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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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St George Spirits
The Hot Enough Vodka Co
Vintage Cocktails
Smooth Ambler Distillery
Glenfarclas Whisky Distillery
Origin Gin
Polugar Wheat Spirit
(70cl, 38.50%)
A Polish wheat spirit, made to a classic Russian vodka recipe from the days of yore. The distillers behind Polugar trice distil the spirit in a copper pot still and then clarify it using birch wood...  More info
$91.31
A classic rye "breadwine" spirit from Polugar, based on a Russian Vodka recipe from over 100 years ago. Using coarse-milled rye grain which is triple distilled in copper pot stills, then clarified...  More info
$90.34
Polugar is made using techniques and recipes from over 100 years ago. Their Single Malt Rye (that's what it says on the bottle - we had to stop and think about it for a minute too) is made with malted...  More info
$188.99
Like your vodka dry and collectible? This shiny 1980s bottle of Cocalsa Brezloff Dry Vodka will be something you'll want to take a good look at.  More info
$187.47
Rare Sunflower Vodka, produced in China during the 1970s. Lovely design this collectible bottle has. We're quite sure this isn't made with sunflowers, but think how interesting that would be!  More info
$187.47
Blackcurrant flavoured vodka, produced in Ukraine in the 1990s. A neat collectible in great condition.  More info
$74.99
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
$26.09
Kirov Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
This is a bottle of Kirov Vodka, which is made in England, presumably in the style of Russian vodka.  More info
$25.54
Back in the 1980s, people thought the future would be full of stainless steel. By the 2000s, everything on this planet would be covered in gleaming silver (or, if you watched Tron too many times...  More info
$149.98
Flavoured Italian vodka from the Alexander Colors range, made by Bottega using pure water from the Alps and featuring subtle but distinct notes of sweet berries.  More info
$45.93
A very old bottle of Keglevich Vodka, made by Stock in Trieste at some point between 1949 and 1959, presented in an interesting bottle that we think looks like a still (or perhaps we just think about...  More info
$281.21
Carmel Vodka - 1970s
(76cl, 50%)
This bottle of vodka was made in the 1970s by the Carmel Winery in Israel, whom are still producing wine even today! A rare, collectible piece.  More info
$149.98
Tvarscki Vodka was made by the American Distilling Co. in 1963, when this bottle was produced, although the brand is now owned by a different American company. This is a full quart of American vodka.  More info
$224.96
An early '80s bottling of classic Russian vodka, Stolichnaya.  More info
$149.98
Romanoff Vodka - 1970s
(38cl, 37.40%)
During the 1970s, this bottle of Romanoff Vodka was produced in England. At least 30 years old, this is a cracking antique for spirits collectors. Romanoff Vodka is still available today and is...  More info
$74.99
Relsky Vodka - 1960s
(75cl, 40%)
Relsky Vodka from the 1960s, featuring a rather happy looking chap on the label with a great big bushy beard that would suit a police officer in a quiet village in the South West of England.  More info
$187.47
We think that this bottle of Italian vodka made by Ciro Frassineti in Bologna was produced between 1949 and 1959, putting it at over 50 years old! Unfortunately the label has sustained a tiny bit of...  More info
$224.96
Potentially named after the river that runs through central Russia - The Volga River - the antique bottle of vodka comes from the 1970s. Perfect for spirits collectors.  More info
$149.98
A 50cl bottling of Debowa Premium Vodka from Poland. Noteworthy because of the oak-themed bottle, which is unique and pretty darn cool, and because the vodka is made with natural plant extracts...  More info
$55.54
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
$62.10
One of the most well known vodkas in the world, Smirnoff Red Label is a well loved favourite in countless bars. This bottling is a well kept antique spirit from the 1970s.  More info
$149.98
A stylish Russian vodka, Tovaritch! (it's got an exclamation point in its name, we're not just yelling) is made using high quality, organic grain from Volga and pure water drawn from deep wells in the...  More info
$29.09
Belenkaya Lux
(70cl, 40%)
With a name that means "clearest and purest", you're going to be expecting big things from Belenkaya Lux Russian vodka. It goes through a rigorous filtration process which includes being filtered...  More info
$28.04
Absolut Elyx
(70cl, 42.30%)
Produced using grain exclusively from the Råbelöf estate in Sweden, Absolut's Elyx is a premium expression from the esteemed vodka specialists. They distil this single estate vodka using a hand...  More info
$57.02
Alexander Colors Lemon Vodka is a smooth, delicate flavoured vodka from Italy. Enjoy it ice cold for a fresh, exciting tipple.  More info
$50.43
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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.