Gin Reviews

New Amsterdam

new-amsterdam-bottleThe discussion around it on the internet seems to be alike “gin snobs don’t like it because of its citrus-forward approach. I’d like to dispel that notion first and foremost. The citrus-forward perspective is NOT a reason unto itself. Here at The Gin is IN we’ve prided ourselves in reviewing contemporary style gins as spirits worthy of discussion on their own merits. We don’t penalize spirits for having a different take on gin. Lacking in juniper alone is not grounds for a bad review.

This is a re-write of an earlier review I did of New Amsterdam Gin. I feel like in reading some of my writing from the beginning of the blog I didn’t give the gins as thorough of a treatment as my later ones. Given the enduring popularity of this gin, I’ve been dying to give it a proper review and treatment. The original version of this was written in 2010. So for 2015, I’m going to give New Amsterdam a second chance. A clean slate as you will. I’m going to review this gin as if I had never reviewed it. Without further ado, let’s begin as we begin every other review here.

Story in <100 Words

Launched in 2007 New Amsterdam Gin was right at the fore of the Contemporary Gin explosion stateside. Combined with an aggressive marketing presence throughout the last decade. New Amsterdam or “New-Am” has won over quite a following. Priced at an affordable point and curated with a citrus-forward perspective, it (especially at the time) was unlike anything else available. Accessible and smooth, it has won people over and endures despite never being quite afforded the same esteem (by gin and cocktail experts at least) that enduring favorites like Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater Tanqueray, or Gordon’s have. Why is that?

Tasting Notes

The nose is immediately recognizable as citrus-forward. Light lemon, candied orange, herbaceous juniper hovers at the fringes, with even a slight note of angelica in the lower notes. It’s aroma is citrus-forward but not to the exclusion of other touches.

The palate is a citrus bomb however. Perky citrus, a smidge of lemon oil, candied orange rinds, orange slice candy, and an interesting lime/orange shift right in the mids. There’s a hint of ethanol during this mid-palate lull, which segues into a burst of citrus candy, lime/orange/lemon skittles primarily. The finish is short to moderate in length, with mostly citrus. The citrus dominates the palate, almost completely to the exclusion of any other notes.

new-amsterdam-spread

Cocktails

The Gin and Tonic, which seems to be the most popular New Amsterdam Gin cocktail doesn’t hide the reasons why: clear and bright, it tastes like an orange led gin and tonic with a touch of lime towards the finish just out of the bottle. Perhaps a bit cloying, or to its critics, more like an orange flavored vodka, but it’s not hard to see how this could win people over.

I tried it in a Bees’ Knees. Although I liked the way the real citrus rounded out the gin’s flavor profile, warming up the citrus touch with some acidic and tart touches which lifted it, I found it overall to be lacking. I was looking for something more. The gin seemed to be a sleeping giant, relegated to the background. Anyway, honeyed citrus salad, fresh lemon, and a clean, crisp finish. Drinkable, but the gin isn’t doing much for it.

Next, I tried a Negroni. The short answer is dial it up to a 2 parts to 1 part Sweet and 1 part Campari minimum if you want to taste any of the gin. It was completely obscured, and didn’t add anything to the cocktail.

Old Mr Boston Bartender Guide CoverCocktail Resurrectionist

Going back to the Old Mr. Boston Bartender’s Guide, we found a cocktail to try New Amsterdam Gin out with. Interestingly, I’d imaging that a modern day Blue Devil Cocktail might use Blue Curacao instead of blue food coloring, we went with the original [and not that we needed another citrus note here, really]

1934 Mr Boston - Blue Devil Cocktail

 

 

Cherry and lemon [predictably] on the nose. The cocktail itself isn’t too bad. It’s really just an Aviation variation without any Creme de Violette [the blue food coloring getting it there]. The ratios aren’t as gin-forward as perhaps the cocktail might necessitate, with the gin getting absolutely pummeled [yes, even here!], and not able to rise above a background whisper. My concern with this drink is the same concern I have with New Amsterdam in other cocktails: that when paired with citrus the real fruit overwhelms the artificial. But really? That might sound like a good thing. Except that’s all this gin is bringing to the party. If you want that lemon and orange candy flavor, you want a drink you can taste it in. This isn’t it.

