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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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(70cl, 38%)
Cristalnaya is a fabulous Russian vodka with an intensely creamy, smooth palate. Distilled from top quality grains, and a secret blend of botanicals, this is triple-distilled and makes for a great...  More info
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Stolichnaya Elit
(70cl, 40%)
A classic ultra premium Russian vodka, Stolichnaya Elit is made using freeze filtration, which was patented by the SPI Group (one of the world's largest drinks companies, and also the owners of...  More info
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Salted Caramel Stoli! A Russian vodka flavoured with one of the greatest snacks of all time.  More info
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That's right, Dan Ackroyd's award-winning vodka that comes in a crystal skull head is now the official vodka of the Rolling Stones' 50th Anniversary! As such, it's now available in this austere gift...  More info
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A super premium Russian vodka made at the state-owned Moscow Distillery Cristall, and named for Vladimir Putin! This has been lauded by critics…  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.0/5)
$63.84
Purity Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
An organic vodka from Sweden, made from wheat and barley. It is made in a pot still, in very small batches and, unusually for a vodka, comes unfiltered! It is very fruity and thick, with hints of...  More info
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Snow Leopard Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A Polish vodka, Snow Leopard is premium vodka made in small batches. 15% of the profits go to wildlife charities to help protect the highly endangered Snow Leopard - there are only a few thousand left...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$56.88
The English Vodka Company believes small is beautiful, and this is perfectly encapsulated by their premium small batch vodka. This one is bottled at 54%, and unlike most mass-produced vodkas, it’s...  More info
$50.59
Mmmm, toffee fudge flavoured vodka from V Gallery. It's like liquid pick-a-mix!  More info
$32.45
A tasty rose petal flavoured Polish vodka, Lanique vodka is made using Attar of Rose, which, pound for pound, is worth more than gold! They make this to a 150 year old recipe, and the result tastes a...  More info
$37.03
Ciroc Vodka 1l
(100cl, 40%)
A stunning French vodka, which comes with a hearty recommendation from none other than P Diddy (off of that P Diddy and the Fam), so you know it's good. This lovely spirit is distilled from grapes...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$67.37
Chase Marmalade Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A brilliant fruit vodka made with Seville Orange Marmalade. This is just fabulous stuff from Chase, and it works beautifully in cocktails.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$52.30
Rhubarb Vodka from Lyle Organics made solely from the organic rhubarb they grow themselves near Loch Ness. No fruit concentrates, colouring or artificial sweeteners are used. Try it over ice or in a...  More info
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The English Vodka Company has sourced the very best vanilla pods and added them to its finest artisan vodka. The result is a superb vanilla vodka that’s sweet and devilishly drinkable.  More info
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Beluga Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A superb super-premium Vodka made using non-GM ingredients. It's quite rare that a vodka (or any white spirit for that matter) impresses us to the point of wanting to tell people about it. Beluga is...  More info
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$85.91
Distilled 6 times and filtered 4 times, this premium grain vodka comes in a variety of designs. The bottles are fashioned in Milan whilst the spirit is produced at a Dutch distillery under the...  More info
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A very limited run of just 1,000 bottles, Chase make this superb vodka with English potatoes. The spirit is smoked with English oak for a exquisitely robust, evocative flavour.  More info
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V Gallery Marshmallow Vodka uses 5 times distilled spirit to create a pure base for the sweet, soft marshmallow flavours to excite your palate. Yum!  More info
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Stolichnaya Gold
(70cl, 40%)
The classic Stolichnaya Gold is a great Russian vodka made from wheat and rye. In 2008 Stoli Gold was awarded a Gold medal at The Vodka Masters, it is an incredibly smooth vodka, and is really great...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$34.87
Sipsmith Barley Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Produced in the workshop previously used by the late, great Michael Jackson (whisky writer, not Moonwalker), this superb vodka is distilled from English Barley. Distilled in a marvellously compact pot...  More info
$43.13
U'Luvka
(70cl, 40%)
Excellent Polish vodka, U'Luvka, made from rye, barley and wheat. Rounded with lots of neat, flavoursome grains. Well worth trying.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$54.77
Chase Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Made by the same guys that make Tyrells potato crisps (from the dinky potatoes that can't be made into crisps). Chase vodka was featured on the BBC TV programme 'Oz and James drink to Britain'.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$51.22
Luksusowa Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A very tasty and very creamy triple distilled vodka from Poland, made from Potatoes. Its name, Luksusowa, is Polish for "luxury vodka", so you know it's good.  More info
$26.56
The 100 proof version of Stolichnaya's vodka. Despite being so strong it still retains a surprising level of smoothness.  More info
$35.75
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