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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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Whisky Liqueurs
Spirit of Hven Distillery
The Hot Enough Vodka Co
Origin Gin
Yamazaki Whisky Distillery
Batshit Mental Ideas
Made to the recipe of a 500 year old witches potion from the Czech Republic, Babicka is a blend of vodka flavoured with wormwood and various herbs. It is named after 16th Century Czechoslovakian...  More info
£28.06
Vestal Kaszebe 2010
(50cl, 40%)
The 2010 vintage Vestal Kaszebe was made using Vineta potatoes grown in Kaszebe region of Poland. These lovely spuds were harvested while young (so they're full of flavour) after a long dry spell and...  More info
£58.29
Absolut Citron
(70cl, 40%)
A citrus flavoured Swedish vodka, Absolut Citron is flavoured with lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit.  More info
£18.55
Adnams Barley Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
This starts off in the same way as Adnams beers. It is made by fermenting a sort of beer wash, using East Anglian malted barley. It is made in very small batches, and is distilled in a handmade copper...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
£25.43
Finlandia Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A very good vodka from Finland, Finlandia is a great premium vodka, made with glacial spring water.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.0/5)
£16.45
Absolut Mandrin
(70cl, 40%)
A crisp and balanced Swedish flavoured Vodka. Absolut Mandrin is flavoured with mandarin, oranges and other citrus. There is no added sugar.  More info
£18.55
You'd be forgiven for not knowing Mr. Staritsky and Mr. Levitsky, seeing as they were cultural figured from over 100 years ago. For those who need a hint, Mr. Staritsky was a cultural leader and Mr...  More info
£33.99
Beluga Allure Russian Vodka is filtered multiple times before the distillers add a very small amount of fig extract and maple syrup, resulting in a classically clean but subtly sweet flavour profile...  More info
£88.32
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)
£20.98
Absolut Blue
(70cl, 40%)
Absolut Vodka is a classic tasting vodka distilled from winter wheat. The recipe is over 30 years old and the bottle design is based on an 18th century medicine flask.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
£16.75
V Gallery Gift Set
(20cl, 21%)
A rather pleasing gift set of 4 x 5cl samples of V Gallery Vodka, including scrummy flavours like Toffee Fudge, Marshmallow, Mango Crush and Cucumber, all of which are five times distilled...  More info
£16.79
Aivy is a Swedish brand of superbly creamy, rich flavoured vodkas. Aivy Black is a triple-flavoured spirit, flavoured with mint, lemon and blackcurrant. The result is great in cocktails.  More info
£22.44
Organic vodka infused with whole vanilla beans from Bainbridge Distillers, the first USDA Certified Organic distillery in Washington State. They've even been so kind as to leave a handful of those...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
£64.96
Smirnoff Blueberry
(70cl, 37.50%)
A fantastically fruity Smirnoff. This is made with pot-still vodka, which is filtered through a whopping seven tons of charcoal. It is flavoured naturally with blueberry, and it works well in...  More info
£17.24
Faust Cranberry Vodka
(50cl, 40%)
Fantastic Polish vodka and dynamic cranberry make Faust Cranberry Vodka a proper hero in our books.  More info
£22.08
Cristalnaya Vodka
(70cl, 38%)
Cristalnaya is a fabulous Russian vodka with an intensely creamy, smooth palate. Distilled from top quality grains, and a secret blend of botanicals, this is triple-distilled and makes for a great...  More info
£22.45
Naked Chase Vodka
(70cl, 42%)
A wonderful English vodka made with apples from their Herefordshire orchards. Naked Chase is a pure, fresh vodka, with a hint of apple on the nose.  More info
£34.54
A small batch American vodka. This is made in numbered batches, distilled from potatoes, malted summer wheat and malted barley. Each batch is limited to 5 cases, distilled under the careful eye of the...  More info
£34.01
The English Vodka Company has sourced the very best vanilla pods and added them to its finest artisan vodka. The result is a superb vanilla vodka that’s sweet and devilishly drinkable.  More info
£29.14
Grey Goose La Poire
(70cl, 40%)
Produced with essence of Anjou pears, blended by the Maitre de Chai with Grey Goose vodka. This is a sophisticated, well-balanced fruit vodka.  More info
£34.15
This V Gallery Cucumber Vodka is a delicious flavoured vodka which has uses spirit that has been 5 times distilled. Technically, cucumbers are fruit, which makes this a fruit flavoured vodka. You...  More info
£15.95
Limited edition Gooseberry Vodka from Chase in Herefordshire, made with their stunning potato-based vodka and locally grown gooseberries! Vibrantly fruity with a hint of tartness, the Chase Gooseberry...  More info
£39.95
A super premium Russian vodka made at the state-owned Moscow Distillery Cristall, and named for Vladimir Putin! This has been lauded by critics…  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.0/5)
£37.95
Cossack Vodka - 1974
(75cl, 37.50%)
J & J Vickers produced the wonderful Cossack Vodka not in Russia but in London. This rare bottling comes from 1974.  More info
£96.00
Chase 3l Vodka
(300cl, 40%)
A Jeroboam (really, really big bottle) of deliciously creamy Chase potato vodka, this stuff was awarded a Double Gold medal at the 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, beating 114 other...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
£157.90
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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.