Though I don’t think this cocktail is completely irredeemable. It’s certainly middling, but the combination of cherry, lemon, and gin works well enough together to warrant a closer look. Maybe try another gin.

Parting Thoughts

Concluding, New Amsterdam isn’t a below-average gin because of its citrus flavor. It’s a below average gin because the citrus notes in it don’t taste real or authentic. They taste like artificial citrus essences being added after distillation. Or alternatively, perhaps they are real, but New Amsterdam adds too much sugar post-distillation.

The gins that New Amsterdam most closely reminds me of are Asian gins such as Myanmar Dry Gin (). Moreso than citrus-forward distilled gins such as Larios 12 (), Bluecoat (), Pinckney Bend (), Black Button’s Citrus Forward Gin, Chase’s Orange Flavored Gin, etc. If you like citrus-forward gin, there’s a lot of gins which bring that flavor to the party, but do so through distillation alone and don’t add flavors/sweetening post-distillation.

I think my objection to New Amsterdam is that the citrus tastes artificial and fake. Citrus and gin go hand in hand. But fake citrus is not a flavor I particularly like in my cocktails or drinks.

So certainly, if you love this gin, by all means continue to enjoy it. But I’d like to encourage you to try any of these gins mentioned above or any future gins we may suggest which are citrus forward.

Thanks for reading and keep enjoying gin, whether you agree with me or not.

Vitals

Price: $10 / 750 mL
Proof: 80
Distiller: New Amsterdam Spirits
Origin: California, United States
Availability: Across the United States
Rating: Juniper is an afterthought, but that’s not really this gin’s primary issue. Fake citrus flavors abound. It’s accessible, but the fake citrus is what helps it read more as a citrus-flavored-vodka than a citrus-flavored-gin. It’s a inexpensive gin that will have fans of classic style gins crying “uncle.” Fans of contemporary gins may find something to like here, but seasoned gin drinkers will likely have already found a gin of this style that does it with a little more grace and without the cloying sweet notes. Hard to recommend, especially so in 2015.   (1.5/5)

 

Share This!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

34 thoughts on “New Amsterdam

    Auntie Agent

    Tried it once and never again. It lacks any body and had vanilla notes. Definitely, not something gin should have. Its price continually drops at BevMor.

    daniel

    bought a bottle and poured a chilled bit over a few olives. Sat back, took a sip and spit ip out. Way too much orange for a gin, really just a flavored vodka.

    fsc

    I have to agree with Auntie and daniel. I hated this so-called gin. Recommended at my favorite liquor store as one of the most “drinkable” low-cost gins. It does not taste like gin to me: I could find no juniper, which is an appealing, compelling, necessary aspect of what I expect and cherish in my gin.

    Murray

    I drink a coule of gin and tonic most nights of the week. Sure it has a citrus taste but that’s why we normaly add the lime! I actually love this gin. It’s simple and a little tangy also at a very reasonable price. At my stage in life I can afford to drink any gin I want to but I am also a scots man! And this works for me.

    Mike

    I tried this “gin” a few years ago, too. I failed to detect any juniper at all. If someone had served it to me on the rocks, or mixed with a little bit of club soda, I would have assumed that it orange vodka. Tasty orange vodka. Lousy gin. :-)

    MDubs

    Too sweet, metallic, and lime makes it worse. Will never get it again.

    Spike

    In addition to too much work, 2013 has been a great year in that I have been conducting a lot of “research” about which gins please me. I must say that New Amsterdam was one of my least favorite. In fact, as others have said, it tastes like flavored vodka. What was even worse, at least for me, was that the orange flavor tasted very artificial, almost like cheap hard orange candy. So if I were ordering a lower priced gin, I would look elsewhere.

    Petulant Frenzy

    No juniper at all. It hardly even tastes distilled with actual plant material. Rather it tastes like a vodka that has been artificially flavored with orange essence. And at that, the orange essence tastes synthetic.Thats the nose. The neutral spirit is clean and does not have any off residual flavors of the GMO corn it was probably produced with.

    Ben D

    This was the gin that convinced me that I preferred “traditional” London style dry gin. Awful. Luckily I bought a mini-bottle to sample. Had I paid for the 750ml bottle, even at it’s bargain price, I would’ve been mad at myself. If price is a concern, I’d go with the Gordon’s every time.

