Smooth and luxurious, our Vodka Liqueurs have won big at the Taste of the West awards, and are crafted using the highest quality local ingredients. We have delicious flavours, including Cherry, Chocolate and Toffee and Caramel, but have you ever wondered about vodka’s simple beginnings? Well, we’re here to tell you its story. 


The origin of vodka is contentious and foggy. Different varieties of the drink come from Sweden, Poland, Russia and more, with each country claiming that the drink was first distilled there. 

What we do know is this. We get the word “vodka” from the Slavic voda, which literally translates as water. Many people, in turn, believe that this comes from the Latin aqua vitae. If you have read our other blogs in this series, you may recognise the term from The Story of Gin, which you can read here. Aqua vitae or vita, meaning “water of life”, came to be used for any strong alcoholic beverages in the Middle Ages. From this, it is believed that vodka originated in the Middle Ages, if not earlier, in a region known as The Vodka Belt.

The Vodka Belt

There are numerous “belts” across Europe; places in which varieties of alcohol are distilled. These include the wine belt of southern Europe, the beer belt which includes the UK, and the largest of them all, the vodka belt. The vodka belt contains a group of countries in northern Europe and Scandinavia, including Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland.

This area became known as the vodka belt, as opposed to other alcohols, because temperatures are too cold to grow grapes for wine. Vodka here is most commonly made from grains or potatoes, with distilleries in the area insisting that vodkas are only made using these or sugar beet molasses, to honour traditional production methods. This request led to the Vodka War between the vodka belt and the European Union. It was settled when both parties compromised, allowing vodkas to be made with other ingredients as long as this was clearly stated.

Shaken, Not Stirred

Vodka was traditionally a drink for the lower classes, who preferred drinking alcoholic beverages to water, as the process of distilling removed harmful bacteria and disease. Throughout the vodka belt, the drink is traditionally served neat. 

Today, vodka is used far more widely. It is a common mixer in some of the world’s most famous cocktails, including Cosmopolitans, Bloody Marys and James Bond’s tipple of choice, the Vodka Martini. Vodka can even be used in cooking, and is popular in puddings, with seafood and most famously pasta alla vodka, a deliciously creamy tomato sauce. 

Vodka at Monarch

So there you have it. A condensed history of vodka. Why not browse our shop for a delicious vodka and see what it inspired you to create?

Cherry Vodka Liqueur

With a dark, fruity and intensely rich, it’s no wonder our Cherry Liqueur won Silver at the Taste of the West awards. Blended in the Tamar valley using natural and locally sourced ingredients, this smooth liqueur is perfect added to a glass of champagne or prosecco, or as a delicious and indulgent accompaniment to a slice of gateau. 

Chocolate Vodka Liqueur

The Chocolate Vodka Liqueur is the ultimate people pleaser. Rich and indulgent, it can be enjoyed in a myriad of ways; neat, in cocktails, hot chocolates and with desserts. Blended to perfection in small batches, this is the perfect treat for someone special or just yourself!

Toffee & Caramel Vodka Liqueur

Fancy something a little sweeter? Dark brown sugar gives this liqueur its caramel flavour, with rich and buttery background notes. While we think it’s perfect neat or adding some punch to a coffee, why don’t you try inventing your own Toffee & Caramel cocktail?


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