Jenever cafe - Tasting house
By Riny Reiken
In the Olofspoort was awarded by the English newspaper The Guardian as ‘one of the best cafes of The Netherlands’. Well, that's a big compliment!
We are happy with visits of various people: regular Joe, members of the Bottle club, the princes of Orange, the neighbors, provincials, Amsterdammers, and tourists. Everyone is welcome. Status and positions don't count in our house, we don’t care.
I’m guiding cultural tours around the city center, a service for the guests of tasting events. I’m telling people stories about the canal houses, memorial stones, the canals, churches, squares and, of course, I also include stories about the Red Light District and the ladies who work there.
‘A good old one is a sensation’
Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool July 23, 2013
by Corrie Verkerk
They serve over sixty kinds of young and old jenevers. A reason for the Jenever Association to add the tasting house In de Olofspoort in de Nieuwebrugsteeg to the rank of an ‘official jenever café’. The occasion was celebrated with a seaweed jenever, a 'good' old one, because categorizations are to be taken seriously here. Only the best of the best pass the test of the jenever association. Other Amsterdam's laureates are Oosterling and Wijnand Focking.
The connoisseurs know how to describe it in detail. One does not drink a good jenever in one shot, but let it dance in your glass first, smell it and sip it, mindfully.
‘It is the art of enjoyment’, says Peter Wijbenga, who was present at the association's birth, nineteen years ago. He knows there is still work to do when it comes to the reputation of young and old jenever. ‘If you love a good whiskey, you are a connoisseur. If you say the same about jenever, then you risk being 'the alcoholic'”. Too often, he still hears: ‘Ugh, jenever, that's not for me’. But when I serve a good old one next to coffee to a guest of mine without saying what it is, he says: ‘I have never drunk such a smooth cognac in my life’. '
In de Olofspoort as well there turns out to be still an ignorant person who says: ‘I use jenever to disinfect’. The experts don’t take this though. Here, it’s necessary to lose its virginity alcohol wise. With an old, matured jenever of course: ‘Not cold. That’s no taste. This one is a sensation’. And look, another convert.
Jacques d'Ancona, a prominent ambassador of the association, had managed to challenge the heat and travelled from the north to Amsterdam. Well, though he likes a Campari-juice or a gin-tonic, a good jenever is fine for him too. In his speech, he included a nice café observation of the writer Simon Carmiggelt, of the old man who carefully brought the calyx glass to his mouth and lovingly addressed the liquid: ‘Now find a good seat. It's going to be plenty tonight’.
Jenever drinkers pay homage to In de Olofspoort
De Telegraaf July 23, 2013 – Stan Huygens Journal
The Amsterdam's tasting house In de Olofspoort, located right before you enter the Red Light District from Central Station, for years attracts lovers of Dutch strong spirits. Only now, the year that In de Olofspoort celebrates its 25th jubilee, the Jenever Association acknowledges them as an ‘official genever café’.
Peter Wijbenga, co-founder of the Jenever Association, assured the audience that In the Olofspoort had been considered for this recognition much earlier. It’s very special because the society, founded in 1995 by Dutch distillers, has yet granted some twenty cafes. Among them De Pintelier in Groningen, Sjinkerij de Bobbel in Maastricht, Tasting house de Ooievaar in Rotterdam, Tastings Caruso in Roosendaal, and Boshuis Venkraai in Oisterwijk.
Member Jacques d'Ancona spoke to the audience as an ambassador of the association, after which director Joep Stassen from SpiritsNL, the association for importers and producers of spirits in The Netherlands. Riny Reiken told that in the beautiful house for ages (sugar) bread was made. Since 1988 it is a tasting house for jenevers and liquors.