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Choosing Gin: Broker’s vs. New Amsterdam

Broker's v. New Amsterdam

I’ve been comparing certain gins for everyday use. In the past, I was a New Amsterdam partisan, because it is cheap and because it plays well with citrus: it’s what I have used to test out many of the gimlets and fitzgeralds, in all their variations, I make, if only because it seems like a remarkably good deal. And it is, and it doesn’t offend, and, sure, it cheekily cashes in on the Breukelen zeitgeist even though it is distilled in Cali. But, swapping in a more robust gin puts muscles onto your drinks. And you know what? Muscles are good.

Where New Amsterdam is definitely an affordable, smooth spirit that has no major faults—it’s solidly unremarkable in every way—Broker’s is bigger and meaner, with more booze and a harder-edged flavor. In a word, it’s ginnier. Not in a bad way—there are no harsh ethanol notes or off flavors—but comparing a simple recipe varying only the two gins (I made a gimlet with Peychaud’s and sipped the two side by side), Broker’s makes itself present in a drink’s overall impression while New Amsterdam fades to the background.

This isn’t completely surprising: New Amsterdam is 40 percent alcohol, where Broker’s is 47, and Broker’s claims to be made in a pot still (whether this is strictly true or marketing speech for running neutral grain spirits through a pot still on a final distillation to instill botanicals, though, is hard to say).

Given that the difference in price between the two bottles is about three bucks, it’s better to go with Broker’s. Assuming you want to taste the gin in your gin-and-juice.

—JD