What I'm Drinking

By John Bancroft July 1, 2009

Just in time for peak gin and tonic sea­son comes New Amsterdam straight gin, a new American premium spirit that has knocked our socks off—or would, if we wore socks in the summer.

New Amsterdam, of course, is what New York originally was called, and this strikingly smooth gin relies heavily on Manhattan’s sophistication for its imagemaking, even though it comes from California. No matter, it’s good gin, and that’s what counts.

The gin and tonic’s roots are medici­nal. It was concocted in India under the Raj to disguise the bitterness of the qui­nine in tonic water, which was deployed as a prophylactic against malaria. But never mind. It’s still our favorite sum­mer cocktail. No need for a recipe. Just splash gin and tonic over ice in whatever proportion suits your mood and garnish with a generous squeeze of lime. Simple. Clean. Refreshing.

If the mixologist in you clamors for more, however, here is a recipe for a gussied-up gin cocktail from New Amsterdam’s marketing department that actually sounds pretty good.


1.5 oz. New Amsterdam gin

1 oz. spring water

1 tsp. sugar

3 slices English cucumber splash of vanilla essence or violet liqueur

Muddle cucumber with sugar until the juice is extracted. Pour into a cocktail shaker with the other ingredients. Shake vigorously for about six sec­onds. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a cucumber fl ower (a slice with scalloped edges).

An editor, writer and online publisher, John Bancroft has reviewed restaurants, books, movies and music for many magazines,Web sites and newspapers, most recently for the St. Petersburg Times.

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