History of the Bols company:
For many people that are passionately into cocktails and liqueurs, Lucas Bols is a strong reference name. The Bols family took celebrity in the Dutch Golden Age, when the colonial power of Netherlands was at a climax. The Dutch East India Company, of which Lucas Bols was a major shareholder, brought exotic herbs, spices and fruits back to Amsterdam, and these were used to create new liqueurs and genevers. Many of the recipes from that period, such as Blue Curaçao and Crème de cacao, remain popular to this day. During the 18th century, the Bols family became a very prosperous dynasty, but found itself becoming more and more detached from the day to day operation of the distillery. After selling the company, Bols name was kept. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Bols was bought and sold, so it had many other temporary owners. After the company was bought by Rémy Cointreau, in 2000, a lot of improvements were made and the business profit increased. Since 2006, the company is owned 75% by the investment fund ABN AMRO Capital and 25% by a management group led by Mr. Huub van Doorne (a former member of Rémy Cointreau’s Management Board).
It’s a must-visit if you’re in Amsterdam. Bols has constructed a “brand experience” in Amsterdam, which includes not only a traditional museum of the history of the brand, its manufacturing methods and ingredients, but also various interactive exhibits which involve the visitor and engage the senses. You can even practice flair bartending. From their website:
“Visit the The Hall of Taste for a surprising taste experiment. Taste with your eyes, hands and even your nose! And for anyone who wants to know more about the art of flair bartending, there is the Flair Booth where you can practice your juggling skills.”
“When you have reached the end of your tour, finish it in style. In the Mirror bar our bartender awaits you with a complimentary cocktail. Professionally mixed and in the flavor of your choice. And do you want to improve your mixing skills even further? In the House of Bols Shop you can find a fully equipped bartender toolkit!”
Now look at the photos I took and tell me if I convinced you. At the end of this post you’ll find also two short movies, one of the circular projection room and one from the bartenders hall. Enjoy!
The history wall:
Some of their awards and tools (old and new):
Click and read the entire article. It’s very interesting!!!
Pictures from the rooms of the museum:
The room where you can smell all the flavors of Bols liqueurs:
This is a very posh room (like all the museum, anyway) in which you can sit on the sofa and watch a historical movie of the birth of Genevers Liqueurs. You’ll find out that Gin is Genever’s brother from England:
This photo is from the technological part of the museum, where you can see the boilers and other equipments used at the origin of the Bols company:
Some other images from the museum:
The famous “ballerina” bottle:
And now we are in the bartenders room:
This is my first cocktail:
And some others cocktails and shots:
Here you can see the control panel from where you chose your cocktail:
This is the bottle of liqueur (Parfait Amour) that I bought:
And here, in the final, you can see me enjoying the second cocktail:
And now, play the movies. First one is from the Music and Image Room; a dark room with a round black leather sofa in the middle where you can sit and a movie is projected on the walls around you. The music is also very trendy and it’s impossible not to feel the groove. The second movie is from my bartender while he was preparing my second cocktail. Enjoy!
Unfortunately, due to some movie compressions from youtube, the quality tend to be low. The original movies are much better and I’ll try to find a way to post them uncompressed (the size of uncompressed files is not big, only 24-25 Megabytes).