New Ambassador: Dutch Courage
Dutch Courage is the cocktailbar owned by Tess Posthumus and Timo Janse on Amsterdam's Zeedijk 12. The bar is an ode to genever and old-Dutch liqueurs, and combines 150 different genevers with a wide variety of genever based cocktails. Tess Posthumus is a bartender and freelance hospitality professional. She travels around the globe and, together with Timo, owns two bars in Amsterdam: Flying Dutchmen Cocktails & Dutch Courage, where they and their team mix the most delicious cocktails, while focussing on building a true cocktail culture in the Netherlands. Timo Janse has made over 600.000 cocktails in his career. As the former and first-ever Bar manager of Door 74 starting in 2008 he has received many awards, including being the only Dutch bar EVER to be nominated at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans for both best new cocktail bar, and for best international bar.
Interview with Tess and Timo
How did the idea to start a cocktail bar come about?
Tess: Timo and I know each other from Door 74, a bar with international fame and one of the best bars according to the World ranking. Timo was manager there and I started there as a part-time job. My love for cocktails quickly grew, Timo and I quickly found each other. After 9 years we were ready to do something for ourselves. We have done a lot of consulting for other bars, but setting up our own concept that we fully support was our big dream, then we could really perfect it as we had in mind.
3 years ago we already planned to open Dutch Courage, but at the last moment the building we had in mind for this was canceled. Then we opened our other bar Flying Dutchmen cocktails and had to put the dream for Dutch Courage aside for a while. August 6, Dutch Courage was finally officially opened.
Dutch Courage is a cocktail bar that focuses on Genever and old Dutch liqueurs. I have a sociology background with an enormous passion for history, so the history of the liqueurs and Genever was soon obvious. Genever is one of the oldest drinks in the world and the Netherlands has traditionally (since 1600) been the largest liqueur country in the world.
Where does the name Dutch Courage come from?
Tess: This dates from the 80 year war, when the Dutch were fighting at the Belgian border against the Spaniards. At that time English mercenaries were often hired, who were often partly paid by the Dutch with Genever. The Dutch soldiers often took a few sips of the Genever ration in the morning to take the edge off, this was called 'liquid courage'. The English were amazed at the guts of the Dutch soldiers, and because they fought together, the Dutch soldiers shared their secret: a few gulps of Genever. That's how it came to be that Dutch Courage is now a much used saying for bravery. When they returned to England, the English also tried to make Genever, this eventually became the origin of Gin.
How are you dealing with the Covid-19 situation?
Tess: We of course opened in Corona time, all the contracts were signed before Corona broke out in the Netherlands. This actually meant we had to go back to the drawing board every time. During the first wave we tried out many things, which we are now trying to expand on. For example, we have a webshop where we sell cocktails that are delivered by mail. We also offer online cocktail workshops for companies or other groups, where all ingredients are sent by mail and the workshop is given via Zoom. We have already received a lot of nice reactions to this! We send all cocktails and ingredients vacuum packed, so that the taste and shelf life remain optimal and it prevents leakage during shipping. Our cocktails can therefore be kept for no less than 10 days after shipment. We also offer a subscription service, where you receive 3 different cocktails by mail every week, including information about the cocktails.
What do you use the Henkelman vacuum sealer for?
Tess: We have always used the Henkelman vacuum sealer on a daily basis, for, among other things, packaging our home-made syrups. These have a much longer shelf life and the vacuum bags take up less space in our storage, cooling and freezer than in, for example, bins or bottles. Now in Corona time, we really use the vacuum sealer non-stop for packaging our To-go cocktails. We first pack the garnishes, and then the liquid above the seal in the same bag, so that the customer gets all the necessities for a cocktail in 1 package.
Our neighbors at Flying Dutchmen (Supperclub) already had a Henkelman vacuum sealer that we were allowed to use. We quickly noticed that we were using it so often that we needed one ourselves.
Many bars still work without a vacuum sealer, which is really a shame. It pays for itself very quickly because you have less waste, can purchase and store much more efficiently and now of course in Corona time you have a perfect tool to package your to-go cocktails. We also get very excited about the marinade function on the Henkelman CombiVac vacuum sealr, which allows us to be very creative with infusing different flavors, as we show in the recipe for the special Henkelman cocktail. The liquid control function is also very useful, because it prevents the liquids from boiling over and ending up inside the machine.
Recipe Henkelman Cocktail
Tess and Timo created a special cocktail for Henkelman, here is the recipe to make one yourself!:
Recipe Dutch Courage Henkelman Cocktail
45ml Bols Barrel Aged genever
20ml cinnamon infused pineapple juice
10ml Old Dutch ‘Kraamanijs’ liqueur
10ml lime juice 5ml lemon & orange oleo saccharum
Shake all ingredients in a cocktailshaker filled with cubed ice. Fine strain into a pre-chilled martini glass. Garnish with a ‘Blue Curacao’ liqueur infused dried pineapple slice.
Ingredients prepared with our CombiVac vacuum sealer: 1. cinnamon infused pineapple juice: marinade function. 2. lemon & orange oleo saccharum: lemon & orange zests with sugar, vacuum sealed. The sugar extracts the oils from the citrus zests and turns it into an oil rich syrup. 3. ‘Blue Curacao’ liqueur infused dried pineapple garnish: marinade function & dried in a food dryer.