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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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Kirov Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
This is a bottle of Kirov Vodka, which is made in England, presumably in the style of Russian vodka.  More info
$26.43
Konik's Tail Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A small batch Polish vodka made with three different grains. It is complex and very well balanced. It is named for Konik, which is a primitive Polish horse. Legend has it that just a glimpse of this...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$46.81
Kord Zubrovka - 1980s
(75cl, 40%)
Kord produced this curvy bottle of Zubrovka vodka in the 1980s. It's flavoured with bison grass and, like its modern counterparts, even features a blade of bison grass in the bottle. A neat Czech...  More info
$155.17
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
$41.18
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
$37.21
Koskenkorva Blueberry
(70cl, 37.50%)
Finnish vodka, flavoured with sweet, subtle notes of blueberry. Koskenkorva is made using continuous distillation, resulting in a high quality spirit. Create a twist on classic vodka cocktails or...  More info
$33.18
Koskenkorva Lingonberry
(70cl, 37.50%)
The lingonberry is often used in jams and other traditional treats, but Koskenkorva would rather use it in their vodka than put it on their toast, an idea that we can certainly get behind...  More info
$33.07
Koskenkorva Nordic Berry
(70cl, 37.50%)
Nordic Berry-flavoured Koskenkorva Vodka, an excellent, high-quality spirit made with the glacial water and specially selected grain. The berries were harvested from Scandinavian forests and have...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$32.47
A premium Polish vodka from top producer Polmos, Krakus Exclusive is made from carefully selected cereals and crystal clear water.  More info
$51.45
Krakus Premium
(70cl, 40%)
Krakus Premium is a traditional Polish vodka made with neutral grain spirit and pure, clean water. A cracking vodka for mixed drinks and cocktails. (Get it? Cracking! Krakus! Sorry, I crack myself up...  More info
$36.69
Kremlyovskaya Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Kremlyovskaya is a premium Russian vodka, triple distilled. This is known as the "toast of new Russia".  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$37.09
Kryshtal Etalon Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A very pure-tasting Belarusian vodka, Etalon is purified and filtered many times. A good all-rounder…  More info
$57.77
Legend of Kremlin
(70cl, 40%)
Legend of the Kremlin vodka is superbly well packaged, super-premium Russian vodka made from top quality grains and soft spring water. It is actually supplied to the Russian parliament, such is the...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$49.54
A riveting super-premium Russian vodka, Legend of Kremlin is made using high-quality grains and soft water from their own artesian well. One to sip and savour.

This is a 50cl bottling.  More info
$40.00
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
$54.97
Lemon flavoured vodka from Soviet Russia, that may well be the definition of cool, we don't know...  More info
$155.17
"Imported from the USSR", this is a very rare and collectible Russian vodka from the Limmonaya company. It boasts a crisp, tangy lemon flavour and is best served chilled. This was bottled in the...  More info
$96.98
Potentially named after the river that runs through central Russia - The Volga River - the antique bottle of vodka comes from the 1970s. Perfect for spirits collectors.  More info
$155.17
Luksusowa Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A very tasty and very creamy triple distilled vodka from Poland, made from Potatoes. Its name, Luksusowa, is Polish for "luxury vodka", so you know it's good.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$25.52
A South African vodka, distilled from molasses. Mainstay was awarded the Vodka Trophy at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in 2007.  More info
$33.96
Mamont Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
This is the first batch of Mamont - a 5 times distilled Siberian vodka, filtered through Siberian rock. There are just 6,000 cases in the world, and the bottle is shaped to look like a mammoth's tusk.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$47.25
Maraska Cosmopolitan Vodka
(100cl, 37.50%)
Three guesses what cocktail this Croatian vodka would be rather tasty in. Yes, it does seem that Maraska is giving you a hint about how to use their Cosmopolitan Vodka with its name, so go right...  More info
$40.84
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)
$50.43
Marquis Vodka Magnum
(150cl, 40%)
A magnum of Polish Marquis Vodka, made from specially selected rye and distilled in Europe's tallest column stills at the famous Polmos Bialystok distillery.  More info
$113.21
Mazowiecka Zytnia
(70cl, 40%)
Mazowiecka Zytnia is a rye vodka, the rye comes from Mazovia in east-central Poland.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (2.0/5)
$33.91
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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.