As you know, I always manage to find a reason to celebrate something. But with the weekend around the corner, it is not such a great challenge to find one. 😉 So, it’s time for a little “vrijmibo”! Personally, I and many others with me, find that a little “vrijmibo” (Friday afternoon drinks) is the definitely the best way to kick off the weekend. Therefore today, I’d love to tell you a little more about a great old gem where craftmanship, passion and (very) extensive knowledge are at the core of this family owned business. I am talking about “Proeflokaal A. van Wees”, Amsterdam’s last traditional distillery.
Back in 1973, the van Wees family opened their business, then called “the Admiral” at the beautiful Herengracht. Today the day, “Proeflokaal A. van Wees” is the one and only spot to get acquainted with Amsterdam’s well known gevener culture, together with some great snacks or perhaps a beer from the barrel. Over the last 46(!) years, some things might have changed, but you know what they say, never change a winning combination. The original traditions are still in place, such as the fact that the genever is still distilled in my neighbourhood, the Jordaan.
Lovely touches make this feel as authentic as their business: the original distillery pump has a prominent place as decoration and as this place used to be an alley, they decided to keep the original paving stones. This characteristic place is home to 17 authentic distilled Amsterdam genevers and 60 different old-Dutch liquors, all with their own unique identity and taste. And no worries, if you have no to zero knowledge about genever and if you’d like to change that, the staff will tell you everything you need to know and could go on for hours, talking about genever or their other products, with so much genuine passion, interest and appropriate pride.
During the genever tasting, one will get to know every fascinating thing about the history of Amsterdam’s distillations and the different processes. But most importantly of course, you will to try various liquors and genever for yourself, which is something I highly recommend! And while you’re at it, I will state the obvious, just to be sure: do not forget to eat, if that’s something you’re even capable of. The menu includes some traditional, good old Dutch food. Nothing to fancy but produced with some of the greatest local products, such as the finest Dutch cheese fondue from my favourite place, “Kaashuis Tromp”.
Having said all that, I’m currently seriously counting down the minutes till the “vrijmibo” kicks off… Cheers and have a great one!
Proeflokaal A. van Wees
1016 AV Amsterdam