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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 1970s bottle of the fabulous premium Finnish vodka Finlandia, a pure-tasting spirit made with glacial spring water.  More info
An early 80s bottle of Finlandia, that shows just how much the company has changed the look and feel of the brand. Great condition.  More info
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Grand Cherry Vodka
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A Polish vodka flavoured with cherries.  More info
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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
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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
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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
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A small batch gin from Oregon, it has an incredibly intense citrus flavour. Delicious.  More info
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A perfumy character adorns this tasty Lemongrass vodka. It has the sort of exotic, gentle citrus you'd expect, and it really is quite something.  More info
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From Indio Spirits great range of unusually flavoured small batch vodkas from Oregon. A Marionberry is a berry large hybrid black berry, designed at the Oregon State University. Quite possibly one of...  More info
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Kasoff Vodka - 1970s
(70cl, 40%)
Made in the 1970s, this is a very rare bottle of Kasoff vodka. Highly collectible and very retro-looking.  More info
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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
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Kazbek Vodka - 1970s
(75cl, 40%)
This bottling of Kazbek Vodka dates from the 1970s, with the brand presumably taking its name from Mount Kazbek, in the Caucasus.  More info
$162.98
Ketel One Oranje 1l
(100cl, 40%)
A beautiful Dutch orange vodka from Ketel One. This is made by infusing Ketel One vodka with natural essences from Mandarin oranges from Italy and Velencia oranges from Brazil and Florida.  More info
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This Russian Vodka was distilled back in the 1970s during the height of the Soviet Union. Antique spirits are great for adding a historical edge to a cocktail.  More info
$162.98
Krzeska Ziolowa
(70cl, 40%)
Krzeska Ziolowa is a Polish herbal vodka. It comes in a very handsome decanter bottle.  More info
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A great bottle this. One of our favourites. Vodka dating from the 1960s, the height of the cold war, and in wonderful condition.
The bottle boasts striking Soviet-era artwork and typography. A great...  More info
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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
London Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
London Vodka is a superb British vodka with a modern, stylish feel to it. Very creamy, this stuff is great in cocktails, or just neat over ice.  More info
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A crisp, fruity, tangy cherry-flavoured fruit vodka from the Polish brand Polmos Lubushka. This stuff is made with rye vodka, which is macerated with Polish cherries and their stones, before a little...  More info
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A very old bottle of Luxardo vodka that's around 55 years of age. The seal is slightly damaged and the label is a bit discoloured, although the vodka inside remains clear.  More info
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Mayfair English Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Mayfair Vodka is distilled a grand total of six times from neutral grain spirit. Then a little bit is re-distilled in pot stills which creates a smoother more rounded style of small batch distilled...  More info
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Millennium 2000 Vodka
(50cl, 40%)
A Polish vodka from Polmos Siedlce, bottled especially for the millennium.  More info
$35.48
Mint condition bottle of Soviet-era Russian vodka from Moskovskaya. Clear as day with the seal intact, this is from the 1970s.  More info
$101.87
A 1980s Russian vodka, Moskovskaya's label proudly boasts that it is "Imported from the USSR". Very rare and very cool to have on the back bar!  More info
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
$122.24

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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.