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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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Origin Gin
Finlandia Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A very good vodka from Finland, Finlandia is a great premium vodka, made with glacial spring water.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.0/5)
$25.88
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)
$40.01
Absolut Citron
(70cl, 40%)
A citrus flavoured Swedish vodka, Absolut Citron is flavoured with lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit.  More info
$29.19
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
$91.72
Made to the recipe of a 500 year old witches potion from the Czech Republic, Babicka is a blend of vodka flavoured with wormwood and various herbs. It is named after 16th Century Czechoslovakian...  More info
$44.15
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)
$70.73
Stolichnaya Vanil
(70cl, 37.50%)
Stoli Vanil is a vanilla flavoured vodka from Stolichnaya. Distilled from winter wheat and made with glacial water, it is flavoured with Madagascan and Indonesian vanilla beans.  More info
$28.83
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
$92.14
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
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$24.33
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
$24.44
Chopin Potato Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Potato vodka is the secret of a good Vesper Martini - James Bond's own concoction. Chopin is four times distilled from Polish potatoes and named for Frederic Chopin.  More info
$59.05
Crystal Head Vodka 3l
(300cl, 40%)
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
$401.24
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
$46.39
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
$40.00
Flavoured with Passionfruit for a tangy, sweet, fruity flavour, 42 Below Passion works wonderfully in a variety of cocktails.  More info
$35.18
Ciroc Vodka 3l
(300cl, 40%)
A jeroboam-sized bottle of Ciroc vodka, made with French grapes which are harvested when frozen and five times distilled. This is, of course, the ultra premium vodka for which famous rapper and...  More info
$252.80
Cariel Vanilla Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
A vanilla flavoured Swedish vodka, Cariel is triple distilled from wheat, and flavoured with natural vanilla extract.  More info
$42.67
Absolut Cherrys
(70cl, 40%)
The kaleidoscopic selection of Absolut Vodka flavours grows one larger with the addition of their Cherrys expression. Made with no added sugar, only natural ingredients, this high quality Swedish...  More info
$30.24
42 Below Pure Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A four times distilled New Zealand vodka. This is made using non genetically modified wheat and pure, clean Kiwi spring water. Great in cocktails…  More info
$34.22
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
$142.82
This vodka is made to a traditional Polish recipe using Hierochloe Odorata grass from Europe's only remaining primeval forest - this grass is better known as bison grass due to the fact that bison...  More info
$22.55
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
$50.79
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
$28.06
Stolichnaya Razberi
(70cl, 37.50%)
Stoli Razberri is Russian vodka distilled from wheat and flavoured with raspberries.  More info
$28.83
A riveting super-premium Russian vodka, Legend of Kremlin is made using high-quality grains and soft water from their own artesian well. One to sip and savour.

This is a 50cl bottling.  More info
$38.94
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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.