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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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St George Spirits
Absolut Berry Acai
(70cl, 40%)
Absolut have launched this wonderful fruit-flavoured vodka made with Acai Berries. All jokes aside, this stuff is lovely, and it's made with European and North American blueberries, and Southwest...  More info
$31.20
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)
$27.30
Ciroc Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Ciroc is a five times distilled French vodka made with grapes that are harvested when frozen. This is a very fancy and chic premium vodka.  More info
$51.41
Broken Shed Vodka, which has since graduated from actually being made in a shed, is a premium vodka from New Zealand. It is made from whey spirit and natural spring water from the Southern Alps - and...  More info
$59.61
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)
$39.50
Absolut Citron
(70cl, 40%)
A citrus flavoured Swedish vodka, Absolut Citron is flavoured with lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit.  More info
$29.82
Smirnoff Espresso
(70cl, 37.50%)
Coffee Vodka. Mmmmmm.  More info
$37.87
Eristoff Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
A triple distilled Georgian vodka, named after Prince Eristoff, and based on his personal recipe, created in 1806.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$23.11
Absolut Level Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Level is Absolut's ultra premium vodka, it was launched in 2004 and is made from winter wheat. It is incredibly smooth, and was launched as a direct competitor to France's popular Grey Goose.  More info
$45.85
Cleveland Bay is a proudly British artisan vodka made to rival vodkas from Eastern Europe. Made using British potatoes, along with other fantastic ingredients from our lovely island, Cleveland Bay...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$71.08
A South African vodka, distilled from molasses. Mainstay was awarded the Vodka Trophy at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in 2007.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$33.60
Stolichnaya Razberi
(70cl, 37.50%)
Stoli Razberri is Russian vodka distilled from wheat and flavoured with raspberries.  More info
$30.02
Roberto Cavalli Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Yep, that's right. Roberto Cavalli. The Fashion Designer. Can't really be bothered to finish this tasting note, I think I'm just going to hop in my car (upholstered by Benjamin Netanyahu), and drive...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$72.65
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
$93.64
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
$54.39
Wratislavia Vodka
(50cl, 40%)
Don't you just love when a bottle is as beautiful as the spirit inside it? Wratislavia Vodka is a well made Polish vodka, filtered many times to obtain a pure, elegant palate. As if that wasn't enough...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$50.88
Finlandia Grapefruit
(70cl, 37.50%)
This Finnish vodka offers the subtle tanginess of fresh grapefruit, which makes it a wonderful addition to many cocktails.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$29.57
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
$93.21
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
$142.40
Wokka Fusion Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Wokka fusion vodka is a small batch vodka mixed with fine imported Japanese sake, and flavoured with Asian fruits.  More info
$60.17
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
$54.35
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
$46.69
Stolichnaya Vanil
(70cl, 37.50%)
Stoli Vanil is a vanilla flavoured vodka from Stolichnaya. Distilled from winter wheat and made with glacial water, it is flavoured with Madagascan and Indonesian vanilla beans.  More info
$30.02
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
$20.71
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
$30.13
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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.