There are many delicious Dutch delights which must be tried at least once. Here are 7 Dutch drinks you should be sure to sample! Be sure to try them with our favorite Dutch foods!
Travelers know one of the best things about visiting a new place is trying the local cuisine. And while you are at it, don’t forget the regional beverages as well.
The Dutch are known for some delicious drinks. Let’s try them all! Proost!
7 Dutch Drinks You Should Try
Love lattes? Then be sure to try a koffie verkeerd when you are in the Netherlands. This is the Dutch version of a caffè latte or café au lait. It is traditionally a hot cup of coffee with a lot of warm milk, but is most commonly served as an espresso with a lot of steamed milk and some frothy foam.
Koffie verkeerd means ‘wrong coffee’, because normal coffee would contain a dash of milk instead of the almost 50/50 ratio.
If you like milk in your coffee, order a koffie verkeerd with your breakfast or as an afternoon treat. Many people add a cube of sugar to their koffie verkeerd and stir it up with a little spoon. The Dutch almost always serve a little cookie with your coffee, which is a charming addition.
You can order a koffie verkeerd at almost any cafe or restaurant in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam we like ours best in a cozy cafe on a rainy day.
Verse Munt Thee
Fresh mint tea is not a traditional Dutch drink but if you are hanging out in Amsterdam you might think it is! You’ll spot many people ordering this warming beverage after a meal or while sitting at a sidewalk cafe on a chilly afternoon.
When you order a verse munt thee, a handful of fresh tea springs are dunked in a glass cup or tall mug full of steaming water. You might get honey and a lemon on the side. It’s an excellent beverage to choose if you are not in the mood for coffee but want something warm and comforting. Plus mint settles your stomach, which can be handy if you have been indulging in too many delicious Dutch foods or beers! 😀
Did you know that English gin evolved from jenever? The story goes that the traditional liquor of the Netherlands was consumed by soldiers during the Anglo-Spanish War in the 1630s. You may have heard of booze being referred to as “Dutch Courage”? Supposedly the Dutch soldiers would drink jenever before a battle, and shared it with their English allies. When the English went back home they tried to recreate the beverage but it seems their first attempts were not so tasty. They added additional herbs and spices to make it more palatable and that explains the difference between herby gin and more simple jenever.
Jenever (also spelled genever) is distilled from grain and flavored with juniper berries, and sometimes other spices to make likeurs. As the port of Rotterdam was used for grain imports, the neighboring area of Schiedam became a hub of jenever distilleries. You can still find them there today. However, other cities and towns also had their own local distillers, as jenever was a common and popular beverage.
There are different styles of jenever known as oude and jonge. This may seem to correspond to the amount of time they are aged, with “old” (oude) being aged longer. However this is not the case. The names refer to the recipes – oude jenever is made from an older recipe while jonge is a newer style.
You can taste jenever at most bars and cafes in the Netherlands, or visit a cozy proeflokaal to sample a few. To learn more about the history of jenever and how it is made, visit House of Bols in Amsterdam or the Jenever Museum in Schiedam.
Make your way to your nearest proeflokaal to sample Dutch likeurs. One of the most popular and famous in Amsterdam is Wynand Fockink but we like the hidden ‘T Nieuwe Diep as well. Liquour became popular in the 17th century in the Netherlands, the Dutch Golden Age. Only the wealthiest could afford likeurs, made from newly imported sugars, fruits and spices. Normal people drank beer and jenever (but not water!).
Likeur is typically served in small tulip-shaped glasses and filled to the brim, so that the drinker must bend down to slurp from the cup as it is impossible to pick up the glass without spilling the contents. Legend has it that the thrifty Dutch want a full glass for their money and that is why the glasses are filled to the rim.
Liquours are made by adding fruits or spices (or both) to a distilled spirit like jenever or vodka, add sugar, and let the mixture sit and macerate for at least a month. The resulting sweet liquid will have a strong flavor of the fruit or spice. (want to make your own liquours at home? check out this recipe book)
One of my favorite flavors of Dutch likeur is “duindoorn” which I picked up from the proeflokaal at Zaanse Schans. Duindoorn is a sour orange berry that grows wild on the dunes by the North Sea. Other favorite flavors of mine include cherry and lemon – like the Italian limoncello!
When you think of Dutch drinks the first thing that probably comes to mind is beer. Perhaps you think of Heineken or Amstel. Indeed this is a very common Dutch drink! If you belly up to a normal bar in the Netherlands you will hear people order “pils” or a “biertje” and they will usually receive a small-ish glass of European-style pilsner.
While these pale lagers are the most popular in the Netherlands and abroad, the Dutch also enjoy a variety of traditional beer styles. Two you should be sure to sample are bokbier and witbier.
Bokbier is a special beer brewed in both spring and autumn, and is sweet and malty. The flavor is different in spring and fall, with the fall version being heavier and spicier. If you are in Amsterdam in the autumn or spring you should be sure to check out the Bokbier Festival.
Witbier is also on the sweet and spicy side, and is a refreshing beer for a sunny day. In the Netherlands it is usually served with a lemon slice and a small plastic “stamper” to smush the lemon at the bottom of your glass.
A totally unique style of beer is made using “gruit” which is a mixture of herbs that were used to flavor and preserve beer in historic times before hops were discovered. A Dutch example of this called Koyt can be tasted at Jopen in Haarlem.
Nowadays there are many Dutch breweries with a huge variety of beer styles. If you are in Amsterdam be sure to visit our favorite local breweries and beer bars, especially Arendsnest Proeflokaal which serves only Dutch beer!
Depending on where you are from, you might think of chocolate milk as something only for children. Or maybe no one drinks it at all! In the Netherlands you can order a warm and comforting cup of hot chocolate and ask for it by the brand name of Chocomel and no one will blink an eye.
Some bars and cafes will even have a Chocomel dispensing machine on hand to quickly serve up a cup of sweet goodness to you. Of course you can also purchase it in the grocery store in aseptic packaging. Chocomel comes in several varieties including Puur – a dark chocolate version – as well as full fat and skimmed milk options.
One of my favorite things about Chocomel is their tagline: de enige échte. It could be translated as “the one and only”. I like to use it as my Twitter handle.
Another more fair-trade alternative to Chocomel is the local Tony Chocolonely chocolate milk. You can find it at grocery stores around the Netherlands, especially at these organic food stores in Amsterdam.
Another traditional Dutch alcoholic beverage is advocaat. Made from eggs, sugar and brandy, this golden drink is sipped on its own or added to a variety of cocktails and desserts.
One of the most popular cocktails made with advocaat is called the Snowball, where advocaat is mixed half and half with lemonade. Apparently this is a common drink in the UK, especially during winter. In the Netherlands it is served topped with whipped cream and cocoa powder as a cocktail as well.
I always wondered why this name for this yellow alcoholic drink was the same as the word for lawyer. Is it just a coincidence? It turns out that advocaat or advocatenborrel was thought to be useful for lubricating the throat for those who must speak in public, such as lawyers. Wonder who started that rumor? Maybe the tipsy lawyers themselves?
We hope you liked these 7 Dutch drinks you should be sure to try! If you enjoy this list, check out 10 Dutch Foods You Should Sample and 10 More Dutch Foods to Try, Part II in our Dutch Food series. And don’t miss Part III as well to learn all about the Netherlands cuisine.
Wanna know more about Dutch life? Check out 10 fun facts about the Netherlands, fun facts about Amsterdam and 13 fun facts about bicycles in Amsterdam!
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