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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
Grey Goose Magnum
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A magnum of delicious Grey Goose vodka, made with French wheat from La Beauce which is distilled in a five step process with artesian spring water which is filtered through Champagne limestone.  More info
$156.90
Volk Vodka
(75cl, 40%)
Following Russian traditions and recipes, Volk Vodka is filtered 8 times in different ways, including through charcoal and quartz. It is produced and bottled in Moldova.  More info
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Using a blend of potato varieties grown in Poland and pure Polish water, Vestal have produced a supremely flavoursome vodka. Vestal greatly value the aromas and flavours from the vodka, and this is...  More info
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A chocolate and raspberry flavoured vodka from the stalwart Russian producers Stolichnaya. Fruity and very rich.  More info
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$30.20
Belvedere Pink Grapefruit is made with real fruit, and pure Polish vodka. The result is a crisp, flavousome fruit vodka, released in 2010.  More info
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$50.46
The newest addition to the Davina Hani Polish vodka family is a sweet young fellow that was built in part by bees. That's right. The Linden honey which makes this flavoured vodka so sweet was made by...  More info
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Skyy Infusions Raspberry
(70cl, 37.50%)
Raspberry Flavoured Vodka from San Francisco Based producer Skyy.  More info
$34.29
Cold River Vodka
(75cl, 40%)
Cold River is a creamy and very distinctive vodka made by the American company, Maine Distilleries. They grow the potatoes on their own farm, get the water from a nearby aquifer and even bottle it...  More info
$65.28
Grey Goose La Poire
(70cl, 40%)
Produced with essence of Anjou pears, blended by the Maitre de Chai with Grey Goose vodka. This is a sophisticated, well-balanced fruit vodka.  More info
$56.24
Cristalnaya Vodka
(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
$36.12
Ciroc Peach
(70cl, 37.50%)
A peach of a flavoured vodka from Ciroc, advertised and enjoyed by the rap chap Sean Combs/Puff Daddy/P. Diddy. Made from a base of grapes which are harvested while frozen, then distilled 5 times for...  More info
$45.76
This V Gallery Cucumber Vodka is a delicious flavoured vodka which has uses spirit that has been 5 times distilled. Technically, cucumbers are fruit, which makes this a fruit flavoured vodka. You...  More info
$31.04
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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Blackwoods Botanical Vodka is distilled five times before it is infused with botanicals using bonification to give it a refined flavour profile. The four botanicals used are meadow sweet, sea pink...  More info
$40.58
In celebration of its popularity among the crowd that live for the night-life (not vampires), the Night Edition of Stolichnaya features a glow in the dark label that you'll only be able to see at...  More info
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Cossack Vodka - 1974
(75cl, 37.50%)
J & J Vickers produced the wonderful Cossack Vodka not in Russia but in London. This rare bottling comes from 1974.  More info
$154.47
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)
$61.06
This is the 2011 limited edition damson vodka from London distillers Sipsmith. It boasts a delicious bitter sweet flavour that makes it very much suitable for cocktails or indeed to drink by itself.  More info
$44.30
A retro bottle of Smirnoff Blue Label Vodka from the 1970s. The Blue Label variety is stronger than your classic red label Smirnoff, although it does differ between 45% and 50% abv from country to...  More info
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Grey Goose Le Citron
(70cl, 40%)
This is made with the zest of fresh lemons, and it is a brilliant fruit vodka with loads of flavour. Grey Goose use an essence of fresh lemons created by one of France's top fragrance houses.  More info
$56.04
Naked Chase Vodka
(70cl, 42%)
A wonderful English vodka made with apples from their Herefordshire orchards. Naked Chase is a pure, fresh vodka, with a hint of apple on the nose.  More info
$53.21
Aivy is a Swedish brand of superbly creamy, rich flavoured vodkas. Aivy Black is a triple-flavoured spirit, flavoured with mint, lemon and blackcurrant. The result is great in cocktails.  More info
$39.74
Koskenkorva 013 Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Made using continuous distillation, the spirit used from Koskenkorva 013 is said to be distilled over 250 times(!) before it is bottled. As you can imagine, this creates an exceedingly high quality...  More info
$37.04
Absolut Raspberri
(70cl, 40%)
Made from Winter wheat and pure water from a deep Swedish well. Absolut Raspberri is naturally flavoured with fresh raspberries.  More info
$30.31
Absolut Mandrin
(70cl, 40%)
A crisp and balanced Swedish flavoured Vodka. Absolut Mandrin is flavoured with mandarin, oranges and other citrus. There is no added sugar.  More info
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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.