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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 half litre bottle of the very tasty Polish luxury potato vodka, Chopin. We of course mean to say it's a luxury vodka made from potatoes, and not a vodka made from luxury potatoes - that would be...  More info
$50.02
A fantastically British quaff, this is the wonderful Chase potato vodka, flavoured with tangy Bramley apples. This is made in very limited batches and each bottle bears a handwritten batch number. On...  More info
This vodka packs a double hit of Columbian coffee as beans are used in the distillation process, then again to infuse the resulting spirit. This process creates a beautiful mahogany-hued spirit with a...  More info
$43.84
Belvedere (RED)
(70cl, 40%)
A very special edition from Belvedere, this stunning rye vodka from Poland was bottled in conjunction with (RED) to raise funds and awareness for AIDS charities around the globe. A proportion of the...  More info
$52.62
Absolut Mode
(100cl, 40%)
A litre bottle of the delightfully crisp, pure-tasting Absolut Swedish vodka. Absolut Mode comes packaged in a beautiful-looking glass bottle with a label made out of cloth. It's the kind of vodka...  More info
Absolut London
(70cl, 40%)
Absolut London is a limited edition vodka with a bottle designed by Gorillaz artist Jamie Hewlett. The bottles feature a cast of London characters including rakes, dandies bankers, and presumably...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
Villa Lobos is a delicious pure grain vodka from Mexico, distilled five times and bottled with an Agave worm in the bottle! Why does it have a worm? Why not... That's why.  More info
$42.42
Wyborowa Orange Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A delicious orange-flavoured Polish vodka from Wyborowa, made with orange essences, it has a medium level of sweetness, with a lot of zesty flavour.  More info
$32.28
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
$38.92
Precious Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A sextuple (hehe) distilled Bulgarian vodka, thrice filtered through charcoal, Precious Vodka is astoundingly clean and pure-tasting. It comes packaged in a handsome diamond-shaped bottle, with a...  More info
$72.29
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
$78.72
Belvedere (RED) 1.75l
(175cl, 40%)
A very special charity vodka from Belvedere. This stunning Polish rye vodka was produced with (RED), and a proportion of the profits from every bottle sold will go to AIDS charities around the world...  More info
$98.56
Rectified spirit from Poland, this is perfect for making liqueurs and the like, but at 96%, it must be treated with caution.  More info
$39.06
Wyborowa Apple Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Wyborowa Apple is a Polish vodka made using Rajskie apples, which are known for their sweet and juicy flavour. Great with cranberry juice or in a vodka mojito.  More info
$28.23
This was launched in 1994, and is made with real cranberries for a tangy, fresh flavour which makes it a great addition to many cocktails.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$28.50
A classic Russian vodka from Stolichnaya. This is distilled from winter wheat and is filtered through quartz and charcoal, then quartz once more.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$29.98
42 Below Kiwi Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
42 Below is a New Zealand vodka flavoured with the native fruit, Kiwi. The result is a great mixing spirit with a tangy, peppery, fruity taste.  More info
$35.20
The famous vodka from Finland made using six-row barley and glacial spring water. This vodka has been flavoured with blackcurrants for a fruity twist.  More info
$28.50
Produced by Licores Veracruz Distillers in Cordoba, Villa Lobos Platinum vodka is distilled to 55% abv, and it's very tasty indeed - full of character!  More info
$43.82
Made in Russia, Imperial Golden Snow is a super-premium vodka made with the pure, glacial water of Lake Ladoga. It is produced with a 12-stage purification process, and even comes with flakes of real...  More info
$61.06
This is a very rare 1980s bottling of the renowned Russian vodka Stolichnaya. It was distilled from wheat and rye and has a very good flavour.  More info
$75.15
Debowa Premium Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Made with natural plant extracts, Debowa Premium is a top-quality Polish vodka which comes packaged in a smart oak-themed bottle! Very good stuff.  More info
$55.66
This bottle of Vodka Dobra, made by Riccadonna at some point between 1949 and 1959, is absolutely ancient but very well preserved.  More info
$140.91
Flavoured with juicy, tangy Gala Apples, this fresh-tasting Russian vodka from Stolichnaya works superbly well in cocktails, or with tonic and plenty of ice.  More info
$30.36
This is a tasty and highly collectible Russian vodka. Krepkaya is actually the Russian term to describe vodkas of 56%abv and over - just like this one. Very good in cocktails.  More info
$112.73

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