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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 1 litre bottling of Wyborowa polish vodka dating from the 1970s.  More info
$197.14
Wyborowa Polish rye vodka from the 1970s.  More info
$157.71
A rare 1.5 litre bottling of vodka produced in Italy during the 1960s!  More info
$295.70
A rare 1970s bottling of Polish vodka, created long before the takeover of the distillery by Pernod Ricard. Let us know if you can taste the difference.  More info
$108.42
Yurinka Vodka - 1970s
(100cl, 37.50%)
An old bottling of Yurinka Vodka. It was made in Spain and sports a traditional-looking coat of arms and blocky font on the label. The 1970s may not have been great for vodka label design, but the...  More info
$197.14
Boaka Wodka - 1970s
(70cl, 40%)
This bottling of Boaka Wodka (which is rather fun to say) was produced in Germany back in the 1970s.  More info
$157.71
Soroka Vodka - 1970s
(70cl, 40%)
This elegant bottling of Boaka's 1970s Soroka vodka is very rare and was produced for the German market.  More info
$157.71
1970s antique Vodka? Shaken not stirred please.  More info
$197.14
Vodka from off of the '70s. 'Koszerna' is the Polish for kosher.  More info
$108.42
Absolut Orient Apple
(70cl, 40%)
Apples and Vodka. Charmingly misspelled by Absolut.  More info
$43.55
A 1960's bottling of Imperial Vodka.  More info
$197.14
A 1980s vodka bottling - perfect for pretending you're James Bond. Or whatever. You know.  More info
$118.28
Eristow Vodka - 1961
(75cl, 40%)
A very rare 1961 bottling of Eristow (now Eristoff in the UK market).  More info
$197.14
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
$197.14
Wyborowa vodka is produced at the Polmos Poznan distillery with this 150cl bottling coming from the days when it was still run by Poland’s state spirit monopoly, before the distillery's acquisition by...  More info
$157.71
Better known these days for their garish flavoured vodkas, the history of Keglevich actually dates back to 1882 when they began producing this Italian vodka in Trieste based on the recipe of a...  More info
$197.14
A rare 1970s bottling of Stolichnaya Russian vodka. This is a 1 litre bottle.  More info
$236.56
'Wedkarska' is Polish for 'fishing', whilst 'Zlota Rybka' means 'goldfish'!

This vodka, produced by Polmos Warszawa, is flavoured with pepper to add a little extra warmth. The bottle itself...  More info
$88.71
Koskenkorva Nordic Berry
(70cl, 37.50%)
Nordic Berry-flavoured Koskenkorva Vodka, an excellent, high-quality spirit made with the glacial water and specially selected grain. The berries were harvested from Scandinavian forests and have...  More info
$33.00
Koskenkorva 013 Vanilla
(70cl, 37.50%)
The top-quality Finnish vodka, Koskenkorva 013, which has been flavoured with vanilla, giving the pure spirit a sweet, smooth palate.  More info
$41.86
Breckenridge Vodka
(75cl, 40%)
Breckenridge distillery is the highest in the world up at 9,600 feet! It is located in the Rocky Mountains (be sure to pack a spare pair of gloves). It is made using 100% Midwest corn and snowmelt...  More info
$65.63
Imperial Collection Silver is part of the increased range, now available in the UK from this premium Russian vodka producer.  More info
$35.91
Eristow Vodka - 1969
(75cl, 40%)
This is a superb Georgian vodka, named for Prince Nikolai Alexandrovich Eristoff. He fled his country during the Russian revolution and the recipe was passed down to his family who settled in France...  More info
$197.14
"Imported from the USSR", this is a very rare and collectible Russian vodka from the Limmonaya company. It boasts a crisp, tangy lemon flavour and is best served chilled. This was bottled in the...  More info
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This is a crisp, intense pepper-flavoured vodka from Poland. It has a vibrant pink hue and was bottled in the 1960s. Very collectible.  More info
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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.