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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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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)
$53.82
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
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$29.81
A flavoured vodka from Franska Bukten (French Bay) in Sweden. This is flavoured with pears, strawberries and mint, and it's rather delicious. Aivy is particularly good as a summer spirit for a...  More info
$33.72
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)
$50.37
Thunder Toffee Vodka
(70cl, 29.90%)
Thunder is made from triple distilled grain vodka and completely natural toffee syrup - nothing artificial in here.

It's best served cold as a shot over ice or perhaps an experimental cocktail...  More info
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A very tasty Polish fruit vodka, Davna Cherry is made by macerating cherries from the East and South of Poland for 2 weeks in top quality vodka. It is then rested for a full year in oak barrels before...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (2.5/5)
$24.38
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
User Rating:  Rating (3.0/5)
$94.96
Beluga Noble 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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$54.89
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
$45.74
Chase Rhubarb Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Sweet, fruity Rhubarb Vodka from Chase in Hereford, now with a fancy bottle to match the rest of the Chase Vodka range. They make this gorgeous stuff by cooking the rhubarb, marinading it in their...  More info
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Mmmm, toffee fudge flavoured vodka from V Gallery. It's like liquid pick-a-mix!  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$24.85
Imperia is a premium vodka from Russian Standard. This is filtered through quartz and charcoal for exceptional purity.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$53.60
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
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$33.54
Smirnoff Red Vodka 1.5l
(150cl, 37.50%)
A magnum bottle of the world's top selling vodka, Smirnoff Red. A good mixer at a very good price.  More info
$47.96
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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Beluga Gold Line
(70cl, 40%)
While regular Beluga Vodka is filtered 3 times, the Russian distillers go the extra mile with Beluga Gold Line and filter it 5 times! Beluga Gold Line also comes with a wax-sealed bottle and a hammer...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$157.97
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 (4.5/5)
$47.75
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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If you though the original Roberto Cavalli Vodka was stylish, have a gander at the Roberto Cavalli Night Edition. The first in a series of personalised and limited edition bottles, this has been all...  More info
$77.65
A very stylish gift pack of U'Luvka Polish Vodka, made with rye, barley and wheat. Alongside the uniquely shaped bottle, there are two handsome glasses which have no bases, harking back to an old...  More info
$61.96
Ciroc Coconut
(70cl, 37.50%)
The fresh, clear taste of Ciroc premium vodka, made with grapes that get harvested when they're frozen and distilled five times, mixed with the exotic flavours of coconut and a subtle hint of tropical...  More info
$54.28
Belvedere Unfiltered
(70cl, 40%)
Belvedere Unfiltered is the result of using 100% "Single Estate" Dankowskie Diamond Rye to make vodka. This grain is baker's grade so not only can you make vodka out of the stuff you can also bake a...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$61.76
Produced in Sweden by the superb Aivy company, Aivy Red is a delicious flavoured vodka with intensely fruity flavours of lemon, lime and pomegranate.  More info
$30.71
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
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$26.24
A superb Austrian vodka made using Oval's patented "structured" process, which removes impurities post distillation. It's incredibly smooth and balanced.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$61.70
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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.