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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 stunningly fruity, intense vodka from Absolut, flavoured with Mango. This was launched in 2007, and is juicy and full-bodied. We thoroughly recommend this in a lovely Summery cocktail.  More info
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Cold River Vodka
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Cold River is a creamy and very distinctive vodka made by the American company, Maine Distilleries. They grow the potatoes on their own farm, get the water from a nearby aquifer and even bottle it...  More info
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Smirnoff Black
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Smirnoff Black is a special vodka made in copper pot stills, distilled from Russian grains, and filtered through silver birch charcoal. Very smooth and supple.  More info
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Green Mark Vodka
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Green Mark is a fabulous Russian vodka named for the seal of approval bestowed upon good vodka by the Glavspirttrest between the 1920s and 1950s. This bottle bears that very seal and the vodka within...  More info
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Poland's best loved vodka, Belvedere, is distilled from a particular strain of Polish rye. It's delicious over ice, or in a Vodka Martini. This is the 1.75 litre size.  More info
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Blackdown Sussex Vodka
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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
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Moskova Vodka
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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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Grey Goose L'Orange
(70cl, 40%)
French vodka flavoured with the essence of the orange. This is made with Champagne limestone filtered water. In 2001 this was awarded gold at the Beverage Packaging Global Award. They were right to...  More info
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Absolut Raspberri
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Made from Winter wheat and pure water from a deep Swedish well. Absolut Raspberri is naturally flavoured with fresh raspberries.  More info
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Pincer Vodka
(70cl, 38%)
A nicely packaged vodka, Pincer is infused with the flavours of Wild Elderflower, and Milk Thistle. The result is a creamy, herbal vodka, made with Scottish mountain water. The spirit has been diluted...  More info
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Blackwoods Botanical Vodka is distilled five times before it is infused with botanicals using bonification to give it a refined flavour profile. The four botanicals used are meadow sweet, sea pink...  More info
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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
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$41.93
Silver Rocks Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Produced in Poland, Silver Rocks is a delicious rye vodka with a sweet, faintly spicy flavour. Very good neat or in a Vodka Martini.  More info
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Sacred Spiced Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
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Passion Fruit Flavoured Vodka from San Francisco Based producer Skyy.  More info
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Russian Standard
(70cl, 40%)
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This stunning flavoured vodka from 42 Below is made with Manuka honey, a type of honey which is made by allowing bees to collect from the Manuka tree. This vodka is entirely made in New Zealand and is...  More info
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This is the 2011 limited edition damson vodka from London distillers Sipsmith. It boasts a delicious bitter sweet flavour that makes it very much suitable for cocktails or indeed to drink by itself.  More info
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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
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$38.71
Produced in Sweden by the superb Aivy company, Aivy Red is a delicious flavoured vodka with intensely fruity flavours of lemon, lime and pomegranate.  More info
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Absolut Vanilia
(70cl, 40%)
A lovely fresh and clean vanilla flavoured vodka. Absolut Vanilia has a rich, buttery flavour with hints of cocoa and plenty of fresh vanilla.  More info
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Eristoff Black Vodka
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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.