Amsterdam Tasting Houses

Amsterdam Tasting Houses

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Eleni takes us on a tour of Wynand Fockink and Cafe Heffer.

Down a quiet, secluded alleyway alongside the Krasnapolsky Hotel in Dam Square lies Wynand Fockink, a quintessential jenever bar built in 1679 that boasts dozens of different flavors of homemade Dutch gin. It's tiny and absolutely delectable.

My boyfriend and I were ironically introduced to this Amsterdam classic by my aunt and uncle who were visiting from New York. To proost, “cheers,” to our night together out on the town, the men chose the jonge jenever and we women went for the cassis, "black currant," liqueur. But we weren’t allowed to immediately taste our selections, as there’s a traditional drinking process involved:

Step 1: Gregarious bartender fills your mini goblet to the brim.
Step 2: Bend over, leaving your glass on the bar.
Step 3: Take a big enough sip so that you're able to pick it up without spilling!

Amsterdam Tasting HousesDon't simply go ahead and finish your drink in one gulp, though; instead savor it and mingle with the quirky locals in the original 17th-century tasting room. Wynand Fockink truly is a wonderful little gem in Amsterdam.

Located just around the corner is yet another surprising, authentic establishment. Never would one suspect such a civilized place to exist within the Red Light District. Cafe Heffer is a mix between a classic Dutch bruin café and an elegant but lively proeflokaal, "tasting house." It's a great bar to go to for drinks and Dutch hapjes, such as bitterballen, mini croquette-like snacks filled with meat. Supposedly there’s also an upstairs room as small as a crawl space! Grab a beer or warm glühwein, and check it out for yourself!

Eleni Menoutis / Expatica

Eleni MenoutisEleni Menoutis is a print journalist, blogger and EAL teacher who's temporarily swapped her life in New York for a few years in Europe. A lover of writing, photography and everything travel, Eleni is constantly looking to book her next possible getaway and documents her previous travels in the meantime on her blog, "for the Love of Europe and New York," and Amsterdam-Spoke.

Photo credit: stevepb (brandy).


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