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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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Tasting Sets
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Finlandia Cranberry
(70cl, 37.50%)
As one of the few berries that grow up north near the Arctic, cranberries are used a lot Finnish food and drink, just like apples in Somerset. This is why real cranberries go into making the fantastic...  More info
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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
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Vladivar Imperial
(70cl, 37.50%)
Vladivar is a Scottish vodka made by Whyte and Mackay. It is triple distilled and charcoal filtered.  More info
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Cape North Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Like many distillers, Cape North have a fascination with purity when it comes to their vodka. They compare it to water, in that good water must be clean and fresh. They slowly distil their vodka in...  More info
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Mazowiecka Zytnia
(70cl, 40%)
Mazowiecka Zytnia is a rye vodka, the rye comes from Mazovia in east-central Poland.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (2.0/5)
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Glen's Vodka 35cl
(35cl, 37.50%)
A half bottle of Glen's Vodka, a Scottish vodka distilled from sugar beet. It's not going to win any medals, but it is very cheap.  More info
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$12.47
Absolut Elyx 40%
(70cl, 40%)
Single estate vodka - You don't hear that phrase every day, do you? Well, here is the Absolut Elyx, a single estate vodka made with wheat taken exclusively from an estate in Råbelöf, whom have been...  More info
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Stolichnaya Sticki Honey
(70cl, 37.50%)
This is a honey flavoured vodka from Stoli, ideal for giving a cocktail a sweet twist.  More info
$31.05
Sacred Organic Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Produced by the award-winning microdistiller Ian Hart, this vodka from the Sacred company is made on Highgate Hill in London and it was certified organic by the Soil Association in 2009.  More info
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Russian Standard 1.5l
(150cl, 40%)
Vodka, Insurance and Banking - that's what Russian Standard do. Now take a second, take a step back, and try and imagine the Macallan Credit Card, or the Health plan from Bombay Sapphire. Got to love...  More info
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Element 29 is a delicious British vodka distilled from East Anglian wheat. The grains are mashed, malted and fermented in Manchester before seven distillations in a state-of-the-art tower. It was...  More info
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Diamond Standard Vodka is made with Polish rye grain that is distilled four times and filtered four times too (once through diamonds, of course) for a high level of purity. The bottled even has a 25mm...  More info
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Kryshtal Etalon Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A very pure-tasting Belarusian vodka, Etalon is purified and filtered many times. A good all-rounder…  More info
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Raspberry Vodka
(50cl, 22%)
A fruity vodka from Scots Cheer. This is smooth grain vodka infused with raspberries.  More info
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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
$198.27
A Dutch lemon vodka, Ketel One Citroen is made with natural citrus, and is remarkably fresh. Based around the superb Ketel One vodka.  More info
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UK 5 Organic Vodka
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An Organic vodka produced in the UK, this is a very pure, naturally made vodka, without any dangerous chemicals of additives in it.  More info
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Moskova Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
A beautiful Russian vodka made from the very best grains and demineralised water. A great all-rounder, Moskova is a great mixer…  More info
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Koskenkorva Blueberry
(70cl, 37.50%)
Finnish vodka, flavoured with sweet, subtle notes of blueberry. Koskenkorva is made using continuous distillation, resulting in a high quality spirit. Create a twist on classic vodka cocktails or...  More info
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Cariel Vodka
(70cl, 40.70%)
This is made by blending what and barley spirit before dilution with purest spring water. Cariel vodka is a premium Swedish vodka with gentle sweetness and great balance.  More info
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A subtly flavoured vodka from Brennen & Brown in Cheltenham. The warming notes of cardamom appear first, swiftly followed by the sweetness of plum. Enjoy it over ice in the garden, perhaps somewhere...  More info
$52.93
Debowa Golden Oak
(70cl, 40%)
Debowa are talented vodka producers and they must have found some talented bees to help make their fabulous Debowa Golden Oak, an oak filtered vodka which has been infused with honey.  More info
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To make this excellent Blueberry vodka, they take small Wymans and Maine blueberries, which have a much more intense flavour. Then they steep them for a few days in alcohol, and they filter the...  More info
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This vodka is made to a traditional Polish recipe using Hierochloe Odorata grass from Europe's only remaining primeval forest - this grass is better known as bison grass due to the fact that bison...  More info
$22.69
Debowa Crystal Oak
(70cl, 40%)
Made with a special selection of plant extracts and with an ancient distillation method, Debowa Crystal Oak is a smooth, premium Polish vodka.  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.