The Untold Truth Of New Amsterdam Pink Whitney

Pink Whitney is a pink lemonade-flavored vodka that is made by New Amsterdam. The millennial-friendly brand is very popular on social media and has quickly become a sensation. Pink Whitney resonates with consumers as a young, fun, and accessible vodka.

New Amsterdam was launched in 2011 and quickly became an industry leader (via Seven Fifty Daily). The brand is the creation of E. & J. Gallo Winery. The wine company was established in 1933 in California by brothers Ernest and Julio Gallo. Today, New Amsterdam is the world's fastest-growing spirit brand and has broken record sales in the U.S. This success can, in part, be attributed to E. & J. Gallo's pre-existing experience and network within the alcohol industry.

Pink Whitney was awarded a silver medal by Best Tasting Spirits in 2019. The pink vodka's flavors include lemon peel, sour candy, and "tart sugar dipped whole lemon flavor" as well as "candy sweet with lemon peel, and grain vodka taste."

Hockey star Ryan Whitney started it all

National Hockey League (NHL) star Ryan Whitney – who has formerly played for teams such as the Pittsburgh Penguins, Edmonton Oilers, and Florida Panthers – retired in 2015 due to an injury. He joined forces with fellow retired hockey pro Paul Bissonnette to co-host the Barstool Sports podcast, Spittin' Chiclets.   

In 2018, New Amsterdam reached out to Barstool Sports and decided to sponsor Spittin' Chiclets (via Investis Digital). Whitney and Bissonnette were discussing their favorite drinks on the show as part of promoting New Amsterdam vodka when Whitney was asked about his favorite mixer of choice (as per The Hustle). Whitney surprised his fans by saying that he enjoyed pairing vodka with pink lemonade

The hockey professional spoke emphatically about this love for this concoction. He said he loved drinking vodka with pink lemonade, and that anyone with "any brains" or "any sort of confidence" would appreciate his fondness for the combination. 

Little did Whitney or his co-host know that this casual conversation was about to get the ball rolling, or perhaps the puck sliding, into a whole new chapter, not only for the drink itself but also for the podcast. The vodka industry would be impacted too, in a relatively short amount of time. 

The vodka and pink lemonade combo went viral

On the Spittin' Chiclets podcast, Ryan Whitney urged his fans to try the pink lemonade and vodka suggestion before discounting it. As Whitney told Forbes, "I've always loved pink lemonade when I was young, with no vodka in there, so naturally, it was the perfect mixed drink for me." 

Whitney and Bissonnette are no strangers to attention – Spittin' Chiclets is one of the top five sports podcasts in the U.S. (via CBC). However, the traction that the drink gained certainly was a surprise. According to Investis Digital, almost as soon as the podcast episode was over, fans began posting pictures with the drink.

Initially, Whitney wasn't convinced that anyone would want to buy a drink with his name on it. He was skeptical about whether the brand would work. He expected people to mock him for his tastes. However, the positive reactions on social media in response to Whitney's drink preferences couldn't be ignored. 

This social media buzz had Bissonnette thinking about capitalizing on all the interest and attention the vodka was getting. Clearly, the New Amsterdam team was thinking along the same lines. They launched Pink Whitney in the U.S. less than a year after the initial podcast.

Pink Whitney was launched in 2019

After resounding interest from fans, Pink Whitney was launched in 2019. Michael Sachs, director of spirits marketing at E. & J. Gallo Winery told Forbes that the creation of Pink Whitney was organic. It was a result of the spontaneous way in which Whitney and Bissonnette brought New Amsterdam into the conversation on the podcast. 

"[W]e didn't dictate to them what the advertising should be within their podcast ... Those things kind of got thrown out the window because we wanted to be part of the conversation and integrate into their podcast, talking about the brand," said Sachs. After its launch in September, Pink Whitney had already sold a million bottles by mid-October (via Barstool Sports). It wasn't just the sales records that stood out either, it was the Pink Whitney bottle itself. 

According to Bartenders Business, the black and pink designs on Pink Whitney bottles also feature Whitney's NHL jersey number, as well as the logos for Barstool Sports and Spittin' Chicklets, plus Whitney's catchphrase, "What a legend." With such strong branding, a great backstory, and all the social media exposure, it's no wonder that Pink Whitney was such a big hit. 

Fans love Pink Whitney for its flavor

New Amsterdam Pink Whitney vodka is infused with a pink lemonade flavor. The vodka is distilled five times. According to the brand's website, it is this distillation process that gives Pink Whitney its smooth and soft finish. Pink Whitney can be served chilled in a shot glass. It can also be consumed with mixers such as club soda.

Love to Know states that this light pink spirit "has a sweet-tart citrus flavor along with the alcoholic kick of vodka." Unlike non-flavored vodka, Pink Whitney does contain sugar and carbs, though, at 30% (60 proof), it is lower in alcohol content than traditional New Amsterdam Vodka, which comes in at 100 proof. 

This vodka, with its skyscraper-style bottle, has carved out its own spot amid the competitive world of spirits and has thrived, even amid more established brands. The brand is popular among millennials and has garnered the attention of younger markets, who tend to gravitate toward fruitier varieties of vodka (via Seven Fifty Daily). New Amsterdam has also launched several other flavors of vodka such as Red Berry, Mango, and Passionfruit.

