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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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Naked Chase Vodka
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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
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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
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Absolut Blue
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Absolut Vodka is a classic tasting vodka distilled from winter wheat. The recipe is over 30 years old and the bottle design is based on an 18th century medicine flask.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$26.73
A small batch American vodka. This is made in numbered batches, distilled from potatoes, malted summer wheat and malted barley. Each batch is limited to 5 cases, distilled under the careful eye of the...  More info
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V Gallery Gift Set
(20cl, 21%)
A rather pleasing gift set of 4 x 5cl samples of V Gallery Vodka, including scrummy flavours like Toffee Fudge, Marshmallow, Mango Crush and Cucumber, all of which are five times distilled...  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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Mazowiecka Zytnia
(70cl, 40%)
Mazowiecka Zytnia is a rye vodka, the rye comes from Mazovia in east-central Poland.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (2.0/5)
$32.85
You'd be forgiven for not knowing Mr. Staritsky and Mr. Levitsky, seeing as they were cultural figured from over 100 years ago. For those who need a hint, Mr. Staritsky was a cultural leader and Mr...  More info
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Smirnoff Red Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
Smirnoff Red is triple distilled and ten times filtered for purity. This is the world's best selling vodka.  More info
$23.53
Absolut Citron
(70cl, 40%)
A citrus flavoured Swedish vodka, Absolut Citron is flavoured with lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit.  More info
$29.20
Vestal Kaszebe 2010
(50cl, 40%)
The 2010 vintage Vestal Kaszebe was made using Vineta potatoes grown in Kaszebe region of Poland. These lovely spuds were harvested while young (so they're full of flavour) after a long dry spell and...  More info
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Finlandia Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A very good vodka from Finland, Finlandia is a great premium vodka, made with glacial spring water.  More info
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$26.37
A delicious grain-based vodka from the Cariel company in Sweden, this is made with barley, wheat and rye. The master blender Peter Carslon applies his "melody and harmonies" philosophy to the vodka.  More info
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Wokka Fusion Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Wokka fusion vodka is a small batch vodka mixed with fine imported Japanese sake, and flavoured with Asian fruits.  More info
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Flavoured with Passionfruit for a tangy, sweet, fruity flavour, 42 Below Passion works wonderfully in a variety of cocktails.  More info
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A new premium vodka complete with sleek design courtesy of Quintessentially Spirits, (whose CEO, Rowland Hill, used to be chief exec. at Snow Queen Vodka) in conjunction with G&J Greenall.  More info
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A South African vodka, distilled from molasses. Mainstay was awarded the Vodka Trophy at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in 2007.  More info
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Absolut Pears
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Absolut Pears is a delicious pear flavoured vodka from Sweden. This is made using continuous distillation and is incredibly pure tasting. Distilled from winter wheat and naturally flavoured with pear.  More info
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Eristoff Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
A triple distilled Georgian vodka, named after Prince Eristoff, and based on his personal recipe, created in 1806.  More info
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$23.41
Poland's best loved vodka, Belvedere, is distilled from a particular strain of Polish rye. It's delicious over ice, or in a Vodka Martini. This is the 1.75 litre size.  More info
$133.16
Crystal Head Vodka 3l
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Regard the magnificence that is a jeroboam bottle of Dan Aykroyd's Crystal Head Vodka. No, really, regard it. This is a 3 litre bottle of award-winning vodka, which is filtered through 500 million...  More info
$399.23
Stolichnaya Razberi
(70cl, 37.50%)
Stoli Razberri is Russian vodka distilled from wheat and flavoured with raspberries.  More info
$29.39
Aylesbury Duck Vodka is a delightfully designed spirit from the great white north known as Canada. It's made with winter wheat sourced from farmers in the Western Rockies of Canada. After being...  More info
$46.15
A premium Polish vodka from top producer Polmos, Krakus Exclusive is made from carefully selected cereals and crystal clear water.  More info
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