Flavoured vodkas have only recently become fashionable, but the earliest vodkas were always flavoured, though that was entirely due to necessity. When commercial distillation got underway, during the 14-15th centuries, the original technology was obviously crude, and distillers lacked the ability to rectify ('purify') the spirit.
An excellent sweet tea infused vodka, made at the Firefly distillery on Wadmalaw Island in South Carolina and perfect for long drinks. Distilled four times, the spirit is infused with tea grown just five miles from the distillery and then blended with sugar cane from Louisiana.
Flavoured with pear, strawberry and mint, Aivy (pronounced 'eye-vee') has a tasty complexity of flavour and is best served well chilled, in Caiparoskas, or on the rocks. 'French Bay' vodka is a translation of Franska Bukten in Stockholm, where creators Cariel came up with Aivy.
Launched in August 2013, Stolichnaya Salted Caramel combines their vodka combined with buttery caramel and a hint of salt. This release adds to the recent trend of combining salt and caramel flavours - long known to chefs, especially those in France and America. The combination has now become mainstream, in part due to Mr Blumenthal.
"We force bees to exclusively collect raw materials from the fragrant blossoms of the Manuka tree, to produce a rich Manuka Honey essence which is then infused into pure 42 Below vodka. These bees don't really get paid and often die on the job". More gems like this on wwww.42below.com - highly recommended.
Perhaps unsurprising that a New Zealand vodka would be the first to come up with a kiwi flavoured variant. This is good stuff made with an all-natural production method, with no additives or artificial flavourings.
Pincer is a 100% grain vodka, made with Scottish mountain water and flavoured with botanical extacts of Milk Thistle (believed to aid the liver, although possibly not in this guise) and Wild Elderflower. Sounds intriguing.
Alchemia Imbirowa is a very premium Polish rye vodka infused with Imbirowa - the Polish word for natural ginger root. Note that this is a natural infusion/macreation rather than simply adding essences, extracts or other flavourings. Amazing packaging on this range.
Created by Mark Douglas Hill, Bloodshot Vodka spirit is distilled from wheat, firstly in the UK's tallest tower still and then in a copper pot still that's over 100 years old. Botanicals including chipotle chillies, black pepper, lemon peel and cayenne pepper are macerated in the vodka for 36 hours. This, when blended with lemon, lime, Worcestershire sauce and Port, result in a spicy and fiery drink.