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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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Smirnoff - 1970s 3l
(300cl, 37.50%)
This is a rare 1970s bottle of Smirnoff Red - a classic Russian vodka distilled three times and filtered ten times for purity. This is a collectible edition of the world's best-selling vodka.  More info
$390.88
Smirnoff Black
(70cl, 40%)
Smirnoff Black is a special vodka made in copper pot stills, distilled from Russian grains, and filtered through silver birch charcoal. Very smooth and supple.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$28.79
Bottled at 50% abv, this bottle of Smirnoff Blue Label Vodka is stronger than the regular Smirnoff Blue you would normally be able to aquire. Also, it is much, much older, as it was distilled in the...  More info
$195.44
A retro bottle of Smirnoff Blue Label Vodka from the 1970s. The Blue Label variety is stronger than your classic red label Smirnoff, although it does differ between 45% and 50% abv from country to...  More info
$195.44
Smirnoff Blueberry
(70cl, 37.50%)
A fantastically fruity Smirnoff. This is made with pot-still vodka, which is filtered through a whopping seven tons of charcoal. It is flavoured naturally with blueberry, and it works well in...  More info
$28.08
Smirnoff Espresso
(70cl, 37.50%)
Coffee Vodka. Mmmmmm.  More info
$38.57
Just like the classic Smirnoff Red Label, Smirnoff Export Strength is triple distilled and filtered ten times for its distinctive purity. Their blue label Export Strength variant, however, is bottled...  More info
$35.33
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
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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
$28.08
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
$29.07
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)
$43.96
Smirnoff Red 3l
(300cl, 37.50%)
A full three litres of Smirnoff Red label. Behold its majesty, marvel at its size. This is the world's bestselling vodka, and it is thrice distilled and ten times filtered.  More info
$109.04
One of the most well known vodkas in the world, Smirnoff Red Label is a well loved favourite in countless bars. This bottling is a well kept antique spirit from the 1970s.  More info
$156.35
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
$24.48
Smirnoff Red Vodka 1.5l
(150cl, 37.50%)
A magnum bottle of the world's top selling vodka, Smirnoff Red. A good mixer at a very good price.  More info
$50.13
Smirnoff Red Vodka 35cl
(35cl, 37.50%)
A half bottle of Smirnoff Red. Three times distilled and ten times filtered for greater purity.  More info
$13.78
Back in the 1980s, people thought the future would be full of stainless steel. By the 2000s, everything on this planet would be covered in gleaming silver (or, if you watched Tron too many times...  More info
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An absolutely astonishing, angular, antique bottle of Smirnoff Silver Private Reserve Vodka, a vodka so good they had to keep it away from other people in private reserves! This incredibly stylish...  More info
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Certainly a piece of spirits history, this bottle of Smirnoff Vodka was produced between 1949 and 1959, making it over 50 years old!  More info
$234.53
Considering the amount of Smirnoff that is drunk by all the discotheque and 'club' goers every Friday night, it's surprising that there's a 1970s bottle of this unmistakable vodka left. A rarity for...  More info
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It's lucky that at the Master of Malt office, we have a team of spirit detectives (detectives who investigate drinks, not ghost detectives), otherwise we may not have known this was a 1970s bottle of...  More info
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Snow Leopard Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A Polish vodka, Snow Leopard is premium vodka made in small batches. 15% of the profits go to wildlife charities to help protect the highly endangered Snow Leopard - there are only a few thousand left...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$52.65
Snow Queen Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A stunning vodka named for the Snow Queen of Kazakhstan. Her father was organic wheat and her mother was pure water from the mountains. Her brother was Borat. This vodka is distilled five times, and...  More info
$50.73
Snow Queen Vodka 1.5l
(150cl, 40%)
A very clean tasting vodka from Kazakhstan. It is five times distilled from wheat and made with pure water from the ice-capped mountains.  More info
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Soroka Vodka - 1970s
(70cl, 40%)
This elegant bottling of Boaka's 1970s Soroka vodka is very rare and was produced for the German market.  More info
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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.