Dutch Gin. Like no other. Called Jenever its a juniper flavored spirit.
Its also the "National drink of Holland (and Belgium, but really, Holland lead the way I'm sure). It is the forefather to gin (you know, what we tend to drink in America). Like some wines, in order to be called Jenever, it must be made in certain places in certain countries (The Netherlands, Belgium, parts of Germany and parts of France).
History is actually unclear where it first came from (most likely Flanders), but it is clear that, like many alcohols, it was first marketed as a medicinal product.
House of Bols is a fun place to visit. Come here and see how genever is made, why the juniper was first used, and have a cocktail at the end. Its a win win. Similar to visiting a vineyard, they really want you to enjoy the experience and have made it a nice one as a result. If you buy your ticket online there's a slight discount.
Come here for a different kind of culture after you visit the other "real" museums in the area.
On our (business) trip to Amsterdam we had to meet a representative of Bols who offered to show us around the Cocktail Academy and gave us tickets for the museum. We're not at all dependant on Bols so this is a totally unbiased review.
It's not a big museum/tour, but that may be a welcome break if you're tired from travelling all over town and seeing all the museums that surround it. The building looks very smart and you can see the attention to details throughout the museum and the experience. The experience will let you use your sense of smell, touch and vision to get a better understanding of the variety of liqueurs and genevers (a type of gin). At the end of the tour you can choose a cocktail from a touch screen which the computer will print out on a receipt. With the receipt you can order your cocktail at the impressive 'mirror bar'. Definitely recommended.
Only 10 euro for a quick tour through the 'House of Bols' with a free cocktail and tasting at the end. Most of the tour consists of watching videos about the history of the distillery, but the coolest part is the trip through the acid trip colored hallway where you can smell all the different varieties of Bols liquor. You can also buy the aged liquors here that you can't find anywhere else. Worth the trip if you are into Bols liquor, otherwise go to a bar to get your cocktail.
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