Many of these are quite strong, so we recommend trying these slowly over the course over a longer time period responsibly. You will not find some of Dutch alcohols easily. This guide comes with a FREE printable/downloadable PDF of traditional Dutch alcohol at the bottom to show to your bartender and/or local liquor store as we know how hard it is pronounce some of these names.
Some of these are strong (and hide it well), so seriously, drink responsibly. This is intended for people OVER the legal drinking age (the drinking age in the Netherlands is 18). Don't mix any of these with ANY other substance. Don't drink and drive. We've ranked these from easy to damn near impossible to find. Jacob and I have done the hard research for you all, including which Dutch liquor brands to ask for at the bar and which drinks are actually good alcoholic drinks.
Level: Easy. You can easily find these Dutch alcoholic beverages.
Jenever/Genever: The quintessential Dutch alcohol you must try in the Netherlands
Genever is nowadays considered an old-man kind of drink, but is still easily found. It is certainly not for the faint hearted and does not enjoy the same popularity as gin. It is typically taken straight and is very strong. If you decide to try it, there are two varieties: Young Jenever (Jonge Genever) and Old Jenever (Oude Genever). Young Jenever is an easier experience as Old Jenever is much stronger with a more pungent flavor. You’ve been warned.
The most famous Jenever brand in the Netherlands is Bols. If you're curious about Jenever, you can got to their tasting room for the experience...or save your euros for any Dutch bar. I recommend Jonge Jenever together with tonic for a first taste.
Don't embarrass yourself:That Buzzfeed video showing you how to drink jenever is wrong. How to drink jenever: You just sip the tiny amount near the top before sipping it. Don't take it as a shot although you can get it with a beer.
There are even gin and tonic bars in Amsterdam For those of you who love gin and tonic, I think of a gin & tonic (G&T) as the perfect thing to drink in Amsterdam on a humid summer night. My favorite Dutch gin brands: Bobby's Schiedam Dry Gin, Nolet's Silver Dry Gin, & Rutte Celery Gin. (Nicer bars and liquor stores will stock these.)
[Pronounced Beer-en-berg / Widow-er Yow-stra]
As I sit here writing this, I have a small glass of Weduwe Joustra (one variant) at my side, as I have fallen in love with it. Often described as the Dutch answer to Jaegermeister, the description really gives the wrong impression. The liquor (whose name translates to Widow Joustra) was envisioned by a Dutch widow (named Joustra, obviously) as a way to make money after her husband had died. She wanted to make something distinct from Genever and teamed up with a company that dealt in spices (Beerenburg) which she used to spice the liquor.
The spices take much of the edge off the liquor, making it wonderful to simply sip on its own while still tasting very much like liquor. For those of you overly concerned about my comparison to Jaegermeister, the spices are of a different flavor (no licorice flavoring) and the liquor is not nearly as strong. Furthermore, it is a classy drink, with connotations of sipping on a small glass to keep warm at night. Not for shots. Can be found in most liquor stores, but don’t expect to see it in many bars except in specific regions outside of Amsterdam. If you're wondering what to drink in the Netherlands, I recommend seeking this one out.
It's a recent invention from the South of the Netherlands (Brabant) only dating back to the 1970s, however those from Brabant take particular pride in this liquor. (A friend from this region comes to every party armed with a bottle, just in case.)
Corenwijn [Pronounced Cor-ren-wine]
Level: Medium. Harder to find, but possible with effort.
Vieux / Coetsierscognac (35% ABV)
Advocaat [Pronounced Ad-vo-cot] (14-20% ABV)
Boswandeling (15% ABV)
Dropshot (20% ABV)
Level: Deep commitment. Nearly impossible to find
Tesseltje [Pronounced Tes-el-tche]
It is named in honor of a Dutch female enlightenment era figure nicknamed Tessltje. She lived on the island of Texel, hence the name. She was a member of the Muiderkring, which was group of intellectuals who frequently met at Castle Muiderslot for discussions and socializing. Hence the two locations where this drink can be found.
Bridal Tears / Goldstrike / Bruidstranen
Ready to get started on this must try Dutch liquor list? Save this free PDF to your phone OR print it to bring with you to the bar!
Note on Liquor Stores in the Netherlands
Have you tried of any of these Dutch alcohols? Which alcoholic drinks sound most appetizing to you? Any that I've missed that you love?
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