THE TEARS TEN: DUTCH COURAGE
Tess Posthumus, the bartending guru behind Flying Dutchmen Cocktails and much, much more, shares the secrets of her home city, Amsterdam—and a Black Tears cocktail too.
World Class bartender of the year in 2015 and co-owner of the Perfect Serve Barshow Amsterdam, Amsterdam Cocktail Week, Flying Dutchmen Cocktails and the upcoming Dutch Courage bar, Tess Posthumus cut her bartending teeth at Amsterdam’s iconic Door 74. A hospitality consultant and drinks columnist, as well as one of Europe’s best-known female bartenders, her third book, on the Netherlands’ signature spirit, genever, comes out later this year.
When we talk, Posthumus is preparing to reopen Flying Dutchmen, amid strict rules and regulations that reduce the bar’s capacity to just 10 people, slowly working through the fitout of Dutch Courage, and keeping up Covid-19 offerings from delivery cocktails to online training. “I don’t think I’ve ever been so busy. We have six bartenders at Flying Dutchmen, so we need to keep them busy and we need to cover our costs as much as possible,” she says. “We’ve been trying to be creative, trying to figure out how to keep the staff busy and keep our name alive with our guests.”
Where’s the best place to drink rum in Amsterdam?
Obviously, my own bar, Flying Dutchmen, because we have more than 800 bottles on the back bar including an ever-changing assortment of very nice rums. Whenever we find something weird or new or exclusive we always add it to the collection. Café ‘t Spui-tje, around the corner from Flying Dutchmen, is a very nice place for the rum connoisseur, with a great selection, and there are also some very cool Tiki bars in Amsterdam.
What cocktail bar should we not miss in Amsterdam?
Door 74 for me is the bar that started the entire craft cocktail movement in the Netherlands. Back in the day, we didn’t really have a cocktail culture here—we’re Dutch, we’re very sober people and all about the beer. But when the renaissance of the cocktail happened in London and New York it started happening here, and Door 74 was the first speakeasy concept in Western Europe. I learned a lot bartending there and it’s still around and still super-good.
Where do off-duty bartenders go drinking once they finish their shift?
A lot end up at Flying Dutchmen. But a lot of bartenders just go to a brown café, a traditional Dutch bar, for a beer and a genever, and there’s a very nice one near Dutch Courage called In ’t Aepjen, which means In the Monkey. It’s a very, very old-school brown café and it’s round the corner from Centraal Station, so you can literally crawl to the station. It’s in an old wooden house, and the bar is around 400 years old. The name led to a Dutch saying: “You spent the night In the Monkey”, meaning “You’re fucked…” During the spice trade, it was a place for sailors to hang out. The owner liked animals, so the sailors who weren’t able to pay their bills would bring him something from a foreign country, like parrots and monkeys, but they all had fleas, so when you got on a ship for six months and started scratching you were really out of luck.
Where’s the best legal place to go for a smoke?
Everywhere in Amsterdam there are good places, but we have one next to my house which is located next to a supermarket. Its name means “The Supermarket”, so when you tell your partner you’re going to the supermarket it’s never clear what you mean. Just be sure you trust the guys who work there and let them advise you, because it’s different from home.
Who’s the best tattooist in town?
Go to Ink District. Nikita, a friend and neighbour, makes super-nice tattoos in the city centre. But you do need to make a reservation because she’s often fully booked.
Where’s the best street art in Amsterdam?
If you’re at Amsterdam Centraal Station, behind it, over a big stretch of water, is the northern part of Amsterdam. Take the free ferry to the north, which is more factories and festivals: it used to be where the shipworks were so it’s a bit more of a raw side of Amsterdam, with super-cool graffiti.
Where can you find the best cocktail ingredients in Amsterdam?
Sterk is a nice shop. It’a supermarket but small and family-owned. They’re super-geeks like me, so they have a huge collection of cocktail bitters, super-nice Japanese whiskies. If there’s anything you want that they don’t have they’ll take it as a challenge and have it next time you’re there.
Where should we go for coffee, and why?
It’s located a bit outside the city centre in Bos en Lommer—a bit of a gangster area, a bit out of your way, but very cool. It’s called Fuku and it’s small, with Scandinavian style design, but super-super-good coffee. Lex Wenneker, the owner, has won national and global compettitions multiple times.
What one thing should every visitor to Amsterdam do?
Taste genever. Genever is our traditional spirit. It’s amazing, the missing link between whisky and gin, botanical but also malty.
Where’s the best place for a selfie in Amsterdam?
We have The Avocado Show, a lunch room where the entire theme is avocados. The dishes are beautiful. The interior is amazing, everything is green and avocados. It’s very much a gimmick and you always see long lines of influencers wanting to take pictures there—but it’s worth the wait because the food is all so good.
MIXING WITH BLACK TEARS, AMSTERDAM STYLE
“Not to bash other rums, but a lot of spiced rums are very sweet with a lot of added sugars and a thick and sticky texture,” Posthumus says. “Black Tears is still quite light and dry, although it has the sweetness in it flavour-wise, and for me that really stands out.”
Postumus’ Tears of Joy cocktail links the spiced rum to the spice trade that once flowed through Amsterdam, using cinnamon to wink at the spice history and orange to nod to the Dutch national colour and royal family, the House of Orange. The cinnamon and orange flavour profile works beautifully with Black Tears’ coffee and chocolate notes.
Tears of Joy
50ml Black Tears Dry Spiced
30ml Lime juice
10ml Cinnamon syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Snap and spray an orange zest and discard in the drink, then add a physalis fruit.