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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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Koskenkorva Lingonberry
(70cl, 37.50%)
The lingonberry is often used in jams and other traditional treats, but Koskenkorva would rather use it in their vodka than put it on their toast, an idea that we can certainly get behind...  More info
$32.92
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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$46.42
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
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$51.49
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
$46.18
Vladivar Imperial
(70cl, 37.50%)
Vladivar is a Scottish vodka made by Whyte and Mackay. It is triple distilled and charcoal filtered.  More info
$22.12
Blackdown Sussex Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
Although they are quite a new company, Blackdown certainly seem to know what they want to do and how to go about achieving it. The Blackdown Vodka, for example, made from 100% British wheat grain, has...  More info
$48.25
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
$22.08
I Spirit Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Top quality Italian vodka which was introduced in 2009. The ingredients do suggest a reverence for Italy's spirit, using both grapes and grains to create the distillate, as well as spring water from...  More info
$42.72
A delicious American vodka from top producers Square One, this is made with 100% organic American rye. It also includes ingredients such as pear, camomile, lavender and rosemary.  More info
$50.91
Belvedere Cytrus
(70cl, 40%)
Belvedere Cytrus is a citrus flavoured Polish vodka. The lemons are grown in groves near Murcia in Spain and the limes are grown nearby in south east Spain. The vodka is flavoured with the peels...  More info
$51.42
Stolichnaya Citros Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
This deliciously tangy vodka from Stolichnaya is made with various citrus fruits, particularly lemons and limes. It works really well in a vodka and tonic, or as the base for a Cosmopolitan, in which...  More info
$30.20
Stolichnaya Sticki Honey
(70cl, 37.50%)
This is a honey flavoured vodka from Stoli, ideal for giving a cocktail a sweet twist.  More info
$30.20
Glen's Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
A Scottish vodka, distilled from sugar beet. It was originally named Grants vodka, before William Grant & Sons appealed to the Scottish Courts for the name to be changed.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.0/5)
$20.00
Known for their popular London Dry Gin, Two Birds have now moved into the vodka category with this combination of barley and sugar beet spirit.  More info
$47.58
Debowa White Oak
(70cl, 40%)
Made in Poland, Debowa White Oak is a traditional, delicately flavoured Polish vodka which was created as a sipping spirit. Very good stuff...  More info
$34.42
Smirnoff Red 1l
(100cl, 37.50%)
A litre bottle of Smirnoff Red - the world's best selling vodka. Thrice distilled and ten times filtered for purity.  More info
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$43.43
Vodka 7000
(75cl, 40%)
Vodka 7000 comes from the High West distillery (a Utah based company which recently produced a slew of delicious whiskeys). This was named after the altitude of the distillery, which is 7000 feet...  More info
$67.03
Produced in America by the Square One company, this is an extraordinary flavoured vodka made with the pure essences of four different varieties of basil: Genovese, Thai, Lemon and Sweet. It's also...  More info
$49.80
Lemon flavoured vodka from Soviet Russia, that may well be the definition of cool, we don't know...  More info
$154.47
Made from the finest organically-grown winter harvest rye grain, which is then five times distilled and placed in a pretty awesome bottle. Excellent over ice or in cocktails. Sadly, if you gather...  More info
$60.05
Made with their artisan vodka, the English Vodka Company pops a handful of freshly picked and washed raspberries into the bottle, and voilà! Raspberry Vodka! Simple, fruity and perfect on a warm...  More info
$55.50
Ivan the Terrible Vodka, it's not actually terrible though, it's really rather good, made with infusions of buckwheat honey and cedar nuts. Delicious.  More info
$61.64
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
$39.97
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
$58.42
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
$71.28
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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.