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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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Bruichladdich Octomore
Master of Malt Single Cask Whisky
Monkey Shoulder Whisky
The Hot Enough Vodka Co
That Boutique-y Whisky Company
Spirit of Hven Distillery
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Maraska Cosmopolitan Vodka
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Ciroc Red Berry
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Ciroc is a five-times-distilled vodka made from grapes which have been harvested when frozen. For this sweetly flavoured edition, it is blended with essences of raspberries and strawberries to give it...  More info
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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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Debowa White Oak
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Lemon flavoured vodka from Soviet Russia, that may well be the definition of cool, we don't know...  More info
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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
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Made from the finest organically-grown winter harvest rye grain, which is then five times distilled and placed in a pretty awesome bottle. Excellent over ice or in cocktails. Sadly, if you gather...  More info
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Chase 3l Vodka
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A Jeroboam (really, really big bottle) of deliciously creamy Chase potato vodka, this stuff was awarded a Double Gold medal at the 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, beating 114 other...  More info
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Stolichnaya Citros Vodka
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Blackdown Sussex Vodka
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From The Poshmakers comes The Secret British Vodka also known as AKA Vodka. Do you want to know why it's a secret? Too bad. That's a secret too.

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Eristoff Vodka
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Finlandia Lime
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Glen's Vodka
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Finlandia Vodka
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Wratislavia Vodka
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Belvedere Cytrus
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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.