My background is in the music industry, however over the past three years I have discovered my love for cocktails and mixing spirits, most recently while working at the Gold Bar in The Hague.
The cocktail scene has developed massively since I first arrived in The Hague. When I moved here four years ago, the most popular places were Grote Markt or Bleyenberg, and maybe some hidden gems here and there. Don’t get me wrong, I love a nice drink on the roof terrace at Bleyenberg or on the terrace at Grote Markt, but I didn’t see the bar industry shine through, just yet.
In the last two years, The Hague is way more on the radar in the bartending industry opening amazing bars like Bricks that give The Hague-based bartenders a platform and a community where they can be creative and come together to discuss ideas. Our hidden gems like the local breweries and distilleries have gained publicity and recognition from bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts everywhere. I don’t think The Hague would be the same without it.
If you ask me, I’d say the cocktail industry is definitely not a boys club, because behind every bar there is at least one talented female bartender: look at last year's World's Best Bartender of The Year – Bannie Kang! Although I’d say women have to prove themselves more, which makes us sometimes even better at – and more passionate about – our job.
If I could only choose one liquor to work with, my choice would be… vodka! I love it! I think there is so much freedom and room for creativity when you work with a vodka base. I just like the freedom of being able to create anything without too much limitation in flavors.
One of my new favorite cocktails at the moment is the Old Sweetheart. This is my personalised take on the old fashioned, making it a refreshing, warm and fuzzy drink to add some sweetness to your chilled summer’s eve!
50ml 'Nikka from the barrel' Japanese whiskey
10ml Van Kleef Haagse Hopjes liqueur
3-4 dashes Fee Brothers Chocolate Aztec Bitters
3-4 frozen Haagse Hopjes candies
Now the fun part! After you have stirred the cocktail with ice, take the ice out and put some frozen Haagse hopjes in your glass instead, to keep it sweet and local!