creamy.  More info
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Made with real gold flakes and contained in a gorgeous bottle that's meant to look like the peak of an alpine mountain, Studer Swiss Gold Vodka is absolutely beautiful. It's the sort of thing you...  More info
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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.