User Review( votes)
Is New Amsterdam Gin among the very best at a secretly, low price? If you read my review on Taaka Gin and the Dirty Martini, you know that it takes more than price and prestige to get me to buy a bottle of Gin. Taaka Gin is by far the cheapest you can buy, yet by the time you add olive juice, tonic, vermouth or whatever else it is that you mix with your gin, the quality and smoothness of the raw flavor becomes less important, and the savings more substantial. Taaka is pretty good gin even straight from the bottle, but for the price, I always thought it was unbeatable. That is, until I found New Amsterdam. What makes New Amsterdam unique?
New Amsterdam Gin Taste Test
Don’t let the attractive bottle fool you. New Amsterdam tastes even better than it looks. Unlike, the cheap, $7.99 per 1.75-Liter, plastic Taaka Gin packaging, New Amsterdam actually comes in an attractive, geometrically-sophisticated, diamond glass bottle that would make Bombay Sapphire drinkers jealous. Inside the bottle is a majestic view of the Empire State building. The back of the bottle explains that New York City was once called, New Amsterdam, thus the reason for the name. If you can get by the fact it’s actually bottled and manufactured in Modesto, CA, it all makes perfect sense. Well, okay – probably, about as much sense as how a gin so affordable and tasty is made in the U.S at all, instead of London or France. I twisted off the silver cap and poured a splash into my bare martini glass and sniffed. Nothing about the aroma suggested that I was about to taste the best gin I ever had. It smelled clean and juniper-like, as you would expect from any decent bottle of gin. The unique surprise came when I brought the glass to my lips and let the first sip of gin moisten my tongue. I was immediately greeted to a first-taste that was so unusually clean, fruity and pleasant that I had to examine the branding on the bottle again, just to make sure it was gin and only gin that I was tasting and not one of those fruit-flavored liquors that are so popular. The bottle confirmed that New Amsterdam Gin is infused with some botanicals, which explains the subtle, fruity overtones. My taste buds were unable to offer even a slight clue as to why I was suspicious in the first place. Upon taking a second sip, the clean, smooth fruitiness of the juniper berry was the only flavor I could distinctly name, yet there was a bit of a very pleasant citrus hint to it. Yet, unlike even the best quality gins, there was not that initial bite and reminder that it would take a few sips of getting used to. At once I knew, there would be no reason for vermouth or anything else to tame the flavor. The flavor is so easy, smooth and likable that the last thing I would want to do is mix it with anything. I shook it lightly in my stainless steel shaker with a few fresh ice cubes and poured it into my martin glass. I dropped in a couple of olives, careful not to let any excess olive juice taint this gin’s excellent flavor. My wife, who is not a martini drinker asked for me to mix her some with lime, so I obliged. She immediately liked it to. As I sipped on my martini with my new favorite gin, I told her that for the first time ever, I’ve found a reason to no longer buy $9.00 a bottle Taaka. Unlike other straight liquor, the first sip of New Amsterdam gin tastes every bit as good as the 2nd, 3rd….and last. It’s really that good. If there is one critical piece of feedback I might offer about New Amsterdam gin is that it does lean a little bit towards the sweet side, compared to other gins. However, it is certainly not to be confused with other gin alcohol which is infused with fruit to make it sweeter. For example, Damson Gin which is a very popular, sweet liqueur from macerated plums and sugar. For a more exotic example, Hendrick’s Gin is a small-batch, handcrafted gin from Scotland which is infused with cucumber and rose petals. New Amsterdam is neither pretends to be like a Hendrick’s Gin or Damson Gin. It is simply a very smooth gin with subtle overtones of citrus fruit. Since I’m mixing it, I don’t have a problem with it – and I am certainly not one who favors sweet drinks. So what does a great bottle of gin like this cost?
New Amsterdam Pricing
I paid $16.99 for a 1.75 liter bottle at my local liquor store in the Costco shopping center. This was not a sale price, but their everyday price!
While the cost is nearly double my standby favorite, Taaka, it is easily worth it. I would gladly by one bottle of this to two bottles of Taaka, even with the economy the way it is. Afterall, it beats the heck out of a $33.00 bottle of Bombay Sapphire. Life is too short not enjoy something so good that is so reasonably priced.
