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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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Monkey Shoulder Whisky
Professor Cornelius Ampleforth
Tito's Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Tito's Vodka is a small batch, gluten-free vodka made in small-batches in Austin, Texas, by Tito Beveridge. It's distilled six times in a pot still and filtered to reach the level of quality Tito...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
£31.47
Absolut Kurant
(70cl, 40%)
What did you call me? Oh, you just asked for Absolut Kurant, my bad…This is a fruity and crisp Swedish vodka flavoured with natural blackcurrant extracts. The results are delectable!  More info
£19.25
Stolichnaya Ohranj
(70cl, 37.50%)
Ohranj is an orange flavoured Russian vodka from Stolichnaya, made with wheat and glacial water.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
£18.77
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 (3.0/5)
£12.43
A very spicy, intense vodka from Belvedere, this was especially created for use in a tasty Bloody Mary, and is made by a maceration of seven key ingredients: black pepper, horseradish, bell pepper...  More info
£34.88
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
£24.84
Ivan the Terrible Vodka, it's not actually terrible though, it's really rather good, made with infusions of buckwheat honey and cedar nuts. Delicious.  More info
£38.31
Made with their artisan vodka, the English Vodka Company pops a handful of freshly picked and washed raspberries into the bottle, and voilà! Raspberry Vodka! Simple, fruity and perfect on a warm...  More info
£29.49
A cinnamon-flavoured edition of the world's best selling vodka complete with floating pieces of gold leaf. Perhaps they'd been watching Superbad and wondered why that gold flake vodka didn't exist...  More info
£34.40
Polugar No. 1 is made with both rye and wheat grains, distilled in copper pot stills in the style of Russian vodka, or "breadwine" as it was referred to, from the 19th century.  More info
£27.45
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
£37.32
Lemon flavoured vodka from Soviet Russia, that may well be the definition of cool, we don't know...  More info
£96.00
Blue 42 Vodka
(70cl, 42%)
From the makers of Pink 47 Gin comes Blue 42 Vodka, made with English wheat which is distilled three times and triple filtered to achieve the desired, elegant profile. Presented at 42% ABV in their...  More info
£22.77
Produced in America by the Square One company, this is an extraordinary flavoured vodka made with the pure essences of four different varieties of basil: Genovese, Thai, Lemon and Sweet. It's also...  More info
£30.95
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)
£26.99
Koskenkorva 013 Vanilla
(70cl, 37.50%)
The top-quality Finnish vodka, Koskenkorva 013, which has been flavoured with vanilla, giving the pure spirit a sweet, smooth palate.  More info
£25.48
Known for their popular London Dry Gin, Two Birds have now moved into the vodka category with this combination of barley and sugar beet spirit.  More info
£29.57
A delicious American vodka from top producers Square One, this is made with 100% organic American rye. It also includes ingredients such as pear, camomile, lavender and rosemary.  More info
£31.64
Vodka 7000
(75cl, 40%)
Vodka 7000 comes from the High West distillery (a Utah based company which recently produced a slew of delicious whiskeys). This was named after the altitude of the distillery, which is 7000 feet...  More info
£41.66
Green Mark Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Green Mark is a Russian vodka named for the seal of approval bestowed upon good vodka by the Glavspirttrest between the 1920s and 1950s. This bottle bears that very seal and the vodka within is really...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
£17.63
Finlandia Mango 40%
(70cl, 40%)
Fresh, fruity mango vodka from Finlandia. This has a great flavour and works very well in a variety of cocktails.  More info
£18.97
I Spirit Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Top quality Italian vodka which was introduced in 2009. The ingredients do suggest a reverence for Italy's spirit, using both grapes and grains to create the distillate, as well as spring water from...  More info
£26.55
Stolichnaya Sticki Honey
(70cl, 37.50%)
This is a honey flavoured vodka from Stoli, ideal for giving a cocktail a sweet twist.  More info
£18.77
Debowa Crystal Oak
(70cl, 40%)
Made with a special selection of plant extracts and with an ancient distillation method, Debowa Crystal Oak is a smooth, premium Polish vodka.  More info
£26.98
Blackdown Sussex Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
Although they are quite a new company, Blackdown certainly seem to know what they want to do and how to go about achieving it. The Blackdown Vodka, for example, made from 100% British wheat grain, has...  More info
£29.99
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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.