Shakers and muddlers and strainers! Oh my!
Updated: Feb 28
A sunny Sunday, a snug and welcoming cocktail bar on the Amsterdam canals and three cocktails that are begging to be made by yours truly! (perhaps I was doing the begging but we'll not dwell on that too much) Welcome to the Flying Dutchmen Cocktails Workshop.
700 bottles in a homey atmosphere
The Flying Dutchmen Cocktails bar opened back in 2018 under the leadership of two of the Netherland's cocktail greats Tess Posthumus and Timo Janse. Located in the beautiful Odeon building on the Singel, the Flying Dutchmen Cocktails bar has the allure of an upscale cocktail bar, with its 700+ bottles to create whatever you want, but with a comfortable living room atmosphere. A little deco but no pretense, just passionate professionals who aim to give you a cocktail experience you won't soon forget.
Back to the classics
Which classic cocktails do you really know? At the Flying Dutchmen Cocktails they hold on to the saying that "We must learn to walk before we can run, before we can fly". Simply put: to really enjoy your cocktail, it makes it a lot easier if you know your classics. And knowledge of true classic cocktail recipes can, on occasion, be lacking at bars. Which is such a shame because to me, nothing beats a great Whisky sour or a classic Manhattan. To help you get through the maze of cocktails, the Flying Dutchmen Cocktails has created a smart menu that guides you through the evolution of different classic cocktails which is the bar’s interpretation of a classic cocktail, then moving to the more advanced variation and finally the bar’s own version of the recipe. Check out that Negroni evolution!
No "best" way - just enjoy
Even though the bar was already nominated for Best New International Cocktail Bar in its first year, the focus remains on the experience. There is no arrogance and no claims that their way of cocktails is the only way of cocktails. There is no "best" way to make a classic, purely how they, or you, enjoy it best. And this attitude is exactly what makes the experience so personal. Even if you're a Classic-cocktail-virgin, they've got you covered with their Flavour compass, which helps you pick your preferred drink.
If, like me, you're loving cocktails and are interested in getting to know the tools and tricks of the trade (or if you simply want a fun start of the evening), the Flying Dutchmen Cocktails offers cocktail workshops for either individuals or small groups. Obviously I couldn't help myself and booked a Sunday afternoon session where, unexpectedly, I got a private session! In 1,5 hours I managed to make 3 delicious cocktails (recipes and pics below), didn't spill any of it, nor did I drop my shaker or ice and got to pick the brains of the two bartenders, who were more than happy to oblige me in my whisky fetish.
Cocktail #1 Caipiroska
A refreshing cocktail that reminds you of a Caipirinha but instead this beauty is prepared with vodka instead of cachaça. Crowd pleaser at your next BBQ!
45 ml Ketel One Vodka
Half a lime, chopped
10 ml simple syrup
Large tumbler or rocks glass
Muddle your lime with syrup. Top with crushed ice.
Add your vodka and stir carefully with a bar spoon to mix. Scoop carefully from bottom to top so as to properly mix the ingredients with the ice.
Top up with some more ice, add a straw and some lime wedges.
Cocktail # 2 Old Fashioned
Referred to as a Bitter Sling back in 1806, this cocktail is the official cocktail of the city of Louisville since 2015. And why not? I might just make it my official go-to cocktail.
60 ml Buffalo Trace Bourbon
1 bar spoon Muscovado syrup
3 dashes of Angostura bitters
Large tumbler or rocks glass
Fill up your glass with ice cubes and start with adding you Bourbon. Pour in the remaining ingredients and with a bar spoon stir. On occasion taste your cocktail to see if it is still too strong and needs a little more stirring.
Slice a little orange peel and squeeze this over the glass to release the oils and fragrances. Then swirl the peel around the rim of the glass for that extra zing on the nose when taking a sip.
Cocktail #3 Flying Dutchmen Cocktail
A cocktail that contains the classic elements of Dutch drinking culture as well as a personal nod to Tess' dissertation on Genever and the effects of globalization.
45 ml Bols Barrel Aged Genever
30 ml lemon juice
15 Speculaas-gum syrup
2 dashes orange bitters
1 dash orange flower water
Time to wake up them arms and shake, shake, shake.
Add all the ingredients in a shaker. Add ice and shake to your heart's content.
Strain the cocktail in a coupe glass and garnish that sweety with some orange peel and an edible flower. This might sound like a hectic cocktail but in all it's complexity, its incredibly delicate and I could probably keep drinking this all night.
Obviously I couldn't leave you without sharing some of the best tips I got from my hosts. Some of them have already been mentioned in the recipe but still, these are a few of the ones I loved:
When stirring crushed ice and ingredients, work gently and scoop from the bottom to the top. Don't just stir, it doesn't mix properly.
When using a bar spoon to stir, make sure it "latches" on to an ice cube, that way it's easier to make those pretty round movements.
Unsure whether your cocktail is too strong? Use your bar spoon to drop a few drops of cocktail on the back of your hand and taste.
Stirring for about 45 seconds is a good starting point for a properly stirred Old Fashioned. After that, it's up to your taste.
Never put the top of your shaker straight into the mold, always place it a little tilted. It will make it easier to remove after shaking. Don't forget to give it a firm tap to seal before you shake.
Have a great day!!