Pink Whitney targeted the millennial market

Whitney was in his 30s when Pink Whitney was launched. Perhaps that's why his signature drink intuitively appeals to the millennial market. Pink Whitney's appeal isn't just limited to hockey fans either. As Britt West, general manager for E. & J. Gallo told The Gulf Times a year after Pink Whitney's launch, "Pink Whitney came out of left field and one of the reasons is that it transcends traditional vodka use ... It gets a lot of 'shots' business that vodka doesn't because with the pink lemonade flavor, it's so sessionable. The thing is, people know what to do with it."

Since Pink Whitney's life began on social media, it has always been intrinsically linked to the medium, and, by extension, to millennials. The label's design is bold and social media-friendly. Its affordable price point and the general rise in vodka sales for at-home consumption during the pandemic have boosted the profile of Pink Whitney. The brand's vibe is incredibly fun and inclusive. 

Part of Pink Whitney's success can be attributed to New Amsterdam's $10 million Pour Your Soul Out campaign, which targeted millennials through TV advertising and YouTube, as well as a photo filter on Snapchat (via Seven Fifty Daily).

Pink Whitney can be used to make some cool cocktails

Pink Whitney can be served on the rocks, combined with a variety of mixers, or mixed into cocktails. This rose-colored vodka is ideal for a range of cocktail recipes, from cosmopolitans to martinis. 

Making a Pink Whitney Martini is pretty easy. You already have that pink lemonade taste, so all you really need is a chilled martini glass and a cocktail shaker (via Love to Know). Simply shake up some of the vodka with ice, strain it into the cool glass, and add a garnish of lemon. A Pink Whitney Cosmopolitan is made with a quarter ounce of fresh lime juice, 1 ounce of cranberry juice, along with 2 1/2 ounces of Pink Whitney, shaken in a cocktail shaker with ice before being strained and garnished with a lemon peel. 

Pink Whitney can be integrated into a range of other concoctions: Thyme Lemonade, Wine Spritzer, Aperol Spritz, and Strawberry Lemonade. Several different mixers work well with Pink Whitney, such as grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, Red Bull, and hot tea, to name a few. 

Smokey Bones served Pink Whitney with Starburst candy

BBQ-chain Smokey Bones actively comes up with new ideas. As per Geekspin, Smokey Bones launched a limited-time selection of candy-inspired cocktails in 2022. The drinks are fun, sweet, and creative. These cocktails are likely to take imbibers on a nostalgic trip down memory lane, perhaps to less heavy times, way before the darkness of the pandemic.

Smokey Bones' limited-edition releases are available in three different cocktails: Blue Lagoon, served in a blue fishbowl with Nerds and Swedish Fish, Honey Bear, featuring gummy bears, and the Pink Strawberry Swizzle, which incorporates Pink Whitney into a cocktail garnished with Starbursts. The Pink Strawberry Swizzle includes ingredients such as strawberry puree, fresh lemon juice, and club soda, plus some RumHaven Coconut Rum. 

The cocktail is light, playful, and original, just like the Pink Whitney. Even adverts for Pink Whitney embody its fun vibes: In the Ice Breaker, Ryan Whitney skates over to Bissonnette, who has just poured himself a glass of Pink Whitney, and takes it from him. The Locker Room sees the podcast duo bonding over Pink Whitneys after a hockey win.

New Amsterdam is one of the fastest growing brands

The success of Pink Whitney is part of a wider surge in the popularity of vodka. In the U.S. alone, the vodka category set a record in 2020, when sales reached 80 million cases (via Shanken News Daily). The vodka category has also been steadily increasing over the past five years, with a growth rate of 1 million cases per year. 

Brands such as New Amsterdam have jumped aboard this growth and used it to made a name for themselves. New Amsterdam was one of the top three vodka brands in the U.S. in 2020. As per statistics that were based on millions of 9-liter case depletions, New Amsterdam experienced a 27% growth between 2019 and 2020. Within that growth rate, 800,000 cases can be attributed to Pink Whitney alone. Pink Whitney's allure has contributed to New Amsterdam's overall growth. 

Pink lemonade vodka was a hot trend in 2021

According to Beverage Dynamics, pink lemonade was one of the hot trends of 2021, a pattern which is also apparent in the obsession toward Rosé wines and pink gins. Indeed, even without the research, it's clear that there has been a cultural explosion toward flavored, brightly colored spirits. With vodka being a cocktail and bar staple, this pink, celebrity-endorsed lemonade is bound to attract attention. 

Unlike many light-colored spirits which are also light on the alcohol levels, Pink Whitney finds its place somewhere around the middle. The vodka appeals to customers for celebratory occasions as well as for general drinking. Either way, Pink Whitney inspires creativity — fans on social media have elevated the drink with their pink cocktail creations (via Alcohol Volume). 

The fact that other brands such as Smirnoff have jumped on the rising trend proves that it is here to stay. Meanwhile, creations such as Pink Whitney have helped redefine the personality of vodka, its profile, and its social media presence in new and interesting ways.