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Monday, June 06, 2016

AMSTERDAM : The Bols Experience

The Bols Experience Amsterdam

I started writing this post ages ago and then got distracted by dissertation, essays and miserable exams. Now that's all behind me and I'm starting to think about heading back to the wonderful city of Amsterdam I thought I ought to start blogging about the trip I took last November. 

We spent a lazy wet afternoon at the House of Bols in the South of the city on Paulus Potterstraat which is just around the corner from the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. When I lived in Switzerland, Bols Blue was an ingredient in my favourite cocktail and I was so disappointed when I moved back to the UK and found that Bols isn't available here. I have since realised the same liqueur is made by another brand but the magical blue liquid is just one of many amazing genevers and liqueurs made by Bols. 

The Bols Experience Amsterdam

Bols has existed since 1575 and claims to be the oldest distillery brand in the world, they make vodkas, gins, genevers and liqueurs. It goes without saying that this museum is for over 18s, it was pretty quiet when we went and we pretty much had the main museum to ourselves. You go through a series of rooms with exhibitions teaching you about the history of the company and their production technique. There's a cool section where you get to try and guess the flavour of the liqueur based on its' scent and then right at the end is a little bar. The bar doesn't take cash and included in your ticket price is a cocktail and a few shots to give you a chance to try a few different flavours. Further drinks can be bought by purchasing cocktail tokens from a little vending machine. They also have computers that you select your cocktail from and it prints out the recipe for you to hand to the mixologist. We stayed for a fair few drinks but a huge group of office workers on a mixer arrived and there wasn't a ton of seating so we called time on our genever experience. 

The Bols Experience Amsterdam

The Bols Experience Amsterdam

The Bols Experience Amsterdam

When I booked our tickets online, it was marginally cheaper than paying on the door, but it seems that they now have a special offer that gives you a few freebies when you book online, as well as 10% off in the gift shop. I spent a fair bit in the gift shop (in my defence i'd had a fair few cocktails by this point) the only saving grace was that I only had hand luggage and couldn't lug all the Bols bottles home with me. Luckily the airport sold a few flavours, but the choice was quite limited. 
Tickets are available here for €15 each. If you want to sample some lovely drinks under the guise of a cultural, educational experience, I totally recommend spending an afternoon at the House of Bols. 

What are your top tourist picks for Amsterdam?
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