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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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Staritsky and Levitsky were two prominent Ukrainian cultural icons back in their day, probably a bit like Ant and Dec, but better. You'd be forgiven for not knowing them, seeing as this was over 100...  More info
$50.45
Chase Vodka Magnum
(150cl, 40%)
A magnum of the excellent Chase Vodka. This is complex stuff, and although it's great over ice, try it at room temperature too for the full range of flavours.  More info
$177.48
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
$31.91
Cape North Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Like many distillers, Cape North have a fascination with purity when it comes to their vodka. They compare it to water, in that good water must be clean and fresh. They slowly distil their vodka in...  More info
$48.05
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)
$25.10
Stolichnaya Sticki Honey
(70cl, 37.50%)
This is a honey flavoured vodka from Stoli, ideal for giving a cocktail a sweet twist.  More info
$31.58
A wonderful Ukrainian vodka with an authentic, fresh Cranberry flavour. Great in a Cosmopolitan!  More info
$42.39
Marquis Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Polish Marquis Vodka is made from specially selected rye and distilled in Europe's tallest column stills at the famous Polmos Bialystok distillery.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$52.49
Flavoured with juicy, tangy Gala Apples, this fresh-tasting Russian vodka from Stolichnaya works superbly well in cocktails, or with tonic and plenty of ice.  More info
$32.62
Koskenkorva 013 Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Made using continuous distillation, the spirit used from Koskenkorva 013 is said to be distilled over 250 times(!) before it is bottled. As you can imagine, this creates an exceedingly high quality...  More info
$38.73
Breckenridge Vodka
(75cl, 40%)
Breckenridge distillery is the highest in the world up at 9,600 feet! It is located in the Rocky Mountains (be sure to pack a spare pair of gloves). It is made using 100% Midwest corn and snowmelt...  More info
$67.21
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
$45.62
Faust Cranberry Vodka
(50cl, 40%)
Fantastic Polish vodka and dynamic cranberry make Faust Cranberry Vodka a proper hero in our books.  More info
$42.19
Finlandia Lime
(70cl, 40%)
This is made with the essential oils of the lime, this is a brilliant citrus vodka from Finlandia.  More info
$31.10
A premium Polish vodka from top producer Polmos, Krakus Exclusive is made from carefully selected cereals and crystal clear water.  More info
$43.65
Russkaya Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Made in Russia, Russkaya is a superb vodka distilled from wheat, rye and malted barley. It is made with naturally spring-softened water, and even undergoes filtration through both quartz and birch...  More info
$27.77
'Wedkarska' is Polish for 'fishing', whilst 'Zlota Rybka' means 'goldfish'!

This vodka, produced by Polmos Warszawa, is flavoured with pepper to add a little extra warmth. The bottle itself...  More info
$90.84
Vladivar Imperial
(70cl, 37.50%)
Vladivar is a Scottish vodka made by Whyte and Mackay. It is triple distilled and charcoal filtered.  More info
$26.90
Smirnoff Lime
(70cl, 37.50%)
Smirnoff Lime is crisp and tangy. It is made using pot still vodka, which is filtered through seven tons of charcoal!  More info
$29.59
A magnum bottle Vladivar, a thrice distilled, charcoal filtered Scottish vodka from Whyte and Mackay.  More info
$50.94
UK 5 Organic Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
An Organic vodka produced in the UK, this is a very pure, naturally made vodka, without any dangerous chemicals of additives in it.  More info
$36.12
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
$48.23
A Polish rye vodka flavoured with selected lemon peel and also lemon leaves. The result is a crisp and tasty lemon vodka.  More info
$56.44
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
$57.21
Glen's Vodka 35cl
(35cl, 37.50%)
A half bottle of Glen's Vodka, a Scottish vodka distilled from sugar beet. It's not going to win any medals, but it is very cheap.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (2.5/5)
$14.69
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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.