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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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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
$150.01
A vintage bottle of Wybrowa State Spirit Vodka, produced by the State Spirit Monopoly in Poland during the 1950s.  More info
$121.88
Finlandia Mango 37.5%
(70cl, 37.50%)
Mangoes don't grow in Finland. Finlandia, however, make a pretty amazing mango flavoured vodka. How do they do it? They import them, of course! "The Tropics meet the Arctic" in this 37.5% bottling.  More info
$28.69
This bottle of Vodka Dobra, made by Riccadonna at some point between 1949 and 1959, is absolutely ancient but very well preserved.  More info
$140.63
This is a very tall, slender bottle of Caviar House Acquarium Vodka from the 2000s.  More info
$75.01
A quirky gift pack of Mamont Vodka from Siberia, packaged alongside two funky glasses which mimic the unique shape of the Mamont bottle, which is meant to mimic the shape of a mammoth's tusk.  More info
$63.11
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
$187.51
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
$51.93
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
$187.51
J.A. Baczewski Monopolowa is a potato vodka with a long history that dates back to 1782, when the Baczawski opened it's first distillery near Lvov. Over the years, the Austrian vodka has impressed...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$42.19
Grand Cherry Vodka
(50cl, 40%)
A Polish vodka flavoured with cherries.  More info
$23.22
Krzeska Ziolowa
(70cl, 40%)
Krzeska Ziolowa is a Polish herbal vodka. It comes in a very handsome decanter bottle.  More info
$68.68
Millennium 2000 Vodka
(50cl, 40%)
A Polish vodka from Polmos Siedlce, bottled especially for the millennium.  More info
$32.66
Really Raspberry Vodka
(50cl, 25.60%)
Really Raspberry is a flavoured vodka, infused with Scottish raspberries.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$33.83
Smirnoff Blue is cut with Nordic berries, which gives it its distinct blue hue. Very stylish.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
Spirytus Rektyfikowany is Polish for Rectified Spirit. This can be used as the spirit base for liqueurs.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$32.42
A classic Russian vodka from Stolichnaya. This is distilled from winter wheat and is filtered through quartz and charcoal, then quartz once more.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$29.92
Straight Strawberry Vodka
(50cl, 27.40%)
A strawberry flavoured vodka from Berry Good.  More info
$35.60
A very good quality rye vodka from Poland, flavoured with blackcurrant juice.  More info
$29.21
Vodka Czystia
(50cl, 40%)
Vodka Czystia is a Polish vodka from Polmos Siedlce.  More info
$22.95
A Polish vodka flavoured with cherries. Great in cocktails.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
Brecon Five Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A Welsh vodka, distilled at Penderyn from wheat and blended with fresh Welsh water from the Brecon Beacons.  More info
Motörhead Vödka
(70cl, 40%)
Ooöoh, would you look at this - vodka from one of the most well know and well loved rock and roll bands in the world, the one and only Motörhead. This vodka was distilled in the small Swedish market...  More info
$54.61
A bottle from the first batch of 1,000 bottles of Chase Marmalade Vodka, flavoured with Seville Oranges. Each bottle is numbered and signed.  More info
A small batch gin from Oregon, it has an incredibly intense citrus flavour. Delicious.  More info
$49.50

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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.