- Taste: 95
- Price: 90
- Value: 95
- Overall: 93
I agree that New Amsterdam is a good deal considering that it is the same price as Seagram’s and the sort. I’d say that it is a great gin those who aren’t gin drinkers. The flavor excessively fruity, very citrusy and so smooth that it lacks the balls that a great gin should have. The only way to drink it is on the rocks as adding vermouth or tonic makes it entirely too sweet. If you want a great gin at a great price, drink Broker’s. Only a few bucks more and far, far superior to New Amsterdam. That is, if you are a gin drinker.
Thanks for the comments:
I Should have mentioned, that Amsterdam does include some botanicals and citrus which give it that distinctive, but subtle fruity taste. It’s not a pure gin product, but for Martini Drinkers, I recommend making them straight, shaken with ice and with no vermouth.
For a stronger, more traditional Gin, that is half the price of Amsterdam, see my review on Taaka:
let me know how this compares to Brokers.
great writing on the review. People amaze me that that are brainwashed into buying expensive gin, making a dirty martini, then feeling smug that they having better taste than me, who drinks inexpensive gin in a true martini ( that is, actually putting some GOOD dry vermouth in it). Vermouth is by far more cost dependant than gin is because it is actually WINE. I used to be a distiller, gin is simply flavored vodka, no more , no less…
Having said that, New Ansterdam is too sweet and fruity to be REAL gin, the kind that smacks you in the face and says “GIN, FOOL!!!!!!”
Taaka is like Gordons, acceptable, but smoother because they cut corners on the botanicals to achieve the price point. its like drinking 50/50 gin and vodka. thats not a bad thing, Gin is a seriously acquired taste, not for everyone.
My fave is Beefeater, 94 proof, way too many botanicals for most civilians ( think “Victory Gin”), and crazy flavor, long lasting on the palate..20 bucks per 1.75 liter@ BevMo… its actually worth the price hike due to the quality
keep up the good work
You are obviously a man who knows a little about Gin. The more I drink the New Amsterdam, the more I agree with your complaint about it being overly sweet. True, it is not a ‘smash-mouth gin’ at all. I agree with you 100% on Beefeater.
But with a couple of tablespoons of olive juice….? Hmmm..What’s the point?
I used to be a Bombay Sapphire girl, but I’ve switched to the New Amsterdam Gin. I love the citrus flavor. I don’t find it sweet at all, but nice and smooth.
Beefeaters is fine gin too.
I typically drink my gin straight, shaken with crushed ice. Olives make it special. I can’t call it a martini though because I don’t use any vermouth in my gin. I only use vermouth if I’m using vodka.
Thanks for the comments, Emily.
I know lots of people who drink gin martinis without vermouth and still call them, gin martinis. I had a boss many years ago that would drink straight bombay sapphire up with two olives. He asked for a martini when he ordered, without vermouth. Many bartenders if you ask for a dry gin martini, will simply wet the glass with the vermouth and pour it out.
New Amsterdam straight up with just a the natural juice that comes from the olives seems like the perfect compromise. I’m glad someone else besides me recognizes what a great value New Amsterdam is even if not’s the best gin or the perfect gin-drinkers gin.
At any rate, cheers!
I have to agree with the comments by Monggee and ted grant. I’ve been a Beefeater extra dry Martini man for several years now (in my opinion it’s superior to Bombay Sapphire in a true Martini, i.e., one with vermouth). But I bought the New Amsterdam on a whim, seeing it was half the price of Beefeater’s here in Pennsylvania (can’t get Taaka here, by the way). The first sip really set me back–very citrusy, too much so for me. It doesn’t work well with my bleu cheese stuffed olives. I’m trying a second one now, without any vermouth (Martini & Rossi), per your advice, but still too citrusy. I’ll grant that it is nicely smooth, and can see it being very easy to drink for those who like this flavor. Just not my cup of tea I guess. (Sort of like the difference between Angostura bitters and Peychaud’s bitters–you either like one or the other in your Manhattan.) I imagine the New Amsterdam could make a luscious gin and tonic come summertime.
The novelty of New Amsterdam has worn off for me too. When I want a good martini, I would prefer even a bargain, original gin like Burnett’s over the citrus taste of New Amsterdam. Don’t get me wrong, New Amsterdam is a good tasting liquor that will appeal to a large variety of cocktail drinkers, but a purist looking for a martini will want a good gin without the added botanical s. I must also add that nothing beats the warm buzz that you get from a good gin martini. Vodka just isn’t the same.
An ‘In & Out’ Martini…even with scotch in place of vermouth (which is actually a wine base w/botanicals) hits a high mark with New Amsterdam Gin.
Hendricks, M. Miller’s & Tang-10 rate high in my book!
