HANS VAN DER HEIJDEN
Liqueurist, Wynand Fockink
Hans van der Heijden runs his eye along the bottles of liqueurs ranged on the wooden shelf behind his bar, considering all the flavours: aniseed, After Eight, apple pie, apricot. And that’s just the ‘A’s. In all there are 70 different flavoured liqueurs available at Wynand Fockink, a tasting tavern down a little side street off Dam Square that dates back to 1679. Finally he selects a bottle marked ‘Hansje in de Kelder’ (‘Little Hans In The Cellar’) and carefully pours the golden, syrupy liquid into a tasting glass until it is so full that the liqueur rises like a shimmering dome. ‘This is my favourite,’ says Hans. ‘It was the first one I tried as a boy.’ The drink takes its unusual name from an old tradition of Dutch mothers using it to announce their pregnancy. The most famous of Wynand Fockink’s drinks is jenever, a traditional juniper-flavoured liquor from which gin evolved. While there is a distillery onsite, Hans and his fellow liqueurists are not responsible for distilling the alcohol but rather understanding the history of the various flavours and also blending them in order to create new concoctions, as Hans recently did for a local private members’ club. He’s going to need a bigger shelf.
Tasting tour £15; Pijlsteeg 31; wynand-fockink.nl
Oudezijds Voorburgwal, one of the city’s oldest canals Hans van der Heijden in the distillery at Wynand Fockink. RIGHT Standing room only in the tasting tavern