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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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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
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Debowa White Oak
(70cl, 40%)
Made in Poland, Debowa White Oak is a traditional, delicately flavoured Polish vodka which was created as a sipping spirit. Very good stuff...  More info
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Stolichnaya Razberi
(70cl, 37.50%)
Stoli Razberri is Russian vodka distilled from wheat and flavoured with raspberries.  More info
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A beautiful vodka, aged in French and American Oak barrels. In many ways this is much like a good grain whisky, and it offers up notes of vanilla, white chocolate and coconut. Simply incredible, and...  More info
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Skyy Citrus
(70cl, 37.50%)
Citrus Flavoured Vodka from San Francisco Producer Skyy.  More info
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Kryshtal Etalon Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A very pure-tasting Belarusian vodka, Etalon is purified and filtered many times. A good all-rounder…  More info
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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
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$52.67
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
$56.98
42 Below Feijoa Vodka
(70cl, 42%)
For the uninitiated the Feijoa is a fruit grown in New Zealand, although it is native to South America. It's a tangy, utterly unusual fruit, and it works brilliantly when used to flavour New Zealand's...  More info
$39.62
Smirnoff Green Apple
(70cl, 37.50%)
Crisp, fruity version of Smirnoff. This is made using pot-distilled spirit, filtered through seven tons of charcoal, before it is naturally flavoured with green apple.  More info
$28.95
A beautiful oak-aged vodka made with their Longshore barley vodka which is matured in both American and French oak barrels before bottling at a higher-than-average proof. Another surefire hit from...  More info
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Raspberry Vodka
(50cl, 22%)
A fruity vodka from Scots Cheer. This is smooth grain vodka infused with raspberries.  More info
$28.65
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 it's birthplace of Moscow, not the...  More info
$33.12
Smirnoff Red 1l
(100cl, 37.50%)
A litre bottle of Smirnoff Red - the world's best selling vodka. Thrice distilled and ten times filtered for purity.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (2.0/5)
$48.52
Moskova Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
A beautiful Russian vodka made from the very best grains and demineralised water. A great all-rounder, Moskova is a great mixer…  More info
$25.95
Glen's Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
A Scottish vodka, distilled from sugar beet. It was originally named Grants vodka, before William Grant & Sons appealed to the Scottish Courts for the name to be changed.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$20.81
All the way from Western Australia comes this fresh small batch vodka.
It is produced by the Great Southern Distilling Company who also produce gin and the state's first legal single malt whiskies.  More info
$91.12
Finlandia Cranberry
(70cl, 37.50%)
As one of the few berries that grow up north near the Arctic, cranberries are used a lot Finnish food and drink, just like apples in Somerset. This is why real cranberries go into making the fantastic...  More info
$39.30
Stolichnaya Citros Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
This deliciously tangy vodka from Stolichnaya is made with various citrus fruits, particularly lemons and limes. It works really well in a vodka and tonic, or as the base for a Cosmopolitan, in which...  More info
$31.52
A Dutch lemon vodka, Ketel One Citroen is made with natural citrus, and is remarkably fresh. Based around the superb Ketel One vodka.  More info
$41.72
Flavoured with Passionfruit for a tangy, sweet, fruity flavour, 42 Below Passion works wonderfully in a variety of cocktails.  More info
$37.75
A triple distilled vodka, made from apples which are distilled in a pot still. To make just one bottle they use 300 apples! General John Stark came up with New Hampshire's motto: "Live free or die".  More info
$61.11
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 (4.0/5)
$28.01
Belvedere Cytrus
(70cl, 40%)
Belvedere Cytrus is a citrus flavoured Polish vodka. The lemons are grown in groves near Murcia in Spain and the limes are grown nearby in south east Spain. The vodka is flavoured with the peels...  More info
$52.67
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.

What isn't a secret is that AKA Vodka is made with...  More info
$68.85
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