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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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FEW Spirits
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)
$34.47
Mekhong Thai Spirit
(70cl, 35%)
Often mistaken as a sort of Thai whisky, Mekhong is actually made of 95% molasses and 5% rice. A popular drink amongst the tourist of Thailand. "Michael, Michael, Michael... tell me about the Lady...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (2.0/5)
$27.32
Monaco Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Have a guess at where Monaco Vodka comes from... That's right, Germany! This is a stylish German vodka from Munich Distillers, who also have a bar in the same premises they distil their vodka, which...  More info
$65.30
Moskova Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
A beautiful Russian vodka made from the very best grains and demineralised water. A great all-rounder, Moskova is a great mixer…  More info
$25.38
Moskovskaya Osobaya is a Russian vodka which has been made using traditional Russian methods. Moskovskaya translates to Muscovite, which we assume is in reference to its birthplace of Moscow, not the...  More info
$32.40
A very popular brand of Russian vodka, Moskovskaya can still be found today (if you go looking...). However, this particular bottling is an ancient piece, which we believe to have been produced...  More info
$197.14
Moskovskaya, or 'Moscow Vodka' was originally produced by the Russian state monopoly from 1894 before being revived after World War I by the Soviet government. This 75cl bottling dates back to the...  More info
$197.14
Naked Chase Vodka
(70cl, 42%)
A wonderful English vodka made with apples from their Herefordshire orchards. Naked Chase is a pure, fresh vodka, with a hint of apple on the nose.  More info
$54.33
New Amsterdam Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
New Amsterdam Vodka comes from the US of A and is five times distilled and triple filtered to achieve the desired purity of flavour and mouth feel. It takes its name from the history of New York, when...  More info
$28.83
Odessa Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
Odessa Vodka is a Ukrainian style vodka, named after the major seaport city in the south of the country. For extra purity, the vodka is filtered, and then filtered again, and then once more. Third...  More info
$27.43
A superb Austrian vodka made using Oval's patented "structured" process, which removes impurities post distillation. It's incredibly smooth and balanced.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$65.05
Pinky Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Pinky Vodka is a beautifully packaged vodka flavoured with rose petals, violets and wild strawberries.  More info
$48.05
Vodka from off of the '70s. 'Koszerna' is the Polish for kosher.  More info
$108.42
A Polish rye vodka flavoured with selected lemon peel and also lemon leaves. The result is a crisp and tasty lemon vodka.  More info
$55.12
This is a crisp, intense pepper-flavoured vodka from Poland. It has a vibrant pink hue and was bottled in the 1960s. Very collectible.  More info
$197.14
1960s Pepper Vodka from Polmos! Warming and eminently collectible Polish vodka, possibly great with steak? Preferably not a 1960s steak though.  More info
$197.14
'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
$88.71
A rare 1970s bottling of Polish vodka, created long before the takeover of the distillery by Pernod Ricard. Let us know if you can taste the difference.  More info
$108.42
Wyborowa vodka is produced at the Polmos Poznan distillery with this 150cl bottling coming from the days when it was still run by Poland’s state spirit monopoly, before the distillery's acquisition by...  More info
$157.71
A 1 litre bottling of Wyborowa polish vodka dating from the 1970s.  More info
$197.14
Wyborowa Polish rye vodka from the 1970s.  More info
$157.71
A 1980s vodka bottling - perfect for pretending you're James Bond. Or whatever. You know.  More info
$118.28
Potocki Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A Polish Rye Vodka - very smooth, but not to the point of flavourlessness (is that even a word?). The producers recommend drinking the vodka Chilled but not Frozen in order to preserve the more...  More info
$52.45
Purity Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
An organic vodka from Sweden, made from wheat and barley. It is made in a pot still, in very small batches and, unusually for a vodka, comes unfiltered! It is very fruity and thick, with hints of...  More info
$66.62
Puschkin Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
Puschkin Vodka is a German spirit distilled to a classic recipe and even goes through an ice filtration process to achieve a delicious purity. It comes in a handsome bottle with a bear giving us a...  More info
$30.56
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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.