New Amsterdam Vodka

img_20161002_171905We plump here for whisky, generally, but I keep a bottle of vodka for Bloody Marys and this and that. I always buy a different one and am always struck how each, tasted neat, is different. Years ago on, I recall discussions where some insisted only the water, or any flavourings added, made the difference, versus that is the fermentables source used, which can range from wheat to rye to corn and more, or a combination.

I believe small differences in still type, final ABV and feedstock used can affect palate, not just the water for dilution. So can the type of filtering or polishing it gets before bottling.

Recently I was struck by how good the pictured bottle was. The liquor flows on the palate softly and has a very good taste. I believe it is not flavoured especially with sugar as some vodkas are. There may be some charcoal treatment as I think I can taste it. Many vodkas undergo this stage and some national legislations require it in fact.

Few would buy vodka to taste a microsip neat, as I do, and to be sure mixing in cocktails will efface all subtle differences, at least in the medium- and high-price categories.

But for those who will taste a bit on its own, I believe they will see some vodka is superior. New Amsterdam definitely qualifies.

The price is the regular vodka price here, I’ve had others that are double the price and not as good.

The more I learn about the history of beverage alcohol, the less likely I am to be peremptory in judgment. Things become part of the commercial scene for a reason, generally. That Genessee beer I had the other day (the regular lager) is the obverse of the craft beer taste yet I can see how it developed over a century and that many people like it (evidently). It may not be – won’t – something I will buy again very soon, but that doesn’t mean I will put it down, and in fact (maybe the historical angle influenced me) I kind of liked it.

Same thing with vodka versus whisky. It’s like Doug Philips used to say on the discussion board at, consider each experience as palate training vs. being dogmatic about good, bad, and in between.



4 thoughts on “New Amsterdam Vodka”

  1. I was very familiar with the last Koch brewery, in Dunkirk, NY in the late 70s/very early 80s, brewers of the plebian Golden Anniversary Lager but also the very good Jubilee Porter and less appealing Deer Run Ale.

    How did Sam Adams come to be launched in the 1860s? Not familiar with that at all.

    • Sam, the Koch brewery in Dunkirk, I believe it was called Fred Koch & Son (or similar name), was not connected to the Kochs of St. Louis. What Jim told me was not that Sam Adams lager was launched in the 1860s, but his ancestor who brewed lager then in St. Louis made a beer, which he has a recipe or directions of some kind for (from his father), which served as inspiration for Sam Adams lager.


  2. Great subject matter, Gary. I think that vodka more than any other spirit is purchased on image rather than flavor.

    And as regards that Genesee, I love the stuff. Great beer? No. Great price /quality ratio? Absolutely.

    • Thanks Sam. So true about vodka. Some of our Canadian vodkas are excellent, e.g., Polar Ice. It’s interesting to try them neat. That Genny was interesting, like I could see the arc from the early work with adjuncts in American brewing in the 1870s.

      I’d like to try it on draft, especially if non-pasteurized.

      Sam Adams lager is different because it started in the 1860s and adjunct hadn’t taken hold yet. It retained its German character (i.e., as an American product) more than what became the lager norm, or AAL… I met Jim Koch recently and he was telling me about the first Koch brewery in St. Louis.


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