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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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The Lost Distilleries Blend
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Smooth Ambler Distillery
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
$143.93
Stolichnaya Razberi
(70cl, 37.50%)
Stoli Razberri is Russian vodka distilled from wheat and flavoured with raspberries.  More info
$30.34
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
$94.22
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
$54.97
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
$94.65
Wratislavia Vodka
(50cl, 40%)
Don't you just love when a bottle is as beautiful as the spirit inside it? Wratislavia Vodka is a well made Polish vodka, filtered many times to obtain a pure, elegant palate. As if that wasn't enough...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$51.43
Roberto Cavalli Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Yep, that's right. Roberto Cavalli. The Fashion Designer. Can't really be bothered to finish this tasting note, I think I'm just going to hop in my car (upholstered by Benjamin Netanyahu), and drive...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$73.43
A South African vodka, distilled from molasses. Mainstay was awarded the Vodka Trophy at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in 2007.  More info
$33.96
Iceberg Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Iceberg is a wonderful vodka made in Newfoundland in Canada and named for the fact it is made with water from 12,000 year old icebergs. This is delicate vodka that works miracles in vodka martinis…  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$43.77
Cleveland Bay is a proudly British artisan vodka made to rival vodkas from Eastern Europe. Made using British potatoes, along with other fantastic ingredients from our lovely island, Cleveland Bay...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$71.85
Smirnoff Espresso
(70cl, 37.50%)
Coffee Vodka. Mmmmmm.  More info
$38.27
Absolut Level Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Level is Absolut's ultra premium vodka, it was launched in 2004 and is made from winter wheat. It is incredibly smooth, and was launched as a direct competitor to France's popular Grey Goose.  More info
$46.34
Absolut Citron
(70cl, 40%)
A citrus flavoured Swedish vodka, Absolut Citron is flavoured with lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit.  More info
$30.14
Adnams Barley Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
This starts off in the same way as Adnams beers. It is made by fermenting a sort of beer wash, using East Anglian malted barley. It is made in very small batches, and is distilled in a handmade copper...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$39.92
Broken Shed Vodka, which has since graduated from actually being made in a shed, is a premium vodka from New Zealand. It is made from whey spirit and natural spring water from the Southern Alps - and...  More info
$60.26
Ciroc Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Ciroc is a five times distilled French vodka made with grapes that are harvested when frozen. This is a very fancy and chic premium vodka.  More info
$51.96
Absolut Blue
(70cl, 40%)
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)
$27.59
Flavoured with Passionfruit for a tangy, sweet, fruity flavour, 42 Below Passion works wonderfully in a variety of cocktails.  More info
$36.33
Absolut Berry Acai
(70cl, 40%)
Absolut have launched this wonderful fruit-flavoured vodka made with Acai Berries. All jokes aside, this stuff is lovely, and it's made with European and North American blueberries, and Southwest...  More info
$31.53
Absolut Pears
(70cl, 40%)
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
$30.45
The Alexander Colors Vodka is made in Italy by Bottega, a well known and talented spirits producer who obviously know their way around a still if this brilliantly pure spirit is anything to go by.  More info
$52.17
Moskovskaya Osobaya is a Russian vodka which has been made using traditional Russian methods. Moskovskaya translates to Muscovite, which we assume is in reference to its birthplace of Moscow, not the...  More info
$31.87
A unique vodka made from certified organic cereals, which is cask matured before a final pot distillation. Owing to the oak maturation, this vodka has a round and full mouthfeel with real flavour...  More info
$52.79
Limited edition Gooseberry Vodka from Chase in Herefordshire, made with their stunning potato-based vodka and locally grown gooseberries! Vibrantly fruity with a hint of tartness, the Chase Gooseberry...  More info
$66.75
Boaka Wodka - 1970s
(70cl, 40%)
This bottling of Boaka Wodka (which is rather fun to say) was produced in Germany back in the 1970s.  More info
$155.17
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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.