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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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Vestal Rye Vodka 2009
(70cl, 40%)
A 2009 vintage rye-based vodka from Poland, distilled from top quality Polish grains and pure water from the east of the country. Great when used as a base for a fruity punch.  More info
$54.55
An almost surreally old bottling of Sibirskaia Vodka from the 1950s.  More info
$121.73
You read that right. It's rhubarb vodka from Hereford's finest vodka distillery, Chase. You know how much you like it in a crumble, now try the vodka. Or maybe combine the two... now there's an idea...  More info
User Rating:  (2 Reviews)
$53.30
Lemon Vodka from 1979 - by Nikolai. Or for Nikolai. It's unclear.  More info
$112.37
This is a very tall, slender bottle of Caviar House Acquarium Vodka from the 2000s.  More info
$74.91
Wyborowa Apple Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Wyborowa Apple is a Polish vodka made using Rajskie apples, which are known for their sweet and juicy flavour. Great with cranberry juice or in a vodka mojito.  More info
$28.14
This is a very rare 1980s bottling of the renowned Russian vodka Stolichnaya. It was distilled from wheat and rye and has a very good flavour.  More info
$74.91
A classic Russian vodka from Stolichnaya. This is distilled from winter wheat and is filtered through quartz and charcoal, then quartz once more.  More info
User Rating:  (3 Reviews)
$29.89
This spirit from Berry Good has been flavoured with strawberries for a natural and delicious flavour.  More info
$35.55
Akvinta Organic Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A delicious Croatian vodka, triple-distilled in Italy using Italian wheat. This is then filtered through charcoal, marble, silver, gold and platinum. You can almost taste the deliciously/almost...  More info
$47.84
This was launched in 1994, and is made with real cranberries for a tangy, fresh flavour which makes it a great addition to many cocktails.  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
$28.40
Produced by Licores Veracruz Distillers in Cordoba, Villa Lobos Platinum vodka is distilled to 55% abv, and it's very tasty indeed - full of character!  More info
$43.68
The word Stolichnaya translates as 'capital city' and the logo features a famous Moscow landmark. This bottling dates from the 1970s.  More info
$112.37
Rhubarb is not only added for the final distillation but is then subsequently macerated in the final distillate, which is where the tremendous pink hue comes from. Yummers!

We're still waiting for...  More info
$55.61
This bottle of Vodka Dobra, made by Riccadonna at some point between 1949 and 1959, is absolutely ancient but very well preserved.  More info
$140.46
Made in Russia, Imperial Golden Snow is a super-premium vodka made with the pure, glacial water of Lake Ladoga. It is produced with a 12-stage purification process, and even comes with flakes of real...  More info
$60.87
Debowa Premium Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Made with natural plant extracts, Debowa Premium is a top-quality Polish vodka which comes packaged in a smart oak-themed bottle! Very good stuff.  More info
$55.48
This is a tasty and highly collectible Russian vodka. Krepkaya is actually the Russian term to describe vodkas of 56%abv and over - just like this one. Very good in cocktails.  More info
$112.37
Absolut Unique
(70cl, 40%)
Absolut Unique is a superb special edition Swedish vodka, so-named for the fact that each bottle is unique - painted with different shapes and colours.

NB. As the name suggests, each bottle is...  More info
$33.16
The English Vodka Company makes its raspberry vodka very simply: freshly picked fruit, washed and placed in a bottle full of 37.5% English Spirit Vodka. Then nature is left to take its course...  More info
$43.70
This English vodka is flavoured by infusing and also re-distilling the vodka with Colombian coffee beans to create a vodka with a distinct coffee aroma and flavour.  More info
$45.48
Batch 6 of the always scrummy Case Rhubarb Vodka, made by adding the pink fruit/vegetable/whatever rhubarb is to the final distillation and macerate it in the final distillate.

We're still no...  More info
$55.61
42 Below Kiwi Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
42 Below is a New Zealand vodka flavoured with the native fruit, Kiwi. The result is a great mixing spirit with a tangy, peppery, fruity taste.  More info
$35.08
The 5th batch of Chase Rhubarb Vodka, made by adding rhubarb for the final distillation and macerating it in the final distillate to give it a wonderful pink colour.  More info
User Rating:  (2 Reviews)
$67.58
A 50cl bottle of Chopin's delicious rye vodka and it comes with a traditional vodka glass for enjoying it! A great gift.  More info
$52.81

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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.