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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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This is a smooth, rich-tasting vodka from the Cristall company in Moscow. It's an incredibly rare bottling of it too, dating back to the 1970s!  More info
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London Vodka
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London Vodka is a superb British vodka with a modern, stylish feel to it. Very creamy, this stuff is great in cocktails, or just neat over ice.  More info
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Really Raspberry is a deliciously fruity flavoured vodka from Berry Good. It's made in Scotland where it is infused with Scottish raspberries.  More info
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This is a collectible bottle of vodka from the 1970s. It's from the Bolskaya range which was made in The Netherlands by the Bols company.  More info
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Kasoff Vodka - 1970s
(70cl, 40%)
Made in the 1970s, this is a very rare bottle of Kasoff vodka. Highly collectible and very retro-looking.  More info
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Produced in Ivry-sur-Seine in Paris, Relsky is a Balkan-themed French vodka. It has won numerous awards and is highly collectible. This particular bottle was produced in the 1950s!  More info
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Imperial Collection Gold is a super-premium Russian vodka which recently took two prestigious awards from the Vodka Masters Competition. It's a superb spirit which is made with the soft waters of Lake...  More info
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Moskovskaya Russian vodka, with its distinctive green label, was originally introduced in 1894 and may have been the first vodka to implement Mendeleyev's formula to a create 40% abv spirit. After...  More info
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Lemon Vodka from 1979 - by Nikolai. Or for Nikolai. It's unclear.  More info
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An almost surreally old bottling of Sibirskaia Vodka from the 1950s.  More info
$124.60
Trojka Vodka - 1970s
(75cl, 40%)
An antique bottle of seldom heard-of Trojka vodka.  More info
$115.02
Boaka Vodka - 1970s
(70cl, 37%)
Produced for the Egyptian market, this Boaka vodka dates from the 1970s.  More info
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Kazbek Vodka - 1970s
(75cl, 40%)
This bottling of Kazbek Vodka dates from the 1970s, with the brand presumably taking its name from Mount Kazbek, in the Caucasus.  More info
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A vintage bottle of Wybrowa State Spirit Vodka, produced by the State Spirit Monopoly in Poland during the 1950s.  More info
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This is a very tall, slender bottle of Caviar House Acquarium Vodka from the 2000s.  More info
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Absolut Elyx
(70cl, 42.30%)
Produced using grain exclusively from the Råbelöf estate in Sweden, Absolut's Elyx is a premium expression from the esteemed vodka specialists. They distil this single estate vodka using a hand...  More info
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A decorative bottle of Smirnoff Allash Kümmel shaped like a bear, just like the one Frederic drank from in Hemmingway's 'A Farewell To Arms'! Produced in the 1960s (this bottle, not 'A Farewell To...  More info
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This little piece of history is a bottle of Burrough's English Vodka from the 1970s, made by James Burrough - a name that should be familiar to gin fans out there. Highly collectible.  More info
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Pomarancza is an Orange flavoured Polish Vodka from Belvedere made with Spanish mandarin oranges, Moroccan oranges and their blossoms and limes from South East Spain. Very aromatic and fruity.  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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Grand Cherry Vodka
(50cl, 40%)
A Polish vodka flavoured with cherries.  More info
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Krzeska Ziolowa
(70cl, 40%)
Krzeska Ziolowa is a Polish herbal vodka. It comes in a very handsome decanter bottle.  More info
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Millennium 2000 Vodka
(50cl, 40%)
A Polish vodka from Polmos Siedlce, bottled especially for the millennium.  More info
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Really Raspberry Vodka
(50cl, 25.60%)
Really Raspberry is a flavoured vodka, infused with Scottish raspberries.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$34.58

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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.