Liqueurist, Wy­nand Fockink

Lonely Planet (UK) - - Creative Amsterdam -

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

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