The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2016

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82  /  the tasting panel  /  april 2016 TASTINGS A lthough the weather forecast in Los Angeles was for rain, the flavors at the New Amsterdam vodka tasting were clean, bright and reminiscent of summers at the beach. Seven spirit experts gathered at The Bellwether, a bar and restaurant in Studio City, CA to taste through the portfolio of New Amsterdam vodkas, as well as some delicious cocktails made using some of the flavors, created by Bellwether's Beverage Director Ann- Marie Verdi. On hand was Verdi, as well as The Bellwether's Bar Manager Jonathan Daniels; Sean Hamilton, Bartender at Sassafras in Hollywood, CA; Blaine Adams, Beverage Director at Barrel & Ashes in Studio City, CA; Chris Barragan, Lead Bartender/ Sommelier at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse in Woodland Hills, CA; Quintin Ellis, Head Clerk at Bevmo! in Encino and Jesse Hom-Dawson, Editorial Assistant at Tasting Panel. Blaine Adams enthused, "While the classic vodka has a body and mouth presence that is useful behind the bar, I quite enjoy the coconut flavor. As a mixologist of sorts, I prefer to use fresh produce whenever possible. However, using fresh coconut can make for a very thick and semi-oily mouthfeel. This coconut vodka tastes of fresh coconut without any of that hassle. When playing in the tiki cocktail flavor world, the New Amsterdam Coconut Vodka has a strong case as a staple." The cocktails played nicely with the flavors, as we tried a traditional Moscow Mule, made with the original New Amsterdam, and then Verdi's take on a Moscow Mule, fittingly titled Not Your Mama's Mule, made with a kaf- fir lime and ginger-infused version of New Amsterdam, which reflects the beverage program at The Bellwether, where infused drinks are the star. We capped things off with A Kick in the Head, made with spicy Thai chilies and New Amsterdam's Red Berry Vodka, Verdi's favorite flavor: "The berry could be used in a variety of cocktails, making it a versatile spirit," she said. New Amsterdam Vodka Cherry-skin, marshmallow and lico- rice gather on the nose. The clean, clear, crisp palate slowly builds up to a heat that pleasantly warms, with no burn. Hints of charred marshmal- low and white pepper are wrapped in its pillow-like texture. 93 New Amsterdam Citron A lemon-lime-mandarin appeal is as fragrant as it is creamy. The slightest touch of orange rind gives it a just-peeled effect. Undertones of sweetness pull through but it actually dissipates into an authentic white grapefruit that creates a zingy finish. 93 New Amsterdam Orange Flowers perfume the air: orange blossoms are kissed by lanolin and vanilla. The rich, pretty flavors are accented with exotic Asian spice. 93 New Amsterdam Mango The nose is voluptuous and sultry, with heady tropical tones to soften the ripeness of the fruit character. A bit- tersweet, slightly peppered mango comes to the mid-palate. On second pass, green leaves, apricot nectar, taro root and dried herbs make this beauty even more complex. 92 MERIDITH MAY'S TASTING NOTES TASTING THE VIBRANT FLAVORS OF NEW AMSTERDAM VODKA by Jesse Hom-Dawson / photos by Dustin Downing Sipping the Rainbow New Amsterdam 80 proof vodka.

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