    Aaron

    Ben I completely understand. I’d hope you wouldn’t write off non-traditional gin on the basis of just this one. It’s not really a good example of the style, and definitely doesn’t do justice to the distillers who try to create new flavors while keeping juniper in the background. This is a gin for folks who don’t like gin, plain and simple.

    Cheers,
    Aaron

    Aaron

    Spike, thanks for the comment. I think you’re right. It is probably closer to vodka than it is to gin. Among lower priced gins, it’s probably the only one that embraces a note other than juniper-forward, but I don’t think that really justifies it fully. It could be better, and many gins have done well going full-force with the orange note. But not quite here.

    Ethan C.

    Well, let me be the one person who actually likes this gin. It makes a very good martini — though better with a lemon twist than an olive, to complement its citrusy flavor. In my opinion, it’s unbeatable for its price point. And I agree with the review, that it’s more accessible than other cheap gins, which basically just taste like juniper and alcohol and nothing else.

    notgoingtorememberthis

    THAT’S THE POINT! THERE IS BARELY ANY JUNIPER! If we start defining gin by it’s juniper content, then we have become shallow “gin elitists.” Take it for what it is and get over yourselves. If you don’t like it, don’t drink it. But don’t point out the obvious and call it a flaw.

    Dan

    Marvelous; absolutely loved it.

    Marc

    I’ve always liked gin, and tangueray was my go to. I’m 30, somewhat inexperienced with the stuff and new tangueray was decent (as per Snoop Dogg). so, I was low 9 funds one day and saw this New Amsterdam stuff. Is it Tangueray? No. Is it decent, at $20 for 1.75? Hell yeah! Great gin for a non-connoisseur light on funds.

    onsitestudios

    I had to buy a new bottle of Bombay Sapphire for the house. It was $40 for a 1.75 ml bottle and right next to it was New Amsterdam for half the money, so I bought both figuring someone will drink it when we have parties if we didn’t like it.
    My biggest fear before I tasted it was that it would be harsh or “oily”. If anything, I found it a bit “lacking”. It’s fine in a G&T. Yes, I prefer the Bombay or Hendricks (it was $55 for the 1.75 ml bottle).
    I’m going to put some of the New Amsterdam in a container and drop in a few juniper berries from the yard.
    Now all this talk of gin has me hankering for some nice, smokey single malt.

    John

    I’m bummed that I didn’t read these reviews earlier. My G&T tastes like an orange creamsicle:(
    Smells like it too. Has this awful artificial orange smell to it. Wish I hadn’t bought a 1.75l bottle of it. Should have followed my instinct when I read “modern American Gin”.
    Waste of money.
    It will just have to sit in my cupboard until I can pass it off at a party as a “generous” donation.

    Greg Cremer

    Wow! My favorite Gin reviled. I love, love, love Hendricks, and always have a bottle in my “private reserve”. But I find that New Amsterdam is a very refreshing after work gin with my favorite tonic water. I’ve always found it amusing that the “place your beverage, automobile, motorcycle, tourist-trap or what-have-you” snobs always have to try to polarize the rest of the public into thinking that somehow, thou art better than I. Well, if it it makes you feel better, fine, go for it. But snobs are snobs, and it appears that they abound. As a wise sage once said: “Opinions are like ass-holes, everyone has one”. That’s not to say that I found the review overly un-fair. It was a 2.5 out of 5 on the snob scale. But the comments that followed were like a bunch of lemmings headed for their top-shelf gin-induced dive off the snob cliff.
    Cheers!

    Bill

    Thanks for generating such a great discussion.

    I’m fairly new to cocktails and just getting my “feet wet.” I brought home a bottle of New Amsterdam this evening and we’re in the process of our own experimentation.

    The entire debate seems to focus on style. London dry vs. American. Historically I would agree with @Ben D but I’m willing to give New Amsterdam a stab. I’m not expecting Juniper, so we’ll see what happens.

    Cheers!

    Nick Maas

    I am a big fan of this gin, probably for the very reasons others dislike it. I am not a big fan of the juniper flavor, so this is perfect for my cocktails. I have tried other gins that are loved by gin drinkers and the difference really is obvious. I can respect that appreciation too. However, for my home bar, this is a regularly purchased brand.

    Btw. Thanks for the reviews and ideas on this blog. It is great fun to read.