Up until last year, I usually drank Bombay Sapphire when visiting the USA. It’s a lovely treat for me as it’s so cheap compared to England. However I love trying different gins and if they’re cheap and good, even better. When I first tried New Amsterdam, I couldn’t believe it was that good for the money. Just as well I don’t live in the US full time….
I agree that it’s not a purist’s gin and has a taste you’ll either love or hate. You’re right though, it makes a lovely refreshing G&T in the summer (well anytime if you’re me).
Found this site while trying to find New Amsterdam in England. Great review!
Thank you for your comments and participating in our gin discussion, Anna. I still think New Amsterdam makes a pretty good gin martini, shaken and served straight with two olives. I kind of tire of the sweetness after a while and that’s when I reach for the bargain gin, Taaka – either that or I’ll make Vodka martinis for a while. I’m about to post an article about a really good vodka I’ve discovered. Thanks again.
I am 62 and have been drinking gin for about 20 years. I enjoy all the top brands, except Tanqueray Ten. Beefeaters and regular Bombay were my favorites. I tried New Amsterdam about 2 years ago and I got hooked. I really enjoy the different taste. Just curious on what Costco sells New Amsterdam. I think your review was very fair but I would have rated it just a tad higher. Thanks,
Thanks a lot, Alan. Your comments on New Amsterdam Gin are very much appreciated. I think the main reason I don’t rate New Amsterdam higher is for purists reasons. It’s not 100% gin. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, if you enjoy it! I paid around $17-$18 for New Amsterdam at the liquor store near my Costco. Note, this is not actually a Costco Liquor store. It is outside of the Costco, and you do not need a membership card. Obviously, Costco had something to do with the store because their prices are very competitive. A word about Bombay – I believe Bombay Sapphire is the most over-rated gin on the market. I’ve tasted it side-by-side with some very cheap gins like Taaka and it is very harsh.
Amsterdam seems to be hard to get hold of in the UK, but after this review I will make an effort to track some down.
Please this gin is cheap tasting .Nothing like Bombay,Beefeater or even Gordons.Try this stuff in a Gin & Tonic.The drink Gin was made for.It so not compare at all.Its like bootleg bath tub gin,the Boardwalk Empire Gins ,LOL.
I enjoyed the read and will have to seek out Taaka to try it. I can tell you are writing from the heart rather than regurgitating the New Amsterdam press release, like so many blogs are doing (a lot of free gin being passed out…).
The only reason I am writing is to say how strongly I feel that New Amsterdam is the worst gin ever foisted upon the public.
It is not a gin, it is a rot-gut vodka with heavy-handed creamsicle flavoring to try and hide the fact.
You can make a serviceable drink from the cheapest gin on the shelf, except for this product which should be reserved for clogged drains.
I don’t mean to sound rude, but when I hear this product being praised, I feel that it belies the ignorance of the speaker. “I know what I like” is a valid phrase, but so is ” I don’t know sh*t from shinola”. If person doesn’t know shinola, it is hard to take them as an expert.
Again, no disrespect intended, but the stuff is not gin and it is foul.
I appreciate the honesty. Thanks for taking me at my word. That being said, if you don’t like New Amsterdam you will absolutely hate Taaka. Please don’t try it. I don’t know if can handle too much honesty in too short of a time. LOL.. Actually, there are plenty of people who DO like New Amsterdam and I don’t think they’re brain washed. I really do understand why many purist, gin drinkers don’t like it’s sweetened, slightly citrus-type taste. It’s not for everyone. Taaka is certainly a much harsher gin. You can make a good martini with it, but prepared to do a lot of shaking and use a little olive juice and vermouth if you’re used to a good gin like Beefeeter.
I’ve been drinking New Amsterdam Gin since it came out and I still absolutely enjoy it (straight). It doesn’t mix too well but I find it to be appealing to both men and women served straight on the rocks. Every time I introduce someone to it, they love it as well.
Since writing this review on New Amsterdam Gin, I’ve stumbled upon quite a few fans. Even the true Gin Drinkers usually have good comments, though it may not be the favorite of a purist.
An excellent gin. I prefer it over Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray, etc. What makes this gin great is that you can drink it straight or on ice if you feel so inclined, something that can be said of very few other gins. We all need to be honest with ourselves for a moment; how many of us actually drink gin by itself? Very few, I’m sure. Just the fact that you can drink this gin on its own and actually enjoy it shows how great of a gin it is.
And of course, great in a Gin Rickey.