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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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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
$31.22
If you though the original Roberto Cavalli Vodka was stylish, have a gander at the Roberto Cavalli Night Edition. The first in a series of personalised and limited edition bottles, this has been all...  More info
$83.20
Sacred Spiced Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Sacred Spiced is a superb spiced vodka which is vacuum-distilled by Ian Hart in Highgate Hill, London. It is flavoured with seven botanicals including nutmeg, angelica and distilled frankincense!  More info
$57.79
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
$31.69
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
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$45.39
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
$49.12
Chase Rhubarb Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Sweet, fruity Rhubarb Vodka from Chase in Hereford, now with a fancy bottle to match the rest of the Chase Vodka range. They make this gorgeous stuff by cooking the rhubarb, marinading it in their...  More info
$56.54
Ketel One Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A Dutch vodka produced at a distillery owned by a family-run business which was started in 1691. This was released in the UK in 1999 and has a great flavour profile.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$39.16
Eristoff Black Vodka
(70cl, 20%)
Named for the Eristoff family, which originated in what is now Georgia. This is the Black variant, with a wild berry flavour.  More info
$27.59
Pinky Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Pinky Vodka is a beautifully packaged vodka flavoured with rose petals, violets and wild strawberries.  More info
$50.40
A cinnamon-flavoured edition of the world's best selling vodka complete with floating pieces of gold leaf. Perhaps they'd been watching Superbad and wondered why that gold flake vodka didn't exist...  More info
$57.87
Absolut Peppar
(50cl, 40%)
Very spicy and full bodied pepper vodka from Sweden. Made with pure, creamy Absolut vodka, Absolut Peppar makes a corking Bloody Mary.  More info
$23.08
A flavoured vodka from Franska Bukten (French Bay) in Sweden. This is flavoured with pears, strawberries and mint, and it's rather delicious. Aivy is particularly good as a summer spirit for a...  More info
$33.16
Smirnoff Black
(70cl, 40%)
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
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$29.74
A wonderful vodka from Blackwoods, this is triple distilled over Nordic Birch charcoal and is also the first vodka ever to be "ice-filtered". It's how they distil it - ice cold, no mistakes. This...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$32.92
In celebration of its popularity among the crowd that live for the night-life (not vampires), the Night Edition of Stolichnaya features a glow in the dark label that you'll only be able to see at...  More info
$31.49
Smirnoff Espresso
(70cl, 37.50%)
Coffee Vodka. Mmmmmm.  More info
$31.16
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
$32.45
A delicious Polish vodka, this is made with Raspberries and Blackcurrants and a hint of rose petals. They make Belvedere Black Raspberry by taking flavours from the peels, the juice and the flowers…  More info
$52.76
Belvedere Unfiltered
(70cl, 40%)
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
$63.12
A chocolate and raspberry flavoured vodka from the stalwart Russian producers Stolichnaya. Fruity and very rich.  More info
$31.58
Three-time distilled vodka, made with high-quality grain and pure Alpine spring water by the Studer distillery in Switzerland. Presented in their distinctive round bottle with a glass mountain housed...  More info
$98.28
A new premium vodka complete with sleek design courtesy of Quintessentially Spirits, (whose CEO, Rowland Hill, used to be chief exec. at Snow Queen Vodka) in conjunction with G&J Greenall.  More info
$98.51
Mekhong Thai Spirit
(70cl, 35%)
Often mistaken as a sort of Thai whisky, Mekhong is actually made of 95% molasses and 5% rice. A popular drink amongst the tourist of Thailand. "Michael, Michael, Michael... tell me about the Lady...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (2.0/5)
$36.72
Legend of Kremlin
(70cl, 40%)
Legend of the Kremlin vodka is superbly well packaged, super-premium Russian vodka made from top quality grains and soft spring water. It is actually supplied to the Russian parliament, such is the...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$49.85
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