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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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Glen's Vodka 35cl
(35cl, 37.50%)
A half bottle of Glen's Vodka, a Scottish vodka distilled from sugar beet. It's not going to win any medals, but it is very cheap.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (2.5/5)
$12.39
Smirnoff Red Vodka 35cl
(35cl, 37.50%)
A half bottle of Smirnoff Red. Three times distilled and ten times filtered for greater purity.  More info
$13.90
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 (3.5/5)
$20.42
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
$21.27
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
$22.54
Vladivar Imperial
(70cl, 37.50%)
Vladivar is a Scottish vodka made by Whyte and Mackay. It is triple distilled and charcoal filtered.  More info
$22.59
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)
$23.74
Smirnoff Red Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
Smirnoff Red is triple distilled and ten times filtered for purity. This is the world's best selling vodka.  More info
$24.69
Moskova Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
A beautiful Russian vodka made from the very best grains and demineralised water. A great all-rounder, Moskova is a great mixer…  More info
$25.38
Russian Standard
(70cl, 40%)
Russian Standard vodka has been distilled to the Tsar's "premium quality standard" since 1894. It is a classic Russian vodka.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$25.69
Luksusowa Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A very tasty and very creamy triple distilled vodka from Poland, made from Potatoes. Its name, Luksusowa, is Polish for "luxury vodka", so you know it's good.  More info
$25.94
Stolichnaya Red Label
(70cl, 40%)
The classic Stolichnaya Red Label vodka, filtered three times, once with quartz, then charcoal and then quartz again for a pure but original flavour profile.  More info
$26.02
Raspberry Vodka
(50cl, 22%)
A fruity vodka from Scots Cheer. This is smooth grain vodka infused with raspberries.  More info
$26.76
Kirov Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
This is a bottle of Kirov Vodka, which is made in England, presumably in the style of Russian vodka.  More info
$26.86
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
$26.94
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)
$27.32
Odessa Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
Odessa Vodka is a Ukrainian style vodka, named after the major seaport city in the south of the country. For extra purity, the vodka is filtered, and then filtered again, and then once more. Third...  More info
$27.43
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 (4.0/5)
$27.66
Wyborowa Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
The popular Polish vodka, Wyborowa, is made from rye, and it is twice distilled in pot stills. The name Wyborowa is polish for "Selected", so it must be good.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$28.04
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)
$28.04
Smirnoff Green Apple
(70cl, 37.50%)
Crisp, fruity version of Smirnoff. This is made using pot-distilled spirit, filtered through seven tons of charcoal, before it is naturally flavoured with green apple.  More info
$28.32
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
$28.32
New Amsterdam Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
New Amsterdam Vodka comes from the US of A and is five times distilled and triple filtered to achieve the desired purity of flavour and mouth feel. It takes its name from the history of New York, when...  More info
$28.83
Green Mark Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
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
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$28.96
A lower ABV bottling of Green Mark Vodka, a classic Russian spirit which bears the green mark used by the Glavspirttrest between the 1920s and 1950s as a sign of excellence and a seal of approval.  More info
$28.96
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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.