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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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Filliers Distillery
Spirit of Hven Distillery
Monkey Shoulder Whisky
Smooth Ambler Distillery
The Hot Enough Vodka Co
Balcones Whisky Distillery
The newest addition to the Davina Hani Polish vodka family is a sweet young fellow that was built in part by bees. That's right. The Linden honey which makes this flavoured vodka so sweet was made by...  More info
£15.65
Smirnoff Blue
(70cl, 45%)
A super premium vodka from Smirnoff. Blue is triple distilled and beautifully presented.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
£20.75
Rhubarb Vodka from Lyle Organics made solely from the organic rhubarb they grow themselves near Loch Ness. No fruit concentrates, colouring or artificial sweeteners are used. Try it over ice or in a...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (1.0/5)
£19.18
Finlandia Grapefruit
(70cl, 37.50%)
This Finnish vodka offers the subtle tanginess of fresh grapefruit, which makes it a wonderful addition to many cocktails.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
£17.95
A spectacular Russian spirit, Beluga Noble Vodka is made using barley malt spirit and very subtly flavoured with honey, oat and milk thistle extracts. It maintains the classic, crisp, clean character...  More info
£37.45
A really rather delectable wheat vodka from Adnams Brewery, this stuff is made by Fergus Fitzgerald, the master brewer, who makes a beer wash from East Anglian malted barley, wheat and oats. These are...  More info
£29.83
Ciroc Peach
(70cl, 37.50%)
A peach of a flavoured vodka from Ciroc, advertised and enjoyed by the rap chap Sean Combs/Puff Daddy/P. Diddy. Made from a base of grapes which are harvested while frozen, then distilled 5 times for...  More info
£34.84
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
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
£120.00
Absolut Wild Tea
(70cl, 40%)
A stupendous flavoured Swedish vodka from the Absolut company, this stuff is made with Chinese oolong tea and Swedish Elderflowers. The result is herbal and fragrant and wonderful in a variety of...  More info
£18.00
Absolut Peppar
(50cl, 40%)
Very spicy and full bodied pepper vodka from Sweden. Made with pure, creamy Absolut vodka, Absolut Peppar makes a corking Bloody Mary.  More info
£14.33
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)
£34.54
Pinky Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Pinky Vodka is a beautifully packaged vodka flavoured with rose petals, violets and wild strawberries.  More info
£29.33
Belvedere Vodka 6l
(60cl, 40%)
A massive 6 litre bottle of the beautiful Polish vodka, Belvedere, four times distilled from Polish rye. Very handsome, and perfect for any big parties! For scale purposes, we've included Brandy, the...  More info
£313.15
Grey Goose L'Orange
(70cl, 40%)
French vodka flavoured with the essence of the orange. This is made with Champagne limestone filtered water. In 2001 this was awarded gold at the Beverage Packaging Global Award. They were right to...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
£33.95
Brecon Five Vodka is a lovely Welsh vodka from the folks that make Penderyn whisky. This is five-times distilled and charcoal filtired, made with pure glacier water and just a hint of barley spirit...  More info
£26.03
A jeroboam (three litres) of this iconic quadruple-distilled Polish vodka, and if that wasn't enough if you press a button on the base of this massive bottle it illuminates allowing this vodka to...  More info
£163.68
The 100 proof version of Stolichnaya's vodka. Despite being so strong it still retains a surprising level of smoothness.  More info
£21.83
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
£66.95
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
£29.83
Stolichnaya Red Label
(70cl, 40%)
The classic Stolichnaya Red Label vodka, filtered three times, once with quartz, then charcoal and then quartz again for a pure but original flavour profile.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
£15.46
A very limited run of just 1,000 bottles, Chase make this superb vodka with English potatoes. The spirit is smoked with English oak for a exquisitely robust, evocative flavour.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
£33.55
Distilled 6 times and filtered 4 times, this premium grain vodka comes in a variety of designs. The bottles are fashioned in Milan whilst the spirit is produced at a Dutch distillery under the...  More info
£49.29
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
£31.15
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
£40.55
The premium version of best-selling Russian Standard Vodka.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
£21.83
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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.