kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits, travel & lifestyle writer / wine educator


Sweeter, Kinder Gin

New Amsterdam gin is billed as a Dutch style gin that's "distinctly smoother, and with crisp citrus notes." Like other new offerings on the market, it's designed to appeal to the non-gin drinker, who may have been overwhelmed in the past by harsh, very juniper-y spirits. Makers claim that it's so smooth it's really meant to be drunk straight (hence its full name, "New Amsterdam Straight Gin.")

Before sampling any of it neat, I used it in a gin and tonic. Now, I'll admit that I didn't use any of the less sweet, more gourmet tonics on the market like Q Tonic or Fever Tree (I used that old standby Schwepps.) But the resulting drink was really sweet. Too much so for me. But rather than judge it prematurely, I thought I'd sample some of it solo. It still tasted really sweet, at least to my palate (and that of my husband.)

However, if you shy away from super strong, botanically filled gins, New Amsterdam may be one to try. A 750 mL bottle retails for about $14, and once they ramp up their website, they should have availability listed.

Regardless of my tasting experience with the stuff, I still have that "They Might Be Giants" song lyric (and melody) stuck in my head: "Even old New York, was once New Amsterdam..."