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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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Vintage Cocktails
Heavy Water Vodka
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An ultra-premium vodka from Sweden, distilled from wheat and deep artisan well water. Heavy Water is bottled in heavy French glass and offers up a wonderful flavour.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
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Fantastic and organic small batch vodka from Bainbridge Distillers in Washington State on America's west coast. Made with soft white wheat from fields west of Walla Walla, a fact we're including...  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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Produced in Georgia by the renowned Eristoff company, Golden Caramel is a superb flavoured vodka made with caramel and a hint of vanilla. It can be enjoyed neat, or in a variety of cocktails.  More info
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Stolichnaya Elit
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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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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
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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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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
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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
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$33.92
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
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Ketel One Vodka
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A Dutch vodka produced at a distillery owned by a family-run business which was started in 1691. This was released in the UK in 1999 and has a great flavour profile.  More info
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$38.09
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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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)
$50.15
Mmmm, toffee fudge flavoured vodka from V Gallery. It's like liquid pick-a-mix!  More info
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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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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
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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
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Smirnoff Red 3l
(300cl, 37.50%)
A full three litres of Smirnoff Red label. Behold its majesty, marvel at its size. This is the world's bestselling vodka, and it is thrice distilled and ten times filtered.  More info
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Beluga Vodka
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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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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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The 100 proof version of Stolichnaya's vodka. Despite being so strong it still retains a surprising level of smoothness.  More info
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Absolut Wild Tea
(70cl, 40%)
A stupendous flavoured Swedish vodka from the Absolut company, this stuff is made with Chinese oolong tea and Swedish Elderflowers. The result is herbal and fragrant and wonderful in a variety of...  More info
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Snow Queen Vodka
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A stunning vodka named for the Snow Queen of Kazakhstan. Her father was organic wheat and her mother was pure water from the mountains. Her brother was Borat. This vodka is distilled five times, and...  More info
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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
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