    Blair

    this is a lovely G & T gin, smooth as silk with no rough edges. I like citrus notes and juniper is so 1910. A new world and a new gin! Vive Le difference!

    Brian

    To be honest New Amsterdam is one of my favorite gins second only to Hendricks and I like ot because it doesn’t taste like juniper if i wanted that i would buy tanqueray…

    Toadman

    Reading earlier comments, I think I get where everyone is coming from. As an emerging gin enthusiast, I bought a bottle because, frankly, buying Dorothy Parker or Miller or other favorites is not something I can sustain too regularly and still put my kids through college. I liked it at first – it was different, did seem to have a distinctive flavor, and was easy to take. However over time, I’m enjoying it less – I’m starting to find it a little bit cloying. I may go back to Seagram’s next for my cheap summer G&T’s, which used to be my go-to before I started becoming a gin snob. :-)

    Jane Paltz

    New Amsterdam gin is definitely not for martini drinkers. I always bought Tangueray from Costco and now they don’t carry it any longer and was told by an employee to try the “new popular gin” New Amsterdam, I bought a bottle and….it’s definitely is not for making a martini. Never thought I’d dump a martini but that is what i did!!

    Muireall Josie

    I wish I had read this blog before I “splurged” on a small bottle of New Amsterdam. No, no I don’t like it. I’ll drink the rest of it because I don’t believe in waste. And if my research is correct, I don’t think I’ll be liking any American gin, but just to be democratic I’ll try them.

    Toadman

    No, don’t give up on American gins please. While I am rather lukewarm on some (Bluecoat and Green Hat come to mind, despite what seems to be critical acclaim), I adore Dorothy Parker and it’s amped-up cousin Perry’s Tot Navy Strength from New York Distilling.

    OnSiteStudios (@OnSiteStudios)

    Not to stray from the subject too far, there is a tiny, American distillery in Gloucester, MA that makes an interesting gin. http://ryanandwood.com/products.html

    Aaron

    I know some people talk about American Gin as if it were a category- it’s a region, rather than a style. Please don’t let one bad experience, like New Amsterdam turn you off from hundreds of gins, some quite excellent:

    If you’re a fan of the slightly more traditional in gins, try Halcyon Gin from Seattle; Denver Dry Gin from Mile High in Denver [both very classic]

    http://theginisin.com/gin-reviews/denver-dry-gin/
    http://theginisin.com/gin-reviews/halcyon-organic-distilled-gin/

    Or for something classically inspired, but very American in execution, try St. George’s Terroir.

    http://theginisin.com/gin-reviews/st-george-terroir/

    Or as the above poster said, there’s also Dorothy Parker (as the above poster said), I absolutely love it. Recently entered my top 10.

    http://theginisin.com/gin-reviews/dorothy-parker-gin/

    Muireall- what is your go-to gin?

    Tom Munyon

    This gin is perfect for a Negroni. I like the fact that it doesn’t stampede the palate with a ten foot juniper. The juniper is there, but it is subtle, which isn’t easy for such a distinctive and dominant berry. I like New Amsterdam and I suspect if it were three times the price the gin snobs would be raving.

    sherri siedschlag

    read some of the reviews , don’t know what they are talking about when they say Amsterdam is not good. i love it. when i go out and have a gin and tonic I ask if they have Amsterdam and if they say no i tell them they need to get it in their bars and restaurants. it is that good.

    Ann E.

    Try Roundhouse from Boulder CO. Awesome!

    Jake

    look at the double blinds awards its won obv cannot be as bad as you make it out to be, 90-95 pts consistantly. while I agree its low on juniper its due to the presence of more citrus not a lack of juniper, the ‘fake’ orange you are tasting is in fact the juniper mixing with citrus. I put it close to the rangpaur style tanq but cheaper smoother and more citron than lime.

  1. [...] following the recipe I discussed in part 1 can be summed up thusly. When sitting on a table next to New Amsterdam Gin, Tru2 Organic Gin, and Gabriel Boudier’s Saffron Gin -my friends drank my homemade [...]

  2. [...] Reviews of American Gin: New Amsterdam: Modesto, California Tru2: Monrovia, [...]

Leave a Reply

Flavor Profile

Juniper Spice Heat Citrus Floral What is this?

Your Score vs Ours

1.5/5, our score

Buy?

Price: $10 / 750 mL