Tag Archives: gin

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

The Fitzgerald Variations

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Like most, we were stupid in our youth. Our stupidity ranged far enough to include believing that gin was best juiced with the green citrus: limes and only limes in our GnTs, darlings. But recently—spurred purhaps by our exploration of saffron-infused gin (the flaming sunrise color recalls the flame and sunshine: heaven and other handwarm places), or purhaps by the inverse fitzgerald a friend made (we’ll get to that)—we’ve been playing with other colors of the citrus rainbow.

Like yellah: lemons, meyer or sweet or straight up sour, pair extremely well with gin. And everything. The classic fitzgerald is a wonderful way to discover this. And so we offer you these fitzgerald variations, interwebs, so that you may conquer your own stupid, should you need to do so.

A good place to start is with the fitzgerald itself: gin, lemon juice, syrup, and bitters. You can add a twist garnish if you’re feeling a bit decadent—and if you didn’t come upon your lemon juice by stealing the flavorful hide of lemons to make a liter of limoncello.

Fitzgerald

To make the classic, you’ll need the following:

  • 1.5 oz gin
  • .75 oz lemon juice
  • .75 oz simple syrup
  • bitters

Combine in a shaker with ice, close, and vigorously rattle. Strain into a chilled glass, with or without ice, as is your preference. We take them up.

Note that for the bitters, you can vary the amount and type to suit your fancy—or to accentuate the character of the spirit that’s forming the base of the drink. We suggest not skimping on the bitters, because they can really make a fitzgerald sing, or zing, or whatever else a refreshing concoction might do. Peychaud’s makes something that looks like pink lemonade and goes down easier. You’ve been warned.

Lavender Daisy

Once you’ve messed with a few iterations of gin and bitters, you can try coming up with new booze permutations. Like scotch. This recipe—which combines two types of bitters—is nice enough I’ve made it thrice.

  • 1.5 oz scotch (blended)
  • .75 oz lemon juice
  • .75 oz simple syrup
  • ample dashes aromatic bitters
  • lavender bitters to finish

Combine all ingredients, except the lavender bitters, in a shaker with ice. Do as before. When the drink’s in a glass, top with a scant dash of lavender bitters. The peat smoke of the scotch and the lavender, lemon, aromatics all meld very well. If I had a fresh sprig of fresh lavender, it might find itself garnishing my drink.

Yellow Desert Fruit

Mezcal also plays very well with lemon; the smokey notes of the spirit taste like dry desert air. And the almost jalapeño-y flavor of Regan’s orange bitters rounds out the drink, almost making Jake miss California.

  • 1.5 oz mezcal
  • .75 oz lemon juice
  • .75 oz simple syrup
  • ample dashes Regan’s orange bitters

As above. This own would probably look nice garnished with a ruby, succulent, cactus fruit.

Gerald Fitzthomas Scott

What originally got us intrigued with the possibilities of the humble fitzgerald was an “upside-down” one that some friends made for us a couple of weeks ago. They had been in Minneapolis, their midwestern hometown, at a cocktail place, and the bartender had impressed them with this:

  • 1.5 oz Angostura
  • .75 oz lemon juice
  • .75 oz simple syrup
  • dashes of gin

As above. This isn’t for folks who don’t like tart, herbaceous drinks, as Angostura, even lemoned, sweetened, and ginned, remains bitter tonguestuff.