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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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A delicious grain-based vodka from the Cariel company in Sweden, this is made with barley, wheat and rye. The master blender Peter Carslon applies his "melody and harmonies" philosophy to the vodka.  More info
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A flavoured vodka from Franska Bukten (French Bay) in Sweden. This is flavoured with pears, strawberries and mint, and it's rather delicious. Aivy is particularly good as a summer spirit for a...  More info
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Produced in Sweden by the superb Aivy company, Aivy Red is a delicious flavoured vodka with intensely fruity flavours of lemon, lime and pomegranate.  More info
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Alexander Colors Lemon Vodka is a smooth, delicate flavoured vodka from Italy. Enjoy it ice cold for a fresh, exciting tipple.  More info
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Alexander Colors Mint Vodka is an Italian vodka which is made with pure water from the Alps. Its mint flavours taste delightfully vivid and fresh.  More info
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The Alexander Colors Vodka is made in Italy by Bottega, a well known and talented spirits producer who obviously know their way around a still if this brilliantly pure spirit is anything to go by.  More info
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Blackcurrant flavoured vodka, produced in Ukraine in the 1990s. A neat collectible in great condition.  More info
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Made to the recipe of a 500 year old witches potion from the Czech Republic, Babicka is a blend of vodka flavoured with wormwood and various herbs. It is named after 16th Century Czechoslovakian...  More info
$47.34
Fantastic and organic small batch vodka from Bainbridge Distillers in Washington State on America's west coast. Made with soft white wheat from fields west of Walla Walla, a fact we're including...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$102.52
Organic vodka infused with whole vanilla beans from Bainbridge Distillers, the first USDA Certified Organic distillery in Washington State. They've even been so kind as to leave a handful of those...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$105.33
Belenkaya Lux
(70cl, 40%)
With a name that means "clearest and purest", you're going to be expecting big things from Belenkaya Lux Russian vodka. It goes through a rigorous filtration process which includes being filtered...  More info
$29.10
Beluga Goldline
(70cl, 40%)
While regular Beluga Vodka is filtered 3 times, the Russian distillers go the extra mile with Beluga Goldline and filter it 5 times! Beluga Goldline also comes with a wax-sealed bottle and a hammer...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$164.39
Beluga Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A superb super-premium Vodka made using non-GM ingredients. It's quite rare that a vodka (or any white spirit for that matter) impresses us to the point of wanting to tell people about it. Beluga is...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$65.59
A delicious Polish vodka, this is made with Raspberries and Blackcurrants and a hint of rose petals. They make Belvedere Black Raspberry by taking flavours from the peels, the juice and the flowers…  More info
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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
$56.55
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
$51.82
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)
$50.85
Belvedere Pure Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Polish Vodka distilled from only one particular strain of Rye. Absolutely smashing on its own, but this really does make a marvelous Vodka Martini.  More info
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Poland's best loved vodka, Belvedere, is distilled from a particular strain of Polish rye. It's delicious over ice, or in a Vodka Martini. This is the 1.75 litre size.  More info
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Belvedere Unfiltered
(70cl, 40%)
Belvedere Unfiltered is the result of using 100% "Single Estate" Dankowskie Diamond Rye to make vodka. This grain is baker's grade so not only can you make vodka out of the stuff you can also bake a...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$60.83
Belvedere Unfiltered is the result of using 100% "Single Estate" Dankowskie Diamond Rye to make vodka. This grain is baker's grade so not only can you make vodka out of the stuff you can also bake a...  More info
$194.34
Besmoked Vodka
(70cl, 40.20%)
Professor Cornelius Ampleforth has really been busy! Using a selection of the most scientific accoutrements, the "madcap" Professor conjured up a most delectable preparation for your drinking...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$53.42
The creation of West Dorset dairy farmer Jason Barber, Black Cow claims to be the world's first pure milk vodka, made from nothing but pure whole milk. The whey is used for vodka whilst the curds go...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$44.94
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
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Blackwoods Botanical Vodka is distilled five times before it is infused with botanicals using bonification to give it a refined flavour profile. The four botanicals used are meadow sweet, sea pink...  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.