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I love trying out new Dutch liquors, so I had to finally visit Wynand Fockink in Amsterdam. This authentic Dutch tasting room and distillery dates back to 1679, which makes it the perfect place for an authentic place to try Dutch genever without a tour.
- Why visit Wynand Focknik
- Notes on visiting Wynand Fockink
- History of Wynand Fockink
- What is genever and a
- How to properly drink genever
- More Dutch liquor recommendations
Why visit Wynand Fockink
One of my passions since moving to the Netherlands has been immersing myself in the rich history of Dutch food and drinks. A great starting place is
One of the most authentic places to try jenever in Amsterdam is at Wynand Fockink, an authentic store and tasting room down an alleyway from Dam Square that dates back to the 1600s. This tasting room is small and atmospheric, perfect for someone looking to escape the crowds for a unique experience in Amsterdam. Click for more cozy genever tasting rooms in Amsterdam!
Notes about visiting Wynand Fockink in Amsterdam
Wynand Focknink is located down an alleyway just off Dam Square that was built in the late 1800s to help bring attention to the distillery. I had some doubts myself,
The tasting room is a true representation of genever during the age of the VOC (Dutch East Indies company) with a beautiful wooden interior filled with old casks. The
The attendant behind the bar asked me for my preferences in terms of alcohol. I ended up trying three different rounds at no cost although
There’s very limited room inside of the bar, so much so that the tasting room is limited to seven people at a time. They do not allow groups over seven (without a reservation in advance). It’s free to enter the tasting room and I’d recommend stopping by Wynand Fockink in the afternoon before the crowds come.
For a more intimate experience, reserve ahead through their website to have a tour of the distillery and a private tasting away from the crowds. The tour costs 17.50 and is held in the afternoons on the weekend. Book your tickets here.
If you intend to use your phone, you will be told to put it away. Similarly, you need to ask permission to take photographs here. One group was a bit rowdy when I was there and they were told to settle down, so avoid visiting this distillery if you’re with a rowdier group.
History of Wynand Fockink
It’s hard to imagine how unpleasant drinks were in the Netherlands prior to the 1600s… After herbs were imported into the Netherlands, the Dutch invented numerous Dutch liquors using blends of these spices.
Wynand Fockink ran a distillery and pub where the tasting room sits down. The actual cafe dates back to 1679. The business continued for many years successfully, so much so that it was exported all around the world. In 1954, Bols took over this family-run business. However, this distillery and tasting room have remained distinct from the famous Bols gin for now.
What is jenever and a proeflokaal?
Jenever (sometimes spelled genever) is the precursor to Dutch gin. It’s made from juniper berries and is somewhere between a whiskey and a vodka in terms of taste, depending on the aging. (Old genever is closer to a nice whiskey while I think of young genever as closer to vodka.)
Gin was invented in the United Kingdom, but I find jenever and the many drinks derived from it that you can find throughout the Netherlands delicious. (I love the herbal bitters, which are completely different than traditional
How to properly drink jenever
You can see above the traditional genever glass that I received to sample my drinks at Wynand Fockink. The glass is poured to be quite full, so you can imagine that it’s quite easy to spill. It’s traditional to lean down towards the bar to take the first slurp to prevent spillage. From there, feel free to pick it up and sip.
I often see people drinking jenever as if it’s a shot and I think of it more of as a sipping beverage similar to whiskey. Old jenever is generally served at room temperature although some other kinds of jenever will be served cold. To each their own though. 😉
Some people drink jenever together as a chaser for a beer although I think that it’s pleasant to enjoy on its own. Just be warned: it’s typically 40% alcohol, so be mindful of your intake!