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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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Reyka Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Reyka is an Icelandic vodka, distilled from wheat and barley. It is also the world's first "green" vodka, it being made from glacial water and distilled using sustainable energy from geothermal heat.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$51.39
"The horror! The horror!" What have we done… I'll tell you what we've done, we've created a monster. We filled a carboy with vodka, and into it we poured so many Naga Jolokia chillies that there was...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$55.73
A subtly flavoured vodka from Brennen & Brown in Cheltenham. The warming notes of cardamom appear first, swiftly followed by the sweetness of plum. Enjoy it over ice in the garden, perhaps somewhere...  More info
$54.13
We have created a monster, summoned from the very bowels of hell, formed in a vile carboy filled with a horrid mound of Naga Jolokia chillies (the world’s hottest chillies), steeped in grain vodka...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$55.73
This Russian vodka is made by Dr Kauffman (we are nearly certain it's not the same chap who's in Tomorrow Never Dies). He bottles this fine Moscow vodka by vintage, distilling each from the finest...  More info
$113.25
High strength Polish vodka from Belvedere, this is distilled from Polish rye, and it comes packaged in an extremely stylish bottle…  More info
Belvedere 1X Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Stylish and very "cool"-looking vodka from Belvedere, this is distilled with Guarana, ginger, ginseng, fruits, herbs and spices. The packaging was designed in collaboration with Andre Saraiva.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
A stunning vodka distilled from wheat, East Anglian malted barley and oats. It is crafted by Fergus Fitzgerald, Adnams' master brewer, who makes a beer wash from the grains, which is fermented to...  More info
$45.43
Kulov Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
Cool off with Kulov, that's their slogan. And nothing cools us down better than a glass of vodka, apart from lemonade, mmm yummers. This is pure tasting, and it works well in cocktails.  More info
Bloody Mary anyone? Okay, so when compared to the micro-distilled vodka made using freshly grated horseradish we had recently at 69 Colebrook Row, this ain't quite as good. Mind you, that's a bit like...  More info
$26.73
Quite possibly the freshest tasting raspberry vodka you'll ver try. It's made with Meeker raspberries from the Frazer River valley in Washington state.  More info
$69.57
Effen Black Cherry is a smooth fruity vodka from Northern Holland. Effen is actually Dutch for "smooth", so you know it's good. It is distilled at low temperatures which makes is even smooth. It is...  More info
$52.89
A very unusual vodka, this is five times distilled, three time filtered and flavoured with Périgord truffles. It is very distinctive, and very soft. Beautiful.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (0.5/5)
A stunning flavoured vodka from 42 Below. This is made with Manuka honey, a type of honey which is made by allowing bees to collect from the Manuka tree. The results are rich and full and when mixed...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$36.79
Wyborowa Pear Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A Polish vodka with a fresh, delectable Pear flavour. Wyborowa Pear is made using Klapsa pears, which are very sweet and juicy.  More info
$28.57
Kaffir limes are a mainstay of Thai cuisine, and they have a high content of aromatic oils. This Kaffir Lime vodka from Hangar One offers notes of pepper, cucumber and oak - it's wonderful!  More info
$48.55
FAIR. Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
FAIR. Vodka is a Fair Trade premium vodka made with wheat and quinoa. It is a silky smooth vodka with a touch of sweetness on the palate.  More info
$53.15
Siwucha Vodka
(50cl, 40%)
An 'incompletely rectified' polish Vodka. Siwucha translates literally as 'Hooch' or 'Rot-gut' (enticed yet?). An alternate (althogh perhaps less accurate) translation is 'Old Grey Lady', referring to...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$28.67
A more recent addition to the Hangar One stable, this Spiced Pear is made with aromatic pear eaux-de-vie, fresh pear juice and various spice distillates. They make it just once a year in very small...  More info
$76.32
Traditional Polish vodka which was originally created at the Bialystok Distillery which was established in Poland in 1928. It is flavoured with various spices and has a wonderful bittersweet flavour.  More info
$40.60
Sacred Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Much more flavour-led than many other vodkas on the market, Sacred concentrate on flavour over smoothness. Re-distilled using (amongst other ingredients) Cubeb berries, Angelica, Nutmeg and...  More info
$49.93
Diplomat Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Diplomat Vodka was awarded Gold medals at the Grand Vodka Masters 2007 and 2008. It was originally commissioned in 1721 by Peter the Great, as a gift for King Phillipe V of Spain, and now it's yours...  More info
$47.53
Akvinta Organic Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A delicious Croatian vodka, triple-distilled in Italy using Italian wheat. This is then filtered through charcoal, marble, silver, gold and platinum. You can almost taste the deliciously/almost...  More info
$44.99
About as fresh and authentic tasting a cucumber flavour as we've ever experienced. Absolutely incredible. We can't recommend this stuff enough. They make it by re-distilling Blackwood's lovely...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$42.68
A Swedish vodka with a difference… the producers describe Camitz as unique and extraordinary; it is made using top quality wheat from Scandinavia and ice age Swedish spring water. Oh, and it's...  More info
$50.75

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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.