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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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Spirit of Hven Distillery
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All the way from Western Australia comes this fresh small batch vodka.
It is produced by the Great Southern Distilling Company who also produce gin and the state's first legal single malt whiskies.  More info
$85.87
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
$62.43
"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
$93.76
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
$187.51
This is a 1970s bottling of the popular Polish vodka, Wyborowa. It is a rye vodka, distilled twice in pot stills.  More info
$150.01
Verlof Vodka - 1970s
(100cl, 40%)
This is a rare and collectible bottle of vodka from the Verlof brand. It was produced in Spain in the 1970s.  More info
$187.51
Russkaya is a superb Russian vodka made with specially refined water and filtered through birch coal and charcoal sand. This is a 1970s bottling of it, and is rather rare.  More info
$93.76
This is a Russian vodka from the 1970s. Unbelievably many spirits survive in collections and drinks cabinets for decades, the upshot is you can try these spirits from years gone by.  More info
$112.51
Sloe gin may be popular these days but in the 1970s they were experimenting with sloes and vodka, as you can see here.  More info
$150.01
Puschkin Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
Puschkin Vodka is a German spirit distilled to a classic recipe and even goes through an ice filtration process to achieve a delicious purity. It comes in a handsome bottle with a bear giving us a...  More info
$29.06
Debowa Red Oak Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A vibrantly colourful vodka from Poland, made by the very well respected company, Debowa. Red Oak Vodka combines the pure, natural flavours of their oak vodka with forest fruit extracts for a sweet...  More info
$42.97
Lemon flavoured vodka from Soviet Russia, that may well be the definition of cool, we don't know...  More info
$150.01
A special edition bottling of Russian vodka from Beluga, produced in honour of the Russian transatlantic sailing team and their successes in competitions.  More info
$66.00
Beluga's five-times-filtered Gold Line Vodka, presented in a handsome leather gift box. Top quality stuff - great mouth-feel and personality to it. The bottle is wax sealed, hence why it comes with a...  More info
$179.62
Eristow Vodka - 1970s
(75cl, 40%)
The story goes that this vodka was created for the Georgian prince, Nikolai Alexandrovich Eristoff, in 1806 and the recipe was passed down through his family when he fled Russia during the revolution...  More info
$150.01
Xellent Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Xellent is a Swiss vodka made from "bread-quality" rye grown at altitudes of up to 800 metres. They use pure glacier water to dilute their triple-distilled spirit down to 40% abv.  More info
$57.55
A 1970s bottle of Stoli. Amazing condition and an immediately recognisable brand, with a label that's changed very little in the last 40 years (that's the famous Hotel Moskva in the background if you...  More info
$187.51
Smirnoff Vanilla
(70cl, 37.50%)
Smirnoff Vodka, triple distilled and known worldwide, flavoured with the essence of vanilla, which has imparted a sweet, subtly floral flavour profile to the back bar classic.  More info
$28.33
Marquis Vodka Magnum
(150cl, 40%)
A magnum of Polish Marquis Vodka, made from specially selected rye and distilled in Europe's tallest column stills at the famous Polmos Bialystok distillery.  More info
$109.45
Marquis Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Polish Marquis Vodka is made from specially selected rye and distilled in Europe's tallest column stills at the famous Polmos Bialystok distillery.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$48.64
Chase Vodka Magnum
(150cl, 40%)
A magnum of the excellent Chase Vodka. This is complex stuff, and although it's great over ice, try it at room temperature too for the full range of flavours.  More info
$132.43
Helsinki Ice Palace
(70cl, 40%)
A delicious Ukrainian vodka, Helsinki Ice Palace is great in cocktails…  More info
$54.24
A wonderful Ukrainian vodka with an authentic, fresh Cranberry flavour. Great in a Cosmopolitan!  More info
$39.38
Belvedere Unfiltered is the result of using 100% "Single Estate" Dankowskie Diamond Rye to make vodka. This grain is baker's grade so not only can you make vodka out of the stuff you can also bake a...  More info
$187.29
Smirnoff Lime
(70cl, 37.50%)
Smirnoff Lime is crisp and tangy. It is made using pot still vodka, which is filtered through seven tons of charcoal!  More info
$27.89
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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.