Urban Cocktail High Tea in Amsterdam

Ursula

Cocktails in Amsterdam?  Of course!  But there’s a new way to do it – the Urban Cocktail High Tea at Vesper.  After a morning of shopping in the trendy Noordermarkt (foodies will love it on Saturdays while procurers of kitsch should browse on Mondays), stop by Vesper and spend a boozy afternoon with friends.  The expert bartenders will serve cocktails (from a teapot, no less) in tea cups that come complete with stems as a play on traditional martini glasses.  In between raspberry mimosas or cucumber martinis, you can nosh on a variety of petite sandwiches and pastries from local restaurants, food markets, & patisseries.

Vesper

I love Vesper because of juxtaposition of cool sleek design and kitsch, which even extends to the names of the drinks themselves.  Try the pisco-infused “Art of War” or the “Local Old Fashioned,” a Jenever-based cocktail served, in the Dutch tradition, with a slice of rye bread wrapped in bacon. And then there’s the “Beyond the Piñas”…a concoction that is gloriously high-octane, but just this side of heaven in taste.  Starting with an absinthe-coated glass, the bartender adds Mezcal, orange sherbet, freshly squeezed lime juice, pineapple, and a few drops of key lime bitters. Who knew shopping and high tea could be so fun? Only in Amsterdam!!

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Beer & Bitterballen in Amsterdam

Bitterballen

If, like me, you’re from the South, you understand that “fried” is a food group.  Yes, we will fry just about anything down here – pickles, oreos, twinkies, you name it.  So as a connoisseur of fried foods, I’m always looking for all things fried when I’m traveling.  Enter bitterballen, the little balls of fried goodness that I discovered on a boozy afternoon in Amsterdam.  They come in meat and vegetarian varieties and are almost always served with the spiciest of mustards.

Jenever

So why are they called “bitterballen?”  Traditionally, they were served with bitters…and that brings us to the most important part – Jenever.  This “Dutch national liquor” is potent and akin to moonshine.  It’s served in tulip-shaped glasses that are filled to the rim, and there is a very particular way of drinking it – the Kopstoot.  Bend forward, and without using your hands, take a sip.  Then chase it with a beer back.  Only then can you pick up the little glass and finish the Jenever.  I recommend three bitterballen for every shot of Jenever.  Trust me on this one…I speak from experience!

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